Dead Joker’ is the 5th novel in Anne Holt’s wonderful series featuring Norwegian police detective Hanne Wilhelmsen. Ever since the English release of the 8th book in the series ‘1222’, I have eagerly awaited the release of the earlier books in the series.
Hanne and her colleagues are called in to investigate a murder. The chief prosecutor’s wife is found in her living room decapitated. Sigurd Halvorsrud’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon and the person he claims murdered his wife committed suicide a few days earlier. There is also other incriminating evidence in the house, so Halvorsrud looks like the obvious murderer. But from the beginning Hanne has doubts about his guilt.
Then, when Halvorsrud is released in bail, there is another murder and once again there is evidence pointing to Halvorsrud.
While Hanne, Billy T. and the rest of the team search for conclusive proof of Halvorsrud’s guilt or innocence, Hanne’s home life is falling apart.
She and her long term partner Cecilie have been having some difficulties in their relationship. Then Cecilie is diagnosed with an illness that may result in her death and suddenly Hanne and Cecilie realise how much the other really means to them. Their friends are there to support them but the support that Billy T. gives to Hanne may not be exactly what she needs.
When Hanne meets a man from a vigilante group, she finds a new direction for her investigation that eventually leads her to the evidence that she needs to solve the case.
This story was incredibly emotional for many of the characters but particularly for Hanne. The underlying theme of child abuse was heartbreaking and you could feel for the conflict Hanne faced in dealing with an illegal vigilante group.
It’s difficult to imagine what will happen for Hanne and for Billy T. in the future novels in the series. I can’t wait to find out in the next one – ‘No Echo’ when it is finally released in English.
Book Published 1999
Published in English 2015