Atria, October 2012
Pierced is an exciting novel chock-full of action and characters all woven together into a rather complicated plot. Translated from Norwegian, it is written in many short chapters, some as short as two pages. This style serves the story well, keeping events and plot turns coming quickly.
The novel opens twenty two months after Henning Juul’s young son died in a fire (in Burned, the prequel) that Juul cannot fully remember. In Pierced, Hennng Juul lives one mystery while he tries to solve another. He is contacted by a convict who promises him information about that day if Juul will investigate his conviction which he claims was a set-up.
The best part of the story, I thought, involved Thorlief Brenden, an innocent TV cameraman who finds himself caught up in events that don’t involve him and that he cannot understand. It is Brenden who pulled this reader into the action, trying to imagine what she might do in similar circumstances, what she can do in various threatening situations. For much of the book, the fast-paced chapters swap back and forth between events involving Henning Juul and Thorlief Brenden.
There are many characters in Pierced and Enger has a style where he names just about everyone. There were too many names for this reader to follow. But after awhile, it does become clear which ones matter and which don’t. This reader kept a list of names and it became quite long and eventually, helpful.
Pierced is Enger’s second novel in the Juul Henning series. I did not realize this as I was reading and didn’t feel that I needed to start with his first novel in the series, Burned. The ending does set things up for the next novel, although there is much that is resolved in Pierced. From the writer’s website, I learned he is planning to write a total of six novels for the series. So, if you like this one, Scarred, the third one is already available and three more are promised.
Reviewed by Constance Readers, May 2014.