Norwegian by Night

Allow me to steal a paragraph from Amazon.

Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway—a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman. Not until now, anyway.

I like the book. It is beautifully written with vivid characters and plenty of action. Caution: if you want non-stop action, this book spends time giving us an understanding of the characters, including great descriptions of Sheldon’s past. Sheldon, at 84, is still a marine and steps into the middle of a domestic dispute that ends in murder. He saves a Serbian child who, if I remember right, does not speak in the book.

For his part, Sheldon speaks no Norwegian but manages to cross the country undetected with a boy in tow. The ending is well worth the wait.

Sheldon is Jewish but wishes God would stop picking on him. He is like so many of us these days. He believes in God but has no relationship with Him.

I think Derek Miller handled that whole religious issue very well. The tendency for many Christian writers would be to have Sheldon realize he is lost without God, and for good measure have him “come to Jesus.”

It is precious to have a character who remains true to himself, including his willingness to help the helpless. I would be proud to have Sheldon be the hero of my book.

Mike Lawrence

Thirty-Three Teeth


This is one of those rare books that is mysterious, far-fetched, down to earth, funny, and educational all in one. Cotterill’s style reminds me of Macall Smith’s series.

This book is the second in a series of at least 10 Dr. Siri Paiboun stories. Siri is the national coroner of Laos in 1978 at the age of 72. With two  quirky assistants, he tries to solve crimes in a new communist country that is still one foot in the sixteenth century.

A sad bear is featured in this story, but it is the cat that takes over. Through it all, there is the clumsy, paper shrouded, brain-dead bureaucracy that provides plenty of frustrations and laughs for we dear readers.

Cotterill also saddles Siri with his own powerful spirit who sometimes helps, but only when it suits the spirit. If you are going to enjoy the story, think of it as a crossover book, part mystery, part voodoish scifi.

I will read more of this series. I give this book a 4+ rating.

Mike Lawrence