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The Land of Dreams

The Land of Dreams

Translated by TIINA NUNNALLY
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Land of Dreams
    Book Description:

    Winner of the Riverton Prize for best Norwegian crime novel and named by Dagbladet as one of the top twenty-five Norwegian crime novels of all time, The Land of Dreams is the chilling first installment in Vidar Sundstøl's critically acclaimed Minnesota Trilogy, set on the rugged north shore of Lake Superior and in the region's small towns and deep forests. The grandson of Norwegian immigrants, Lance Hansen is a U.S. Forest Service officer and has a nearly all-consuming passion for local genealogy and history. But his quiet routines are shattered one morning when he comes upon a Norwegian tourist brutally murdered near a stone cross on the shore of Lake Superior. Another Norwegian man is nearby; covered in blood and staring out across the lake, he can only utter the word kjærlighet. Love. FBI agent Bob Lecuyer is assigned to the case, as is Norwegian detective Eirik Nyland, who is immediately flown in from Oslo. As the investigation progresses, Lance begins to make shocking discoveries-including one that involves the murder of an Ojibwe man on the very same site more than one hundred years ago. As Lance digs into two murders separated by a century, he finds the clues may in fact lead toward someone much closer to home than he could have imagined. The Land of Dreams is the opening chapter in a sweeping chronicle from one of Norway's leading crime writers-a portrait of an extraordinary landscape, an exploration of hidden traumas and paths of silence that trouble history, and a haunting study in guilt and the bonds of blood.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4041-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. 1
    (pp. 1-10)

    THE LAKE GLITTERED IN THE SUNLIGHT. Seemingly endless, far in the distance it merged with the sky.

    It was early morning, with hardly any traffic. A black Jeep Cherokee was on its way south along the lake. The driver was wearing sunglasses because of the sharp morning light. On the passenger seat lay a copy of the weekly Cook County News-Herald, an almost empty bag of Old Dutch potato chips, and a Minnesota Vikings cap. A photo of a dark-haired boy who was missing his front teeth was taped to the middle of the steering wheel.

    The road would soon...

  3. 2
    (pp. 11-15)

    ON THAT MORNING Bill Eggum, the short, fat sheriff of Cook County, Minnesota, had only two months left on active duty. He was sitting in his police car, listening to a Car Talk CD. Standing on the rocks all the way out by the lake were Lance Hansen and Sparky Redmeyer. They were talking. Seven police officers, meaning practically the entire police force of Cook County, had assembled in the parking lot. Most of them were standing around their vehicles, not doing anything useful. The call that had come in that morning sounded desperate and incoherent, indicating that U.S. Forest...

  4. 3
    (pp. 16-19)

    WHEN LANCE GOT BACK TO THE RANGER STATION, he made it only as far as the bottom of the basement stairs before he realized that everyone already knew what had happened. He didn’t feel like asking how they’d found out. Tofte was one of those places where people called to tell you to get better before you even knew you were under the weather.

    Deb Larson, the head accountant, was standing in the doorway to the office area. She was just standing there, gawking. A moment later Becky Tofte appeared behind her. Then Peggy Winters popped up. Three frightened yet...

  5. 4
    (pp. 20-32)

    THE HOUSE WAS ABOVE THE HIGHWAY, at the end of the road on a small hill. Lance stood at the living room window, looking out. Down the road was a big wooden building painted red. That was Isak Hansen’s hardware store, the only one between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. There you could buy everything from nuts and bolts to down jackets and work boots to refrigerators and slalom skis.

    About a hundred yards below the road was the lake. It filled most of the view, but it was rare that Lance actually looked at it. The lake was just...

  6. 5
    (pp. 33-39)

    JUST BEFORE ELEVEN ON THE FOLLOWING MORNING, Lance knocked on the door of the conference room in the Bluefin Bay Resort. He heard footsteps approaching, and then the door opened. A younger man stood there.

    “FBI?” Lance hesitantly asked.


    “I was asked to . . . I was the one who found the body.”

    “Of course. Come in.”

    The man closed the door behind them and then held out his hand. “Bob Lecuyer,” he said. “I’m in charge of the investigation.”

    “Lance Hansen.”

