Sunday 15 July 2018

American by Day

Finished July 12
American by Day by Derek B. Miller

I really enjoyed Norwegian by Night by Miller, and this is a follow-up book to that one. Set in 2008, shortly after the earlier book ended, but published this year, there are occasional allusions to some of the events of the present, which I enjoyed.
Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has taken a leave after the conclusion of an investigation into the case covered in the earlier book, and finds that instead of relaxing on the family farm, her father is sending her to the United States to look for her older brother, Marcos, who appears to be missing.
Marcos was an adjunct professor at a small college in upstate New York, and Sigrid flies through Iceland, to Montreal, and then on to Watertown.
Sigrid's reactions to her environment, her questions about the things happening around her, and the reactions of those she interacts with are a big part of this book, and a source of humour, insight, and storyline.
When Sigrid arrives she finds that her brother is indeed missing, and that he is connected to the death of a professor at the same college he worked at, a professor he was involved with romantically, and a professor who was African American and wrote and researched race issues. There is another death connected to the professor on a personal level, also race-related, and Sigrid's view of the situation is vastly different than the one the police seem to have.
The sheriff of the area seems like a nice man, but he ignores the media to his peril, and sometimes bends too much to the political pressure of the state authorities. He takes a close watch on Sigrid, asking that they work together, but, as Sigrid envisions a different outcome she isn't always on board with his actions.
This is a story that involves American race relations, politics, the view of "outsiders," mental illness, police relations, motivations, and communication. There is also guilt, perceived and felt, and the search for what is right. A wonderful read.

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