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Publisher's Summary

A murder at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, bears a close resemblance to one in Trondheim, Norway. The corpse of the museum curator in Virginia is found flayed in his office by the cleaning staff; the corpse of an archivist at the library in Norway is found inside a locked vault used to store delicate and rare books. Richmond homicide detective Felicia Stone and Trondheim police inspector Odd Singsaker find themselves working on similar murder cases, committed the same way, but half a world away. And both murders are somehow connected to a sixteenth century palimpsest book - The Book of John - which appears to be a journal of a serial murderer back in 1529 Norway, a book bound in human skin. A runaway best seller in Norway, Jørgen Brekke's Where Monsters Dwell has since sold to over 14 countries. Where Monsters Dwell is the most awaited English language crime fiction debut in years.

©2011 Jørgen Brekke (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Another Gem From Norway

I'm a huge Nesbo fan. Apparently so is Brekke. Early on in the book it appears Norway has a serial killer and guess who the detectives want to call in for help? Harry Hole. Alas, Harry is on a bender.

This is fascinating story involving vellum made from skins. The problem is it's from human skin. Fresh human skin.

Great detectives, great history, great characters.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tracey
  • Danville, AR, United States
  • 02-16-14

This isn't Texas

Brekke has done an excellent job (and kudos to translator) in this police procedural. It was sometimes difficult (especially at the beginning) to remain engaged in the transitioning narrative (from 1500's Europe, to 21st century Norway and Virginia) and I didn't find the story in Virigina (outside the Poe Museum, that is) as engaging as the other 2 narratives, but by the middle, I was hooked -- and missing sleep.
Best moments occur after the 2 police detectives unite in Norway (and my favorite line "This isn't Texas" from Odd Singsaker, the Norwegian detective). It was a bit redolent of those buddy cop films, but I loved the interaction between the characters (and styles.)
I especially loved the inclusion (however indirectly) of Poe trivia into the plot.
The characters were well-developed and the plotting intriciate.
If you are a fan of Nesbo or Fossum (or other Scandinavian mystery writers), you will not be disappointed with this book.
David Menken does an excellent job with the narration, especially well with the Virginian accents, which can easily be overdone. I liked that the only other accents were when speakers were not speaking their native langauges (I find it baffling when narrators give people speaking their native languages -- albeit, translated for the "readers" -- foreign accents.) Odd does not pick up his endearing accent until he needs to speak English with his new "partner", Felicia Stone (the Richmond detective.)

I am looking forward to many more novels from Brekke!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A better narrator could have added a star

I love Jo Nesbo, I love Charlie Huston, I love Jussi Adler-Olson, and Stieg Larsson. I like Olen Stenhauer, Ann Cleeves, Peter Robinson and Deborah Crombie . Brekke isn't there yet, but it's still a very decent first novel. His pretty likable main characters have some back story, the ending isn't forecast ahead of time, the plot is fairly well constructed. In this book he favors the dual timeline plot, one in the 1500's and the other mostly in 2010 and they're well integrated.

While the narrator wasn't awful, he added nothing to the book. The translation itself, suffered from a little awkwardness now and then, but a good narrator could have moved this one up a notch. Menkin lacked the appropriate emotion when it was called for, his pacing wasn't very effective, and he threw in the weirdest accents for some characters.

I see that the next Odd Singsaker book is read by someone else, and I do believe Brekke deserves another chance; I'm running out of good mystery/crime thrillers...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Just Slightly Short of Perfect

Would you listen to Where Monsters Dwell again? Why?

Not really - suspense finished too quickly and narration was workmanlike.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Where Monsters Dwell?

The climax where Felicia saves Odd Singsaker

Which scene was your favorite?

The climax where Felicia saves Odd Singsaker

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The death of the last victim - misunderstood, virtually unmourned..except by Siri

Any additional comments?

Great story idea but the unveiling of the perpetrator was a bit quick - no psychological dimension, hence unsatisfactory.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

What the?

I really had high hopes for this book, but sadly, it was a disaster. There was nothing right about it. The plot was all over the place, and when the obvious murderer was revealed, I was seriously shocked and found myself going back to see if I had fallen asleep on hours worth of dialogue. Given the pace of the book, I thought there had to be at least ten chapters remaining since nothing had evolved and the American detective was in Norway only a few hours before the murderer was "exposed." On top of that, the characters' backstories were insufficient and not well developed, character motivations did not match their actions, the chapter where the murder is confronted seemed rushed, and in a high-tech society, such as the United States, there was no reason for Felicia to even go to Norway.

Also, one moment Odd had an accent, the next, he didn't, and Siri could have been left out of the book altogether, along with the references to Poe, and the love, uh, "moment." I will admit that I did get a good chuckle when the murderer appeared wearing the woman's face mask. What the? Please tell me, what was the reason for that? Silence of the Lambs much? It just came out of nowhere, with no rationale. There were a lot of moments like that in the book, but the face mask took the cake. I would like to blame it on the translation, but the problem wasn't the prose, the problem was the plot. Don't waste your money on this one.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly Good

I loved it. I have a weakness for that plot device where there are simultaneous, connected stories from past and present (think Kate Ellis). Where Monsters Dwell made good use of it. It was an exciting, sometimes gruesome listen with a fun twist at the end of the "past" part of the story.
I wasn't so fussed on the romance between the two leads, though. It felt shoehorned in and completely improbable. The beautiful 30 y/o detective with a trouble past falls instantly in love with the grizzled and relatively charmless old codger literally twice her age in a matter of days. I know it's a common trope, but I still don't like it. It wasn't so bad, though, in this case, since they didn't spend all that much time on it.
Likewise, the character of Siri made me roll my eyes. A brilliant, beautiful black belt librarian with a penchant for solving crimes and a habit of giving sad old men carefully described sympathy sex (after one such session she sighed and smiled, calling herself a "black belt in love." I cringed.) In the next book in the series they actually spent a few minutes doing the math regarding her sexual history- one partner per menstrual cycle, is how they put it. She was thrown in as fan-service, less a character than a plot device.
My only other gripe was the over-use of the term "laconic." The author used it so often that it got a bit distracting.
Despite my issues with how the women were written, I still really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend others to give it a try.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting!

The characters are well developed and the plot holds up, but the story line moved a little slow. Still worth a read though.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great!

I love these Nordic writers. So many terrific authors. I enjoyed this book very much