Books on Monday: “The Minnesota Trilogy”

Last week I read these three books. Written by Norwegian author Vidar Sundstøl, but it plays out on the North Shore, Minnesota, USA. The books are both a crime mystery and a history lesson.

The Land of Dreams (Minnesota Trilogy 1)
Winner of the Riverton Prize for best Norwegian crime novel and named by Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet as one of the top twenty-five Norwegian crime novels of all time, The Land of Dreams is the chilling first installment in Vidar Sundstøl’s critically acclaimed Minnesota Trilogy, set on the rugged north shore of Lake Superior and in the region’s small towns and deep forests.

The grandson of Norwegian immigrants, Lance Hansen is a U.S. Forest Service officer and has a nearly all-consuming passion for local genealogy and history. But his quiet routines are shattered one morning when he comes upon a Norwegian tourist brutally murdered near a stone cross on the shore of Lake Superior. Another Norwegian man is nearby; covered in blood and staring out across the lake, he can only utter the word kjærlighet. Love.

FBI agent Bob Lecuyer is assigned to the case, as is Norwegian detective Eirik Nyland, who is immediately flown in from Oslo. As the investigation progresses, Lance begins to make shocking discoveries—including one that involves the murder of an Ojibwe man on the very same site more than one hundred years ago. As Lance digs into two murders separated by a century, he finds the clues may in fact lead toward someone much closer to home than he could have imagined.

The Land of Dreams is the opening chapter in a sweeping chronicle from one of Norway’s leading crime writers—a portrait of an extraordinary landscape, an exploration of hidden traumas and paths of silence that trouble history, and a haunting study in guilt and the bonds of blood.

Only the Dead (Minnesota Trilogy 2)
A Norwegian tourist has been found murdered on the shore of Lake Superior—right where an Ojibwe man may have been killed more than one hundred years earlier. Four months later, the official investigation is supposedly over but still not resolved, and U.S. Forest Service officer Lance Hansen, drawn into the mystery by his grisly discovery of the body, is uncovering clues disturbingly close to home.

His former father-in-law, Willy Dupree, may hold the key to the century-old murder of Swamper Caribou. And his own brother, Andy, might know more than he’s telling—more than he should know—about the recent homicide. The relationship between the brothers takes a dangerous turn as their annual deer hunt becomes a deadly game.

Steeped in the rich history of Lake Superior’s rugged North Shore, this follow-up to the Riverton Prize–winning The Land of Dreams pursues two tales through a bleak and beautiful landscape haunted by the lives and dreams of its Scandinavian immigrants and Native Americans. Hansen finds himself equally haunted by the complex mysteries that continue to unravel around him.

The Ravens (Minnesota Trilogy 3)

It’s been a long, dark time since a gruesome discovery drew U.S. Forest Service ranger Lance Hansen into a murder investigation that is now approaching a resolution—although not to his satisfaction. In fact, the mysteries have been multiplying and getting uncomfortably close to home. On the run after a hunting expedition with his brother, Andy, went awry, Lance is haunted by visions of Swamper Caribou, the Ojibwe medicine man whose death a century earlier remains unexplained. Willy Dupree, Lance’s former father-in-law, has the ability to interpret dreams—and what he reveals may be key to understanding both deaths, past and present. Reluctantly taking on the role of detective, Lance uncovers troubling connections and grim secrets that will shake him to his very core.

In the final installment of his award-winning Minnesota Trilogy, Norwegian crime writer Vidar Sundstøl’s affinity for the northern world of Lake Superior is on full display—as Lance’s search takes him from the wilds of the Boundary Waters to outposts steeped in voyageur history and Ojibwe culture, from the streets of the Twin Cities to the gritty port of Duluth, to the sleepy tourist towns that dot the North Shore—and as the mysteries of love and nature, history and culture merge in a powerful conclusion.

Reviews

“The Land of Dreams is a brilliant investigation into the darkest of all mysteries—the human heart. In its complexity and beauty, the story is every bit the equal of the landscape in which it is set, the stunning North Shore of Minnesota.” —William Kent Krueger, author of Ordinary Grace

“Scandinavian noir meets Minnesota noir. . . . Sundstøl weaves a rich sense of Northland history and heritage into his crime novel. His deep knowledge of—and love for—the Lake Superior region comes through on every page.” —Brian Freeman, author of The Cold Nowhere

“The first of Sundstøl’s Minnesota trilogy to be published in the U.S. is literate, lyrically descriptive, and mystical. The next can’t come too soon. ” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Norwegian crime novelist Sundstøl’s stellar psychological thriller, the first in his Minnesota Trilogy, stunningly evokes the North Shore of Lake Superior and its people. Nunnally’s convincing translation helps bring it all to unforgettable life.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Sundstøl’s superb first entry in his acclaimed Minnesota trilogy, now published for the first time in the United States, interweaves a Nordic noir flavor with the history and heritage of Minnesota’s Cook County. Fans of Scandinavian crime novels and mysteries with a Minnesota setting will enjoy this chilling psychological thriller.” —Library Journal

Check out Amazon.com for other book bargains:

Take a look at the other books I have recommended by clicking this link

Tell me what you think about this article!