    Lecuyer went over to the long conference table in the middle of the room. A lot...

  7. 6
    (pp. 40-46)

    DULUTH IS LOCATED AT THE WESTERNMOST TIP of Lake Superior, where the St. Louis River runs into the lake. That’s as far west as you can go on the Great Lakes of North America. It’s the point where the world’s largest freshwater lake system ends. But of course you could also say it’s the point where it begins, and that it ends where the St. Lawrence River pours out into the Atlantic Ocean near Quebec City in Canada, half a continent away.

    Where he was sitting in room 22 in Lakeview Nursing Home, Lance Hansen was approximately at the midpoint...

  8. 7
    (pp. 47-59)

    EIRIK NYLAND LOOKED AT THE BAGS AND SUITCASES slowly revolving in the glare of the terminal lights. It was sixteen hours since he’d climbed into his car to drive to the airport. He’d crossed seven time zones, and it actually should have been early the next morning, but here it was still evening. And not more than half past eight. He felt like he’d been partially erased, as if important files on his hard drive had been deleted. Inside his temples a headache was brewing, and soon it would begin to swell and explode against the inside of his skull...

  9. 8
    (pp. 60-70)

    EIRIK NYLAND was sitting in one of the two easy chairs in Bjørn Hauglie’s hospital room. In the other sat the man he’d be working with here, FBI agent Bob Lecuyer. He looked to be in his thirties. A man not given to grand gestures, and Nyland respected that.

    Bjørn Hauglie was sitting on the bed. He was suntanned and muscular, with sun-bleached blond hair. A tape recorder was on a small table between the two police officers and the bed. It had not yet been turned on.

    “Do you think they’ll keep you here long?” asked Nyland in Norwegian....

  10. 9
    (pp. 71-86)

    DRIVING NORTH ON HIGHWAY 61, Lance Hansen heard a brief portion of the FBI’s press conference on the car radio. It was ten after six, and the conference had evidently been recorded earlier. He hadn’t even known they were planning to hold a press conference. Now he heard Bob Lecuyer say they hadn’t yet made any arrests in the case. When asked whether Bjørn Hauglie was a suspect, Lecuyer replied that his only status was that of a witness.

    “But do you have any indications whatsoever that anyone else besides those two Norwegians was at Baraga’s Cross on that night?”...

  11. 10
    (pp. 87-97)

    THE DAY AFTER Lecuyer and Nyland held the press conference, Lance Hansen and his son went to the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. Lance had been wanting to take Jimmy there for a long time, but until now he hadn’t thought the boy was old enough to get much out of it.

    It was another hot and cloudless day. As soon as they walked in the door, the first thing Jimmy wanted was more ice cream. Lance went over to the stand, the whole time keeping an eye on his son, who was standing a few yards away, leaning against...

  12. 11
    (pp. 98-101)

    ON MONDAY, JUNE 30, around lunchtime, Eirik Nyland and the FBI agent Jason Fries drove into the parking lot in front of the Whispering Pines Motel. Fries was in his late twenties, with dozens of tiny scars on his face, which Nyland assumed must have come from acne. He was Bob Lecuyer’s assistant.

    “So what’s your opinion about the tip we got?” asked Nyland.

    An anonymous woman had called the FBI, claiming that the motel clerk was generally a suspicious type who liked to spy on the guests.

    “Probably bullshit,” snorted Fries. “Do you really think the clerk would have...

  13. 12
    (pp. 102-112)

    THAT SAME DAY Lance Hansen was on his way to Two Harbors to visit his brother. He didn’t know what to think about the fact that Andy had been in the vicinity of the crime scene on the night in question. Maybe he’d be able to find out something by talking with him in person.

    As Lance drove, he plucked a heart-shaped Dove chocolate out of the bag and carefully peeled off the thin foil wrapper with his fingernails before he stuffed the chocolate in his mouth. Then he smoothed out the wrapper and held it up so he could...

  14. 13
    (pp. 113-127)

    EIRIK NYLAND WAS SITTING AT A WINDOW TABLE in the South of the Border café in Grand Marais, gulping down his second cup of coffee of the morning. He had a dull headache, as he always did whenever he hadn’t had enough sleep, and he’d forgotten the bottle of Excedrin in his hotel room. On the plate in front of him were the remains of an omelet. Across the street was the Grand Marais Liquor Store and Hank’s Hardware. It was seven in the morning on Tuesday, July 1.

