Three young men, Jon Moreno, Philip Reilly and Axel Frimann are staying in a a small log cabin near Dead Water Lake.
They take a boat out into the middle of the lake and Jon, who cannot swim, slips over the side into the water. Axel and Reilly make no attempt to rescue him, and don't call for help until the next morning, when they invent the story that he went out on his own, and apparently committed suicide.
Although Jon was a patient at Ladegarden Psychiatric Hospital, suffering from depression, detectives Konrad Sejer and Jacob Skaare are not convinced that he committed suicide, because of certain inconsistencies in the evidence. Then they discover that these three young men are mentioned in earlier records concerning an event the previous winter..........
Karin Fossum's Bad Intentions, translated by Charlotte Barslund, is a short book less than two hundred pages, but it proves that you don't have to write a six hundred page blockbuster to leave the reader satisfied.
Her detectives, Sejer and Skaare, play a comparatively small part in this superb book which becomes a psychological study of two contrasting friends.
Axel, is a smooth operator working in advertising, who drives a Mercedes, the sort of man women usually smile at when he talks to them.
Reilly is a disheveled, socially inept, drug addicted incompetent hospital porter, who once wheeled a 90 year old woman into the maternity ward. Why did the shy thoughtful Jon remain friends with this mismatched twosome?
Karin Fossum introduces some interesting cameo characters in Hanna Wigert Jon's psychiatrist, Molly his girl friend at Laderdegaden, and Ingerid his mother. All these women get to see through the controlling Axel to the real person beneath the veneer of charm.
The book talks about loneliness, conscience, control and the fragility of the human mind when faced with trauma; as well as the special resilience that can be found in some people after great personal loss. Bad Intentions also discusses Norway's immigrant communities and racism, and even finds space for a little gentle humour in what is essentially a rather bleak book.
'You want me to believe it tastes better than any other pork?'
'Of course. A free pig is a happy pig, and a happy pig is a tasty pig.'
'Now I get it ,' Reilly said. 'A happy pig is a more expensive pig. And we can't tell the difference anyway.'
This is another brilliant book by one of Norway's and Europe's top crime writers.