Review: American By Day by Derek B. Miller

9780857525376Derek B. Miller’s American By Day is that rare breed of crime novel that actually has something to say, and wants to make you think.  Amidst an enthralling murder mystery are musings on the differences between American and Scandinavian cultures, analysis on race relations within the American justice system, and an examination of police brutality.

Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård of the Oslo Police is cleared of any wrongdoing after gunning down a Kosovan immigrant during a confrontation. But she can’t help but deliberate and go over how events played out, and whether she could’ve done something differently; whether the man really had to die. And what better for some quiet introspection than on her family farm, where her father still resides. But upon her arrival, he quickly hands over a ticket to America. Sigrid’s brother Marcus has seemingly vanished in upstate New York, uncontactable for long enough to raise concern. Her father wants Sigrid to find Marcus and make sure he’s safe. She doesn’t have a lot to go on, just a place of residence, but Sigrid is a top-class investigator, and despite her reservations about the USA, she accepts her father’s mission. Turns out, Marcus disappeared following the death of the woman he loved, an African American professor named Lydia Jones, which is more than a little suspicious, thus making him a person of interest for local sheriff Irving Wylie.

American By Day is clever, devious and morally complex. While some of Sigird’s observations about the differences between American and Norwegian culture and policing are a little too on-the-nose, and characters are prone to occasional soliloquies, the novel is never anything short of compelling. Miller’s ability to craft thrillers with true emotional and thematic depth make a lot of his fellow authors look pallid and formulaic.

ISBN: 9780857525376
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x 25mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Doubleday
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 19-Apr-2018
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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