Fatal Crossing Book Review: A photograph starts a most unusual case

Fatal Crossing Book Review

What is this about?: Nora Sand, a Danish journalist, investigates the disappearance of two Danish girls in 1985 when she finds their photo in a most unusual way.

What else is this about?: Nora Sands, actually. As the first in the series, this takes it’s time setting up her life outside of her investigation into this case.

Stars: 3.5/5

Blurb: When a picture of two Danish girls who disappeared on a boat bound for England in 1985 surfaces in an old suitcase, journalist Nora Sand’s professional curiosity is immediately awakened.

Before she knows it, she is mixed up in the case of a serial killer serving a life sentence in a notorious prison. The quest to discover the truth about the missing girls may be more dangerous that she had ever imagined…

Short blurb right? It doesn’t really tell you enough, but it also tells you just enough to get your interest going – or it did mine at least.

Investigative journalist, Nora Sands

Nora is a Danish journalist, based in London and writing for her paper from there. When the book begins, it does so with her finishing an interview that immediately sets up Nora has a sympathetic person, but a journalist who will take on the hard stories, the ones that will make you cry when you read them in the paper. She’s that kind of journo.

She also happens to like suitcases, or as I like to think of it, has a quirky sense of design because when she find a suitcase in a  store for her apartment, she’s thrilled. Then not so thrilled when she finds the photos inside of two missing Danish girls.

That sets her off on an investigation that takes her to Bill Hix, a notorious serial killer and an entirely surprising avenue for her investigation.

Coupled with her dogged determination to find answers on behalf of the girls who disappeared, her personal life is explored, and the complications that come with it. As astute as Nora is as a journalist, in terms of her own heart and feelings, things are complicated. The narrative of the girls continues at pace with a narrative about Nora, the woman who is falling in love with someone she can’t have. She is frustrated and angry at herself and him, but it never takes away from her investigation.

Tone and atmosphere

The tension in this book slowly increases at the book progresses – a journalist’s story isn’t a tension-filled one, I realise, and it’s can be filled with lots of questions and interviews, so making all this seem exciting, kind of a hard thing to do. With Nora and this book, Theils manages to have the tension in the background, simmering about as she utilises all her contacts and talent to get the information she needed.

I keep saying how much I enjoy restrained writing, especially when it comes to my crime and thrillers — there’s something about the quiet menace of a killer or the tension that fills a book until a conclusion that lifts the lid on the plot — in this case, in a most unexpected way. 

Tomorrow I will be posting an interview with Lone Theils about her writing and the real life story of a photograph that influenced Fatal Crossing.


  • As much as I enjoy action-packed reads, I also agree with you that there’s something very captivating about having all of that tension, etc. quietly simmering below the surface and watching it slowly build as you’re reading along. Great review!

    • Verushka says:

      So yeah, this post is a little more well put together than it was when you commented — which thank you for that 🙂 And thank you — I wasn’t sure if my love for quiet tension is everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Greg says:

    I like books that slowly ratchet up the tension or stakes, and also when we get both an investigation and an interesting take on the MC’s life. Glad this one worked!

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