    Just before five he’d awakened from a dream that he’d had...

  15. 14
    (pp. 128-136)

    THE SUN HAD COLORED THE LAKE an almost artificial-looking blend of yellow, pink, and violet. Soon the violet would darken and erase the other hues, until finally everything would turn to black. But it would be a while before that happened.

    Lance was sitting at his desk at home looking at a photograph. He’d taken it out of a folder of old photos from the Soderberg archives. Each folder usually contained eight pictures, and he’d already gone through about twenty of these folders.

    The photo he held in his hand showed a man standing in a small clearing in the...

  16. 15
    (pp. 137-152)

    IT WAS THE MORNING OF WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, exactly one week after he discovered the murder. Lance was at the ranger station in Tofte. He was standing in the lobby, waiting for District Ranger John Zimmerman to arrive with some documents that the two of them needed to look at before Lance could get in his car and head out. But Zimmerman was busy with something in one of the nearby buildings. From what Lance understood, it had something to do with the firefighting crew.

    He was leaning against the information counter, drinking coffee from the usual mug that he...

  17. 16
    (pp. 153-157)

    LANCE WAS SLAVING over a difficult math assignment he’d been given as homework. He was sitting in his room on the second floor, which had a view of a large section of downtown Duluth. A view he never bothered to stop and think about. That was just the way it looked from his window. Every day new ships would sail into town down there, and the old Aerial Bridge would be raised and lowered. It was a Saturday in September, his last year in high school, and he had pretty much made up his mind to become a policeman, like...

  18. 17
    (pp. 158-175)

    EIRIK NYLAND HAD DELIBERATELY OMITTED telling Bob Lecuyer that he was going to visit Lance Hansen. You never know what might come up if you have a beer with a witness, he thought, and if you know something the others don’t, it’s a lot harder for them to fool you. Not that he distrusted Lecuyer. That just happened to be what he was thinking.

    After eating an early dinner at the restaurant in the hotel, he got into his rental car and drove the couple of miles up to Isak Hansen’s hardware store. He had considered getting a cab and...

  19. 18
    (pp. 176-180)

    LANCE WOKE UP IN THE DARK. The first thing he thought about was whether he’d had any dreams. But of course he hadn’t.

    The alarm clock on the nightstand said it was one thirty. It was the Fourth of July, but there were many hours ahead before it was time for the parade and the fireworks. It was still night everywhere on the continent.

    He got up, put on his bathrobe, and went into the living room, which was faintly lit by the streetlamp down near the hardware store. The dark outline of the building was visible on the left....

  20. 19
    (pp. 181-200)

    SMELLS OF FRIED FISH AND FRESH POPCORN were coming from the vendors’ booths that had been temporarily set up along the harbor boardwalk in Grand Marais. The white paper sacks that people were carrying were stained with melted butter from the popcorn. Seagulls shrieked as they flew over the harbor, on the lookout for something to eat.

    Eirik Nyland was sitting at a picnic table in front of the Trading Post. The shop sold sports equipment and vacation gear, Scandinavian sweaters and cardigans, Indian dream catchers, Norwegian trolls, wild rice from the lakes around the Iron Range, as well as...

  21. 20
    (pp. 201-205)

    “I KNOW WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP you and Georg had,” said Eirik Nyland calmly. He was standing at the window, looking out. They were on the second floor of the Best Western Motel in Duluth. Outside was a parking lot that was almost full. It was Saturday, July 5.

    “No, I don’t think you do,” said Bjørn Hauglie behind him. “It was a friendship that . . .” His voice broke before he could finish what he wanted to say.

    “The two of you were lovers, weren’t you?”

    “What are you saying?” Hauglie sounded shocked.

    “Do you think you’re dealing...

  22. 21
    (pp. 206-211)

    LANCE HANSEN had seen Willy Dupree only once since the divorce three years ago. It was at Nancy Dupree’s funeral. Willy had been a widower for almost two years now. Lance hadn’t talked with him at the funeral. He merely shook hands and offered his condolences.

