Reading a book that has been translated from another language always leaves you having learned something new. The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck is a suspense novel/psychological thriller originally published in Finnish that was released in English in November, 2020. It is the author’s first foray into the English market, which I can imagine is always exciting. Reading books set in places that you’ve never traveled is the next best thing to visiting them – it’s like free travel!
Introducing Jessica Niemi
The Witch Hunter ropes you in with a promising premise: A bestselling author’s wife is found murdered in a ritualistic manner that follows the plot of his best-selling series of occult novels. A detective named Jessica Niemi is brought in, and throughout the book there are many allusions to her mysterious past. In fact, I checked at one point to find out if there was a novel published previously to this one, and if I was just missing something about Jessica that should know. Flashes of information came through during each chapter. She’s inherited money, she has dated an Italian violinist, no one knows she lives in a secret mansion hiding behind her studio apartment. It’s all very mysterious and a little too-far fetched for me. It appears she will be the center of a new series of books, and that this novel is to introduce her.
The crimes themselves are fore-told in the victim’s husbands novel, remember? The detectives figure this out quickly and search for other crimes and bodies that match the description of the crimes in the books. There are so many twists and turns that it seems like they’re just there to confuse you. It doesn’t make much sense at all, really. When Niemi’s deep-dark secret is revealed it really doesn’t have anything to do with anything, either. When someone from her past returns, it also seems completely random and none of the pieces fit neatly together.
I’m not going to spoil the end, but I’m going to save you from reading it. Skip this one, it’s overly complicated and the ending is just too far fetched to really enjoy. I gave it two stars on Goodreads. I try to never give a rating that low – especially since it did so well that it was translated into English and marketed all over the world, but it was really just not that great. It is entirely possible that the translation is the problem, and that the segue between twists and clues are not captured in the author’s original voice.
This will not help me sell any books, but it will sure save you from reading one that is a waste of time! Here is a list of great books from 2020 to try. Give this one a second chance or try to find a new option here:
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