I’m delighted to share an extract of Killed with you today….
Crime reporter Henning Juul thought his life was over when his young son was murdered. But that was only the beginning…
Determined to find his son’s killer, Henning doggedly follows an increasingly dangerous trail, where dark hands from the past emerge to threaten everything. His ex-wife Nora is pregnant with another man’s child, his sister Trine is implicated in the fire that killed his son and, with everyone he thought he could trust seemingly hiding something, Henning has nothing to lose … except his own life.
Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-awaited finale of one of the darkest, most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who?
The extract – Chapter 4
There was nothing to beat this feeling, Iver Gundersen thought. Knowing he was about to make a breakthrough, that he, and no one else, had managed to find a way into the case.
And it wasn’t just any old case, either.
That was why he’d left as soon as he’d woken up in Nora’s flat. He was itching to discuss his findings with Henning, and had sent him a text message to see if he was up, asking if he could come to his flat as soon as possible. Iver even offered to pick him up.
The answer pinged in moments later.
On my way to the airport. Later today?
Airport? Iver thought. What was he doing there?
He replied OK, but he was disappointed.
Not long after, there was another ping.
Iver thought about what to answer.
Too long to explain by text. Tell you later.
Henning said OK.
In the meantime, thought Iver, he could go through it all again and try to be his own devil’s advocate – a demanding, but necessary procedure for anyone who wanted to blow the lid on something. He had to be 100 per cent certain.
Iver pulled out behind a bus and noticed that he needed petrol. Not surprising really, he’d practically been living in his car recently.
He tried to slow his breathing. He thought about Henning, and about Nora.
It had been an odd few months.
He’d never meant to fall in love with her, but her vulnerability after Jonas’s death had made Nora irresistibly beautiful, and he’d almost felt it was his mission to make her smile again.
Deep down, Iver had kind of hoped that Henning wouldn’t come back to work, but then he did, one day in late spring, and Iver wasn’t sure which one of them felt most uncomfortable. The first case – the stoning of a film student, Henriette Hagerup, in a tent at Ekebergsletta – had not helped much either, as Henning had worked out who the killer was and then given Iver all his information.
Iver couldn’t understand why, to begin with, but gradually it dawned on him that Henning was actually protecting himself; he’d known that it was a scoop and would lead to a lot of media attention. And Henning wasn’t interested in that, not then and not ever.
At first, Iver had loved the furore, but it didn’t take long before he felt pretty ambivalent about it all. Every time Henriette Hagerup’s name was mentioned, Iver thought about who actually deserved all the praise. The fact that Henning was the only person who knew didn’t make it any easier. Which is why Iver had tried to return the favour. He had thrown himself into Henning’s own mystery and the puzzle of Jonas’s death, with the goal of finding the vital detail, the piece that made everything fit together.
Now he thought he might have done just that.
Iver parked the car a couple of blocks away from his own building, then hurried back to the flat. It was just gone half past nine when he opened the door and threw the keys down on the hat shelf.
There was something odd about the flat. And it took a few moments before he realised what it was.
It was completely dark.
He never closed the curtains, not completely.
And then he heard sounds from the living room. The TV was on. Had he forgotten to turn it off before he went to Nora’s late last night?
Iver went into the kitchen and then into the living room, where the TV screen flickered, washing the ceiling and walls with colour. The curtains were drawn in there too. What the…? He suddenly got the feeling that something was very wrong.
And then the living room light was switched on.
Iver stopped in his tracks.
There was a man sitting in the chair.
‘And here he is,’ the man said, in Swedish.
Iver stood as though glued to the floor, his mouth half open. He quickly looked around. There was a man sitting on the sofa. He had a gun on his lap.
‘Who…?’ Iver started. The words got stuck in his parched throat. ‘Who are you?’ he managed to say, and coughed. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘You took your time,’ the man in the Stressless said. ‘We were getting bored of waiting, weren’t we, Jeton?’
The man who was talking to Iver looked at the screen for a few seconds before turning off the TV and slamming the remote control down on the table. Iver started at the sudden loud noise. It was then he saw that the man was wearing gloves. That there was a rope on the table. That the table had been cleared of all paper.
Iver swallowed. Considered whether he should try turning on his heel and legging it, but the man’s gun and the way he was holding it made him stay put.
‘What do you want?’
The two men got up at the same time.
‘We want to know how much you know and who you’ve told.’
The man who was talking took a step closer. He was small, with thin, unkempt hair on his head, but all the more on his chest, which was bursting over the neckline of his black hoodie. He was compact, strong; Iver could see the muscles on his chest rippling. And he wondered why neither of them had bothered to hide their faces. How they had got in? What they were going to do with the rope?
‘What are you talking about?’
Iver tried to be nonchalant, but could hear that he wasn’t doing it very well, that his voice was trembling. He looked over at the windows. Were any of them open? Could he throw himself out? It was a long way down and the ground was covered in asphalt.
The second man grabbed the rope on the table.
‘Do you see what I’ve done in here?’ the first man asked, and looked up at the ceiling. Iver followed his eyes. At first glance he didn’t notice anything unusual.
Then he spotted it.
The man produced a knife.
‘I saw this once, in a film,’ he explained. ‘I like films. Do you like films, Gundersen?’
He looked questioningly at Iver, who wasn’t able to answer.
‘I’ve never tried it myself, but do you know what happens if you start to bleed, from the neck, for example, when you’re hanging upside down?’
The man put the blade of the knife to his own neck.
Iver swallowed again. Thought about how he could get out.
‘It depends on the wound, of course, how deep the cut is, but if you cut the main artery here…’
He pointed to one of the two arteries on his neck.
‘…just enough to start bleeding…’
He paused again.
‘…it takes about half an hour to die.’
Iver noticed that the man talking also had a gun in his jacket pocket. You’re going to have to be smart here, he said to himself, or it’s not going to be good.
‘I don’t understand what it is that you want,’ he stammered. ‘I don’t know anything, I haven’t…’
‘Shh,’ the man interrupted. ‘Enough.’
He shook his head and took a step closer.
‘We’ll find out what you know, whether you want us to or not. It’s only a matter of time.’
Then he smiled – a flashing, Machiavellian smile – and shook a watch free from under his sleeve. He looked at his friend again, and said, ‘What do you reckon, Jeton – do you think it will take more than half an hour?’
Oh my! Is Iver going to be OK? There’s only one way to find out. You can buy Killed here.
I’d like to thank Orenda Books and Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the tour.
Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.