review · U.S. · Uncategorized

American by Day by Derek Miller

american by dayThe most accurate blurb/ review I’ve read about American by Day is that it’s a hybrid sort of crime novel. But a hybrid of what, exactly? It’s a story about a crime, and it’s a story about a Norwegian police chief taking an unexpected trip to America. But it’s not really a thriller, and it’s not really a methodical investigation like a police procedural.  It is a book that has stayed with me, despite the fact that I’m not as fond of it as I was by the first book in this series, Norwegian by Night.

American by Day starts shortly after the shooting at the end of Norwegian by Night. Sigrid, the police chief in the first book, is still grappling with the aftermath of the first case when she finds out from her father that her older brother is missing in the United States, where he’s lived for a number of years. Sigrid reluctantly travels to the US, and the plot slows a bit, and Miller is explicit about his narrative principle when Sigrid explains her investigatory technique: “Observations first. Questions next. Interpretation last.”

And the observations are about America, race, police, and more. Sigrid’s brother is suspected of murdering his girlfriend, and African American university professor who was despondent about her young nephew’s death at the hand of the police in his backyard. Sigrid is skeptical, and eventually she uncovers the truth, and that’s the satisfying part of the read, while the sociology-of-the-US portions are the parts of the book that make me more ponderous.

American by Day by Derek Miller

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2018

I received a review copy from the publisher.

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6 thoughts on “American by Day by Derek Miller

  1. Thanks for your candor on this one, Rebecca. I’ve been hearing different things about it, actually, and it does sound interesting. Even if it’s not as much to your liking as Norwegian by Night was, it still sounds like a solid read, overall.

  2. Thanks for reviewing this, Rebecca. I had been wondering about it, and I have not read Norwegian by Night yet. Even thouhgh I have had it 4 years.

    1. Hi, Kathy– I think I was resisting this book because I loved Sheldon so much too, but ultimately I really liked this one too. Have you read the other Miller book?

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