By Thomas Enger
Published by Orenda Books (E-book - out now; Paperback - 21 February 2019)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher
When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock … for murder?
Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.
As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?
It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.
But can we trust him?
Inborn is a tightly plotted mix of thriller and courtroom drama … compelling, twisty and full of emotion.
This is a tale of murder, secrets and lies in a small Norwegian village, blending young adult (YA) with adult fiction. There are so many suspects (many unexpectedly revealed as the book progresses), making it very difficult to know who to trust.
The format of the book is very clever, beginning with a chilling prologue and then leading into the police investigation and trial. I soon found myself right inside 17-year-old Even's head. I loved how the narrative moved seamlessly from Even in the courtroom in the present day to his first person narrative in the past (and back again), without repeating any of the events. This created two different versions of the same character - the one who knew the whole story (in the present) and the one in the past who still had a lot to learn.
This isn't just a trial in a courtroom, however, but also a trial on social media. As teenagers carelessly point fingers and spread rumours, they have the potential to destroy innocent people's lives.
The prosecutor's interrogation (in the courtroom chapters) reads like the narration of a play before the characters came back on stage. The dialogue is spot on - realistic and snappy. Using other narrators within the book, such as the police chief Yngve Monk who is grieving over the loss of his wife, builds up a bigger picture about the murder, suggesting that not everything is the way it seems.
There is so much more I would say, but I wouldn't want to give away anything about the plot. I loved this book and can't praise it highly enough!
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