The Blue Place

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Accustomed to frigid Scandinavian fjord winds, the moist summer Atlanta heat is soothing during a late- night walk. Retired at twenty-nine, former police lieutenant Aud Torvingen turns a corner and collides with a young woman just seconds before an explosion destroys a nearby house. The woman, Julia Lyon-Bennet, an art acquisitions and security businesswoman, hires Aud to investigate the explosion that killed her friend, an art historian in the process of examining a piece Julia suspects is a fake.

Aud believes the explosion was intended to kill Julia who unknowingly became caught in a web of art forgery, drug smuggling, and murder. Aud and Julia become sexually enticed; they also share the seduction of violence and the thrill of being in “the blue place” of danger, high risk and being in the precarious balance with someone who wants them dead. Together they sort through the pieces of information which make up the intricate plot of art forgery and crime which ultimately threatens both their lives.

Aud accompanies Julia as an interpreter on a business trip to Aud’s homeland, Norway. Business is laced with erotic encounters, wandering through the harsh Scandinavian countryside, and trekking across glaciers and rugged fjords. Aud’s hard edges and guarded exterior slowly succumb to Julia’s enticements; Aud shares secrets from her past that led to her retirement so early in her career.

The author uses carefully chosen, precisely-aimed language, as sparse and sharply beautiful as the northern landscape, to smoothly lead the reader to a fast-paced, suspenseful climax.