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5.0 out of 5 starsanother excellent read
Reviewed in Canada on May 1, 2022
I read his first book in this series "Norwegian by Night" and was fully engaged. This sequel is good as well but not quite as good, still well worth the purchase and very entertaining. I have ordered his third in the series and looking forward to its arrival.
5.0 out of 5 starsDerek Miller is a very exciting author.
Reviewed in Canada on December 2, 2020
Read book 1.... Norwegian by night before this book. In American by Day the author makes some very insightful commentary on culture, economics and politics. I am buying these two books as gifts for three of my friends and family.
The main character’s Norwegian perspective on American culture was very interesting. At first I found Sigrid’s matter-of-factness a bit off putting but the story telling is insightful and hilarious at times. A very thoughtful and entertaining read following Norwegian by Night.
This story of Sigrid Ødegård coming to grips with the events from Norwegian by Night as she searches for her brother Marcus in upstate NY is top notch. The conversations between Sigrid and Sheriff Irv about US society are very thought provoking, especially in the current times following the murder of George Floyd.
Now here's a meaty, contemporary crime novel that didn't insult my intelligence (as frustratingly, many books do these days). The writing skills of this author are clearly demonstrated in the opening eight-page chapter. In the very first sentence, we are introduced to Sigrid Ødegård, a forty-year-old Norwegian Chief Inspector. She is sitting in her office, reading and contemplating the contents of an Internal Affairs file on her handling of a hostage situation, in which she shot dead one of the perpetrators. That first chapter sublimely sets up what was for me an engrossing read.
On Saturday nights, Sigrid binge-watches American TV shows. From that experience alone, she draws the conclusion that America is a 'weird place.' I loved her character. She's intelligent, has a fine sense of humour, a rather overactive imagination, and is constantly making observations of people and the various environments she finds herself in. Like most of us, she is always questioning her past and more recent decisions and, when she's alone, often reflects on the life she leads, and even displays to the reader a certain vulnerability. Not unsurprisingly, when she has her Chief Inspector's hat on, she shows another side of her personality; officious, efficient, meticulous with details, and a respected team leader.
Sigrid has a brother (Marcus) who has spent the last eight years or so living and working in the USA. She finds out from her Father that Marcus has disappeared, and is being sought by the police in connection with the suspicious death of his girlfriend, Professor Lydia Jones. Sigrid decides to take some time out from her job, and flies out to the States with the intention of locating Marcus, and finding out the truth. Her first port of call is to go the the local police station, where she has her first meeting with sheriff Irving Wylie. She teams up with the Sheriff and, using her deductive skills and her knowledge about her older brother, assists in the investigation. The main protagonists of Sigrid and 'Irv' are wonderfully fleshed out by the author, and there are many very amusing interactions between them. It's rare that I actually laugh out loud when reading a novel - but I did so many times with this one. This is very much a character-driven story, and though some difficult and sad issues were raised within the pages, it was nevertheless an absolute joy to read. I read a LOT, but I just know (with four months left to go) that American By Day is definitely going to be in my TOP 3 reads of 2020. 📚📖😊
5.0 out of 5 starsBest book I've read in quite a while
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 27, 2020
I bought this on a whim as it had Hopper's Nightthawks on the cover and was on sale so I had no preconceptions of what the book would be like. I'm happy to say this is a great book and certainly the best I've read in a long time. What I liked about the book was it's intelligence, the characterisations and the almost total lack of cliche (which normally lurks around every corner in crime novels). The plot is a decent one and it doesn't flag but this is not a thriller by any stretch. Instead this is a thoughtful story that makes you think about things differently. That's not to say it's a heavy literary tome full of its own self importance - there's a good amount of wry humour here as well. I would say the biggest delight to be found here is the interplay between the two main characters - Sigrid and Sheriff Irv. They're simply brilliant but you should read it for yourself to see why.
It's always a challenge to find a crime novel which is really well written, and I think Derek B Miller has really cracked it. I didn't like this quite as much as Norwegian by Night, which made me laugh out loud on quite a few occasions - but this book shares the excellent writing, often with thought-provoking ideas, and passages which bring you up short to think about what he's said. And it's a good, thrilling read which you really don't want to put down. Thoroughly recommended.
I wouldn't have classed it as a thriller exactly, it is more thoughtful and while there is plenty of tension and danger these are not the most important threads in the story. It's also about coming to terms with tragedy, and very enjoyably, about understanding a totally different culture. And it's very powerfully about race discrimination and politics and policing in that 'weird place', America. The characters, particularly Sigrid, the Norwegian policewoman searching for her brother, Marcus, in a small American town and Irve, the sheriff of that town, are absolutely wonderful, drawn with intelligence and subtlety and constantly surprising. The way they deal with each other, their suspicions and boundaries, and also their tolerances and generosity beautifully describe some of the things that really do make America a bit weird. And it is both optimistic and feels realistic. I loved it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 28, 2019
Thought this was a good book. The characters are quirky and different- without the usual background problems such as alcohol, corruption, insubordination etc. that many authors use to provide interest, nowadays. The plot is a little on the weak side but that said, the author manages to meld together different nationalities and customs proficiently to provide an engaging read. The storyline is based in Norway and the USA. Sigrid, a chief of police, is asked to find her brother, Marcus, who has gone missing in America. In America, Sigrid meets up with the local sheriff, Irv Wiley. Irv is investigating the death of a Dr Lydia Jones and Marcus is connected to the investigation. The death of Lydia has connotations of racism. What becomes apparent are the differences in the police procedures and the general attitudes between the two cultures. This has just the right amount of humour. There’s no extreme violence. The two main characters, Sigrid and Irv would make a great partnership for a series. Definitely recommended. I’ll be looking out for another book by this author.