I'm Travelling Alone - Samuel Bjork

Genre: Crime/Thriller/Scandinavian
Synopsis: A six year old girl is found hanging from a tree. Around her neck is an airline tag which says 'I'm travelling alone'. A special homicide unit in Oslo is re-opened with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. He must convince his erstwhile partner, Mia Kruger, an extremely talented but eccentric investigator, to leave the solitary island to which she has retreated in order to take her own life. When scrutinising the murder files, Mia spots the number One carved into the dead girl's fingernail. She returns to duty to prevent more little girls falling victim to a terrifying, revenge-driven serial killer...


Review: Having seen the rave reviews and high rating for this one on Goodreads, I was expecting a little bit more than I got. That's not to say it isn't a good read; it is, but I've definitely read better.

 I'm Travelling Alone is a very original, very complex story with a lot of interrelated subplots skirting and supporting the main plot - the search for the killer of a six year old girl. While at first I didn't really like Mia and wasn't sure I would like the book overall, Bjork is a talented writer, ultimately evoking my interest in each of the many characters who turned up either for only a few pages, or for most of them. Although there was a lot going on, I didn't find myself getting lost at any stage, which is saying something because I get confused very easily! In fact, I found myself drawn to certain threads and, when the story flipped away from them temporarily, I couldn't wait to get back to them. I particularly loved Tobias and Torben, and the entire subplot of the Christian Girls they were involved in.

Some of the characters were a bit underdeveloped, despite the sheer volume of time spent on others. I really liked Gabriel, though I felt we could have seen more of his life - he felt a bit like a filler character who was only necessary for a bit of hack ex machina.Ultimately, I didn't see the killer coming, but not in a good way - in a disjointed 'nobody could have figured this out' kind of way. I'm not entirely sure I like how the two biggest plots came together; it seemed somewhat tenuous. It felt a bit like there was more attention to the detail in each subplot or in each character, than it how it all ultimately hung together. I also felt that the very end was extremely abrupt, leaving a lot of issues unresolved. As a result, I closed the book feeling a little indifferent, which is a shame, because there really is a lot about it to like.

Worth a read, but I think maybe it took too much on in one novel.

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

Spangle said...

The description of this book sounds good, it's a shame that the story didn't live up to your expectations. Great review.

Just found your blog from the Book Club Forum!