The Katrina Code – The Cold Case Quartet, Book #1 by Jørn Lier Horst; Translated by Anne Bruce




Book blurb

Katharina went missing twenty-four years ago.

Each year on the anniversary of her disappearance Chief Inspector William Wisting visits her husband, the man he could never help.

He re-reads her files, searching for the answer he could never find.

The code he could never solve.

Until now.

This year is going to be different.

Another woman is missing.

And so is Katharina’s husband.

Wisting has to find him, but is he rescuing a dear friend, or playing a deadly game?

Set between the icy streets and dark forests of Norway, The Katharina Code is a heart-stopping story of one man’s obsession with his coldest case. Atmospheric, gripping and suspenseful; this is Nordic Noir at its very best.

My thoughts

This book took about a quarter of the way through to really ramp up the tension and get into it’s stride. The first quarter is really setting the scene, the place and introducing the characters, in particular Wisting himself. Whilst this is the first book of four which has Wisting looking at cold cases it is not the first book with Wisting as the main character. For someone who had not read anything previously written by Jørn Lier Horst this was invaluable background which was both interesting and helpful. So be assured that this book can be read without having read any of the previous books. If you have read the others there is plenty of good reading in this portion of the book that you will not only need to read but will want to.

The story itself has Wisting looking ‘off the books’ at an old case of a woman, Katerina, who went missing over two decades ago and has never been found. It is quite a mystery to him and a note left behind at the time seems to be a code which has yet to be solved. Over the years he has remained in touch with Katerina’s husband, Martin, always visiting him on the anniversary of her disappearance. As he goes for his annual visit this year Martin seems to have disappeared.

Wisting – Chief Inspector William Wisting of the Larvik Police, Norway – is a terrific character we find that he is a widow and, recently, has become a grandfather. He has grown children, twins, Line and Thomas. Wistings family life is an integral part of the story which allows Horst to show how cases impact upon him personally and from which we can learn his character, how he conducts himself, what drives him and what type of detective he is.

As the story develops we learn that CCG Kripos, a national cold case department, has re-opened an old case that of Nadia Krogh a child who had been kidnapped in the late eighties. The lead detective on the reopened case is Adrian Stiller.

Wisting is teamed up with Stiller and he learns of new evidence that has come to light on the Kroger investigation. His daughter, Line, also gets involved as she is asked to return to work early from maternity leave as an investigative journalist.  As we follow Wisting, Stiller and Line the threads of the case are laid out and we learn what happened all those years ago.

As the story comes to a climax Wisting is placed in a pretty precarious position in order to gain important information.

This book is a really good read and I would certainly recommend it to all who enjoy a good detective story. Wisting is a terrific detective, realistically portrayed, the story is well plotted and nicely paced. It will be interesting to see the TV version when it arrives in the meantime there are a good few books that can be enjoyed.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for an eARC of The Katerina Code via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for this review.


Publisher: MICHAEL JOSEPH an imprint of MICHAEL JOSEPH UK| USA | Canada | Ireland | Australia India | New Zealand | South Africa Michael Joseph is part of the Penguin Random House group of companies whose addresses can be found at


Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Penguin (13 Dec. 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1405938064

ISBN-13: 978-1405938068

Buy:         Waterstones    Amazon


Jørn Lier Horst is a prize-winning crime writer and former Senior Investigating Officer in the Norwegian police force. He made his literary debut as a crime writer in 2004 and is now considered one of the top Nordic crime writers. His William Wisting series has been extremely successful – it has sold more than 1 million copies in Norway alone, been translated into thirty languages, and is being adapted for television.


Visit Jørn Lier Horst Website                  Follow on Twitter @LierHorst

William Wisting Series

  1. Key Witness (Org. Nøkkelvitnet, 2004)
  2. Disappearance of Felicia (Org. Felicia forsvant, 2005)
  3. When the Sea Calms (Org. Når havet stilner, 2006)
  4. The Only One (Org. Den eneste ene, 2007)
  5. Nocturnal Man (Org. Nattmannen, 2009)
  6. Dregs (Org. Bunnfall, 2010) – translated into English by Anne Bruce, 2011
  7. Closed for Winter (Org. Vinterstengt, 2011) – translated into English 2013
  8. The Hunting Dogs (Org. Jakthundene, 2012) – translated into English 2014
  9. The Caveman (Org. Hulemannen, 2013) – translated into English 2015
  10. Ordeal (Org. Blindgang, 2015) – translated into English 2016
  11. When It Grows Dark (Org. Når Det Mørkner, 2016) – translated into English 2016 (A prequel to the series.)
  12. The Katharina Code (Org. Katharina-koden, 2017) – translated into English 2018 (Book #1 ‘The Cold Case Quartet’)


The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize in 2011 for Closed for Winter
The Riverton Prize in 2013 for The Hunting Dogs
The Glass Key award in 2013 for The Hunting Dogs
The Martin Beck Award in 2014 for The Hunting Dogs
The Petrona Award in 2016 for The Caveman

Other work

Together with award-winning illustrator and animator Hans Jørgen Sandnes, Horst has created the bestselling children’s book series Detective Agency No. 2 for ages 6-9. Set in the idyllic small town of Riverton, the Detective Agency No. 2 series follows the adventures of our main protagonists Tiril and Oliver – not to mention their dog Ocho! Together the two young detectives collect evidence, search for connections, and join the at times perilous hunt for criminals. Concluding each book is an afterword in which readers can put their own sleuthing skills to the test.

Jørn Lier Horst is also the author behind the highly praised CLUE series for children aged 9-12.


Anne Bruce has degrees in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University Nynorsk and Bokmål classic and modern texts, written and spoken Norwegian, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish. She has traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia on lecture and study visits, and undertaken translation and interpretation for visiting groups from Norway. She now lives on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.  She has translated Wencke Mühleisen’s I Should Have Lifted You Carefully Over, Jørn Lier Horst’s Dregs, and Anne Holt’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst.

Follow Anne Bruce on Twitter

One Comment on “The Katrina Code – The Cold Case Quartet, Book #1 by Jørn Lier Horst; Translated by Anne Bruce

  1. Pingback: The Cabin (The Cold Case Quartet Book 2) by Jørn Lier Horst. Anne Bruce (Translator) – Love Books, Read Books


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