1222 by Anne Holt
ISBN: 9781451634723 (Paperback)
ASIN: B004G5YVSM (Kindle)
Publication date: August 7, 2012
A train on its way to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers head for a nearby hotel, centuries old and practically empty. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the evacuees think they are safe, until one of them turns up dead. With no sign of rescue and the storm raging, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralyzed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But when another body turns up, panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, a passenger who traveled in a private rail car and now stays secluded on the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed. Hanne has her suspicions. Trapped in her wheelchair, trapped by the storm, and now trapped with a killer, Hanne knows she must act before the killer strikes again.
A train climbing a steep Norwegian mountain derails moments after the train's engineer dies and close to a station and hotel. Fortunately no one else onboard suffers from any life-threatening injuries and they are all evacuated to the Finse 1222 hotel. The travelers are a motley crew and include a retired police investigator, families on vacation, doctors' on route to a medical conference, and a host of other travelers. Not all of the passengers get along, due to differences in politics and religious beliefs, but all is going reasonably well until a murder. Hanne Wilhelmsen is extremely antisocial but is lured into providing a superficial investigation into the death of the priest Cato Hammer. Nerves are on edge, especially since a rescue cannot be mounted due to severe winter storms. Hanne tries to remain calm and as isolated as possible, until the next murder occurs. Will she be able to determine who is murdering the survivors before there's another death? Will the storm abate long enough for a rescue before another death? Who are the mysterious guests from the private train car and are they the cause of the unrest and murders?
I was initially intrigued by the idea of a murder at an isolated mountain hotel during a severe winter storm. I was further intrigued by the notion of a retired police officer being pulled into the investigation against her will. I wish I could say my intrigue lasted throughout the reading of 1222. I don't know if the suspense simply lost something in translation. Superficially this seemed like a great "whodunit" crime mystery, but there was just too much going on with very little of it being interesting. The subplots seemed to stall and fade in-and-out, leaving unresolved issues and questions until the bitter end. Hanne may have been a capable police investigator, but she is not a likeable character. She seems to be goaded into participating in the murder investigation and appears to remain a relatively unwilling participant until the very end. For me, her personality made finishing 1222 seem more like a chore than a desire to find out who did it and why. If you've read 1222 and enjoyed it, please share your thoughts with us.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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