Jorge Brekke’s Inspector Odd Singsaker series brings the stark Norwegian cold to life in his most ambitious novel yet in The Fifth Element.

Odd is recovering from the short-term effects of the last book, and the long-term effects of a brain tumor that’s been mostly removed. With his wife, Felicia, missing, he’s still on sick leave, but returns to this station to help search for his wife. Felicia was on her way to reconcile with Odd after their brief separation when she disappeared.

Told in what at first seems to be unconnected storylines, the novel pulls all of the threads together in a manner so complex yet compelling, it’s like reading a Rubrik’s cube that makes complete sense by the end in a masterful way.

But what a ride it is to that point. There will be the college student who has stolen a huge amount of cocaine at a party, and the thugs sent to find it. There is a corrupt policeman who may or may not be an abusive husband who has murdered before. There will be a young boy kidnapped and left to die, as well as a woman, tired of her abusive husband, who hires a hit man to kill him. But is she all she seems? It seems these are disparate issues, but they all come together.

And then there’s Odd, who finds himself holding a shotgun, with a corpse next to him. Who’s in trouble now?

Outgragously plotted in the most intricate puzzle Auntie M has read in a while, readers will be amazed at how the threads are pulled together in a surprising and satisfying ending.

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