I read a lot of police procedurals, and it’s my favorite sub-genre of the last few years. Blind Goddess is a bit more than a police procedural: it follows both the police and the prosecution, much like the long-running TV series Law and Order. The main characters are Hanne Wilhelmsen, a detective with about ten years of experience and Håkon Sand, a police prosecutor who graduated at the bottom of his law school class but is nevertheless a dogged and effective prosecutor. The third main character is civil lawyer Karen Borg, an old friend of Sand’s who discovers a drug dealer whose murder sparks the investigation at the center of the novel.
My main impression of the book is that it feels busy: the plot that starts with the murder of a drug dealer becomes more gruesome and involves a broader conspiracy that will play out in subsequent books. I much preferred all the time Holt spent with the three main characters and their work and personal lives. I suspect it felt busy to me because Holt was laying the groundwork for plots that will cover the next novels in the series. That being said, I really like the main characters and I’m eager to read more.
A couple unrelated items in the book struck me: (1) is it really not a problem for a witness to a murder investigation to serve as a criminal defense lawyer in the case? I understand why Karen Borg was a defense lawyer, but I expected there to be more opposition to her serving as defense counsel; and (2) the reliance on fax machines was a blast from the recent past.
This is the second Hanne Wilhelmsen book I’ve read and the first one in the series. In the U.S., the locked-room mystery 1222, the eighth novel in the series, was published first, and unfortunately, it gives away a significant part of Hanne’s story. That being said, I’m eager to read books two through seven as they’re translated. Blessed Are Those Who Thirst has already been published, and Death of the Demon is due later this year.