Posted in Book Reviews

The Man in the Lighthouse: Erik Valeur

New Year’s Day, 2015, most folks celebrated. However, in Denmark, the Prime Minister & his brother were receiving devastating news. Their mother, known as the Widow Blegman, had vanished from her nursing home. Investigating the case is Denmark’s premiere police official known simply as the Homicide Boss. But, in order to solve her very peculiar disappearance, he’ll need to work backward. Delving into the past is seldom a pleasant task. But, the Widow is tied to a number of very shady events and these events will rock Denmark to its core.

Meanwhile, a man named Viggo Larssen, who lives in a lighthouse is struggling with a peculiar mystery of his own. He is haunted by a mysterious dream and the unsolved death of his own mother. During his childhood, he was tied to the Blegman Dynasty by geography, having been their longtime neighbor. His childhood was far from pleasant and he has suffered for most of his life as an outcast, persecuted for his appearance and eccentricities. None of his memories are fond ones. When he hears of the Widow’s disappearance, he’s taken back to that time via memory lane.

By exploring the years of Viggo’s life, from the 70’s to the present, we see how his life crosses with the Widow’s and her family. Transferring from past to present, we meet Viggo’s four closest childhood friends. Each has a reason to hate the Blegmans & to seek revenge. Each also has good reason to hold a grudge on one another. While Viggo tries admirably to find his own mental stability, the Homicide Boss most work quickly to discover how an elderly woman disappeared from a locked room without a trace.

In ‘The Man in the Lighthouse’, Erik Valuer does a masterful job of blending multiple storylines together, creating a perfectly plausible, yet mystifying mystery. Using a different character to narrate each chapter worked elegantly here. It’s a risky move to write this way, but Valuer had no trouble making it work. Our author tackled so many different social issues it makes your head spin. Mental illness, economic prejudice, struggles of single parents- you name it & it’s more than likely discussed in some form.

Viggo is our main character for the most part. He’s the classic, flawed hero. As readers catch up with his life, they find themselves cheering and cringing on a literary roller coaster. It’s easy to see a piece of ourselves in him- good or bad. Although there were many theological points with which I wholeheartedly disagree with the author, I can’t say that this novel was anything less than fantastic. From the writing style to the characters to its ‘wow’ moment ending, it deserves a 5 star rating. Even if one wasn’t a huge fan of the plot, the author deserves applause for the seamless time switches & narration changing.

I’d recommend taking time for this one. It isn’t a light, take-it-to-the-beach read. But, it is worth the time investment.


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