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A shroud of grey fog envelops the wetland. The water below is still and clear; its surface barely disturbed by the faint ripples. Standing motionless with her eyes closed, a bitter taste fills her mouth as the gravity of their deed bears down on her. Their unspoken pact looms heavily in the air, forever binding them to secrecy as steadfastly as the stillness of the water.

In the bustling oil city of Stavanger in the southwest reaches of Norway, where towering mountains meet endless shores, a woman has vanished under mysterious circumstances following a work event. Tasked with investigating the disappearance is Martha Krogh, a young emotionally guarded woman, who has followed in the footsteps of her dead father – a respected Stavanger police officer.

In another part of the region, the small-town officer Erik Gjerde responds to a report of a suspected break-in at a vacation home. At first glance, nothing seems to be out of place. It is only when he lets his gaze slide over the kitchen table that he sees it: a vicious liquid, dried up and blackened. Blood. He freezes. What has happened here, and whose blood is it?

It turns out that the cabin belongs to the missing woman, Ada Rosendal, and the alarm bells begin to ring – she is successful, lives on the nice side of the city with a loving family and seemingly without any enemies, so who would want to hurt her? Martha and Erik must quickly join forces to unravel the truth behind Ada’s disappearance, and soon they realize that there is more to the case than first meets the eye.

As Martha and Erik delve deeper into the disappearance, they grow closer, and Martha’s walls begin to crumble. At the same time, Ada’s intricate web of secrets unfurl, revealing threatening letters and mysterious money transactions. It seems as if her disappearance is but a thread in a larger, more sinister fabric – one where figures of authority and law enforcement have tainted morals. Has Ada’s past finally ensnared her in its grasp, and what intricate links bind her vanishing to the unresolved mysteries of Martha’s father’s final investigation?

A Darker Water is an elegantly crafted crime novel set in the middle of the unruly Norwegian landscapes. With a deft hand, Kaja Gjersem Nygaard creates a suspenseful narrative that keeps the readers on their toes until the very last page. In a graceful prose, Nygaard explores the dark secrets lurking beneath a seemingly polished surface and with finesse navigates the maze of human relationships, while introducing a new, compelling heroine.


“Solid crime debut, entertaining and refreshing. […] She has pieced together a genuinely engaging crime story, Kaja Nygaard. […] the debutant delivers a substantial craft and succeeds in keeping the tensions high until the end. […] Nygaard’s crime debut is truly a masterpiece. The structure and characterization as well as the intrigues and eloquence work.”
Stavanger Aftenblad (NO)

“The story has a momentum which most authors can only dream about. The language holds high standards, rarely is the language so thorough in a crime novel. […] It is nor grotesque and there is no wild violence between the pages, which is quite good, but neither is it tame. Most of it is conspicuous without any exaggerations.
Randaberg24, 6/6 stars (NO)

“Ocean spritzes and the noveue riche in a solid crime debut from Western Norway. […] Debutant Kaja Gjersem Nygaard instantly shows that she masters a genre most of us recognize from the big screen. The story is just complex enough [and] Gjersem Nygaard gets a lot out of the contrasts between the modern and urban in the oil city, and the wild nature of the West. […] A Darker Water is a professional and promising start of a new series.”

“Debutant Kaja Gjersem Nygaard joins a strong tradition within both Norwegian and international crime literature. […] It is exactly as it should be in a modern crime novel. […] Everything is seamlessly integrated, and necessary, as it contributes to mystique and suspense. […] It is done elegantly, [and] the eloquence is excellent even in the details.”
Bok365 (NO)

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