    For a few seconds as he turned onto the road that led to Willy’s house, Lance could see a white wooden building that stood all alone down by the lake. Around it was a high palisade of pointed posts. That was the reconstructed headquarters of the North West Company, where Willy used to work...

  23. 22
    (pp. 212-223)

    HE WAS ON HIS WAY TO ANDERSON LAKE, where two men had been observed setting out nets. He suspected they were Ojibwe. If so, they had the right to be fishing with nets. On the other hand, if they were not Ojibwe, fishing was strictly forbidden, and Lance would have to issue fines and confiscate the nets. He’d done this many times before. It was a routine part of his job.

    On the previous day, which was a Sunday, he’d gone into his small office at the ranger station and scanned four pages from Nanette’s diary. Then he had faxed...

  24. 23
    (pp. 224-227)

    THE PHONE WAS RINGING ON THE TABLE NEXT TO HIM. Groggy and only half-awake, he finally managed to pick it up. Peering at the display, he recognized the home phone number of Sheriff Eggum.

    He cleared his throat. “Hello?” he said.

    “Lance?” said Eggum on the other end of the line.

    “Hi, Bill. Um, what time is it?”

    “Ten to seven. In the evening. Did I wake you up? Your voice sounds a little . . .”

    “Yeah, I must have dozed off.”

    The sheriff laughed. “Soon I’ll be able to do the same thing. After I retire. Then I...

  25. 24
    (pp. 228-243)

    EIRIK NYLAND was sitting on the flat rocks near Baraga’s Cross, on a cream-colored blanket he’d brought with him from the hotel. Next to him was a red ice chest he’d just bought. Inside were a Viking ship, a bottle of Gammel Opland, and four bottles of Mesabi Red.

    It’s just so typical, he thought. When the breakthrough finally came, it turned out that the perpetrator was someone they’d already had contact with, but had decided was not of particular interest. Bjørn Hauglie had been of far greater interest the whole time. And the two men had actually been interviewed...

  26. 25
    (pp. 244-252)

    LANCE ALTERNATED between relief and uneasiness in the days following Nyland’s departure for Norway. On the one hand, a man had been arrested and his fingerprints were found on the baseball bat that presumably had bashed in the head of the young Norwegian. On the other hand, Andy Hansen’s initials had been found on that bat. Lance remembered quite clearly that Andy’s initials had been carved into the bat he’d had ever since they were kids. The same bat Lance had picked up from the ground of the schoolyard after the ambulance had driven off with Clayton Miller. Clayton, the...

  27. 26
    (pp. 253-258)

    WHEN LANCE GOT HOME FROM WORK on Tuesday afternoon, he found an e-mail from the translation agency in Minneapolis in his inbox. He’d almost forgotten about the diary and Swamper Caribou.

    He opened the e-mail and read the brief message from the translator. She finished her message with the words: “This was unusually fascinating material to work with.” Then came some practical information regarding payment. After that it was just a matter of downloading the attachment with the translation so that he could read it. Lance felt more uneasy than he had in a long time. He was actually feeling...

  28. 27
    (pp. 259-269)

    IT HAD TO BE MORE THAN TWO YEARS since Lance had called Mary to talk about something other than their son. He had no idea how she was going to react. She was the one who had wanted the divorce, after all. And that was also why she had been so skeptical about having any form of contact afterward, other than what was strictly necessary so that Lance could spend time with Jimmy every other weekend. Occasionally they would exchange a few words when he picked up the boy or dropped him off. Always about purely practical matters. Otherwise they...

  29. 28
    (pp. 270-285)

    IT WASN’T YET TEN O’CLOCK when Lance turned the key in the ignition and started the Jeep in the parking lot behind Lakeview Nursing Home. Inga was sitting next to him, holding her purse on her lap. She’d dabbed on some perfume.

    “All right, let’s go,” he said. “What do you think about this weather?”

    It was a fine, dry day with high clouds, but on the other side of the lake, a big gray bank of clouds was hovering over Wisconsin, threatening rain.

    “You brought the umbrellas, didn’t you?” said Inga.

    “Sure did. They’re on the backseat.”

    “So there’s...

  30. Back Matter
    (pp. 286-286)