Book Review: Bad Intentions by Karim Fossum

8 Aug

Bad IntentionsGenre: Mystery&Detective

Series: Inspector Sejer #9

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pub date: 9 August 2011

Source: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley

This is first Inspector Sejer mystery I’ve read. Ever since I read Steig Larsson, I’ve been  meaning to get better acquainted with more Swedish writers, especially the crime fiction writers. This story had a sort of creepy horror and psychological elements which met some of my expectations of Swedish crime fiction.

Synopsis (From GoodReads)

Early one September, three friends spend the weekend at a remote cabin by Dead Water Lake. With only a pale moon to light their way, they row across the water in the middle of the night. But only two of them return, and they make a pact not to call for help until the following morning.

Inspector Sejer leads the investigation when the body is discovered. He is troubled by the apparent suicide and has an overwhelming sense that the surviving pair has something to hide. Weeks pass without further clues, and then in a nearby lake the body of a teenage boy floats to the surface.


More than a detective novel, Bad Intentions is one that examines the human psyche. It attempts to get into the minds of very different people and explains how each of them react to certain situations.

The three men in this story, Alex, Reilley and Jon are very different from each other. They’ve been best friends since school, but something has happened recently that has changed their relationship with each other. Guilt overwhelms everyone – but each one of them deals with it very differently. While Jon has a full break down and was getting in-patient treatment, Reilley is increasingly dependent on drugs to get him through. The cocky ego-centric Alex exerts a sort of power over the other two and appears to be unfazed by this incident that has obviously upset his friends.

When Jon goes missing while on a trip with Alex and Reilly, Inspector Sejer has this niggling feeling that this is not a suicide. Jon’s mother, therapist and his girlfriend all agree that he was getting better, why then would he suddenly decide to kill himself?

Inspector Sejer goes in search of answers and uncovers some chilling secrets.

There was not as much of Inspector Sejer in this story – I see from reviews that this was not the case with the other books in the series. I would have liked to see a lot more of him. There isn’t much action either, but more psychological depths that are explored and explained.

The plot itself was  no great mystery, but what made this story good was the chilling atmosphere. The journeys into the minds of all the characters were also beautifully handled.

All the characters are wonderfully drawn out and I got invested in each of their stories.


While this story turned out to be rather different from what I expected, it was still a good read. A great chilling psychological thriller.

Rating: 3.5*

*Read my Rating policy


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