I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum

Riktor doesn’t like the way the policeman comes straight into the house without knocking. He doesn’t like the arrogant way he observes his home. The policeman doesn’t tell him why he’s there, and Riktor doesn’t ask. Because he knows he’s guilty of a terrible crime.

But it turns out that the policeman isn’t looking for a missing person. He is accusing Riktor of something totally unexpected. Riktor doesn’t have a clear conscience, but this is a crime he certainly didn’t commit.

I Can See in the Dark is narrated by Riktor, a disturbed loner who takes pleasure in watching other people suffering. He works in an elderly care home but abuses his position by denying the patients in his care their medication and torturing them in subtle ways that he knows no-one will notice.

Riktor likes to spend time in his local park, sitting on his bench and watching the other regulars around him – and old woman who likes to knit, a disabled girl and her mother, and an alcoholic tramp. One day when Riktor is sitting in the park alone he sees a man ski onto the frozen lake and fall through the ice. But he does nothing to help, just sitting and watching while the man drowns.

Riktor later befriends the alcoholic tramp and invites him back to his house for a drink. The tramp then returns every so often when he is desperate for a drink and Riktor obliges. However, one day their meeting turns sour and Riktor flies into a rage which ends in the death of his new friend. Riktor is then faced with the difficulty of covering up his crime and disposing of the body.

Soon after, a policeman arrives on Riktor’s doorstep. Riktor is sure he knows why the police are here and he struggles to hide his guilt. However, after he has been arrested and enters the interview room at the police station he soon realises that he is being questioned about an entirely different crime. He must now prove his innocence while not giving away the fact that he has done something much worse.

This book was quite disturbing because Riktor was such a heartless, unsympathetic character. He seemed to have no conscience and didn’t care about other people as long as he was OK. I liked the way in which Fossum interweaved all the characters, it reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Ruth Rendell. Overall it was a good, creepy read and I would recommend it if you’re looking for a slightly different take on crime fiction.

4/5

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