Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo, with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. An ex-Marine, he talks often to the ghosts of his past - the friends he lost in the Pacific and the son who followed him into the US Army, and to his death in Vietnam.
When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a woman in his apartment complex, he rescues her six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by both the Balkan gang responsible for the murder, and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can't speak the same language, start to form a bond that may just save them both.
"This charming debut has the brains of a literary novel and the body of a thriller. Our hero is Sheldon Horowitz, an 82-year-old widower with prostate issues. Too young to volunteer for World War II, he jumped at Korea but always felt he’d missed his moment. Taking the hint, his son, Saul, hustled off to Vietnam and got killed.
Now pickled in guilt, Sheldon has left New York for Oslo to live with the granddaughter he raised and her easygoing Norwegian husband. One morning, their upstairs neighbor flees a violent man with her son. Sheldon spies her desperation through his peephole and recalls the Europeans who saw the same and kept their doors locked. Here, finally, is his chance. Though he fails to protect the mother, Sheldon takes off with the boy. Maybe this child he can save."
—New York Times, 2013
Norwegian by Night (2012) was selected by The Economist as one of the six best novels in the world in 2013.
It was a best book of the year by The Guardian and The Financial Times, and in 2013 it won the John Creasey Dagger by the Crime Writers’ Association.
The book also was short-listed for the Barry Award and the Strand Magazine Critic's Award for best first novel. It won the eDunnit Award (UK) and the Goldsboro Last Laugh Award.
"Nordic crime fiction’s new star, a 42-year-old American, has an interesting take on what makes for entertainment," Erica Wagner, The Times, 2013