AMERICAN BY DAY is a sequel to Derek B. Miller’s debut novel NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT. Within this novel, the events of the earlier novel are mentioned several times and Norwegian detective Sigrid Odegard appears in both novels.
When Sigrid’s father discovers that his son Marcus has gone missing in New York State, he convinces Sigrid to go to the US to find him. She has never travelled to the US and is in for a culture shock. She discovers that bigger is considered better, gun violence is rampant and despite a black man running for president, race relations still have a long way to go.
Marcus disappeared shortly after his black girlfriend Professor Lydia Jones died after a fall from a window. Marcus was seen at the building where she fell and claims that he was to blame for her death. She died shortly after the policeman who shot her 12 year old nephew was cleared of any wrongdoing. For the black community, arresting someone for her murder and then releasing them would be worse than not arresting anyone at all, but even worse than that would be for her death to be declared suicide as this would mean she could never enter heaven.
Despite his ‘confession’ and the circumstantial evidence, Sigrid is convinced that her brother is not a murderer.
Sigrid works with Sheriff Irv Wylie who she first finds with his cowboy booted feet resting on his desk. But first impressions are misleading. Irv was a theology student and is now a thoughtful and clever enforcer of the law. They have a lot to learn from each other. Irv’s feelings and respect for Sigrid mean that he will do what he can to ensure that Marcus is not shot during arrest.
But first they must find him and only Sigrid can understand the working of Marcus’s mind.
Sigrid goes through several attempts to get away from the local police in order to talk to Marcus alone, including befriending members of a white supremacist bikie gang and carrying out what many would consider terrorism. Finally she is able to find out Marcus’s real story.
Like NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT, this novel was clever and very enjoyable with excellent characters. Sigrid’s approach to policing and to life was very different and it is obvious why she found America so weird (as many of us non Americans do). The interactions between Sigrid and Irv were brilliant but I also enjoyed Melinda who almost worshipped Sigrid.
Miller is an excellent writer. I have enjoyed all of his novels and I’m looking forward to whatever he writes next.