This book is a masterpiece . . . The legendary Læstadius becomes a kind of Sherlock Holmes in this extraordinary historical crime novel . . . [Niemi] creates images, smells, sounds, atmospheres and characters that make this book a truly extraordinary reading experience.
Superb suspense! . . . a multifaceted, mysterious and engaging novel . . . To Cook A Bear irresistibly engages the reader and provides a ruthless and almost physically palpable portrayal of a time that seems endlessly long ago . . . simply a great literary experience
It's captivating as well as illuminating; several historical figures from the birth of Laestadianism appear, and the murder mysteries keep the reader entranced throughout the almost 400 pages . . . Mikael Niemi has written an intensely entertaining story
The pleasure of To Cook a Bear is twofold: On the one hand, one experiences an almost criminal thrill of voyeurism as Jussi and the Pastor investigate the mysterious assaults. On the other hand, one is transported into a strange time and fascinating world that is both beautiful and brutal. The descriptions of the landscape and the changing of the seasons instil an urgent desire to crank up the time machine . . . that is how it feels when you finish To Cook a Bear: as if the world just got a little bit bigger
Niemi's writing - that of a narrator and a poet, a dreamer and a storyteller - brushes the highest peaks of the most delicate lyricism, rising strongly out of the abyss of the darkest mystery
Niemi plots a composite story where the philosophical novel, the crime novel, the historical novel and the coming-of-age story coexist, complementing one another instead of getting in each other's way
A masterpiece of narrative
Niemi's thriller has such a suggestive atmosphere -stifling in its sweating puritanism, yet somehow lyrical, with an incredibly well conceived plot" laura ricci, Il Sole 24 Ore
A riveting, psychologically astute mystery . . . an example of both superb genre fiction and character-driven literary fiction. It is not to be missed.
An original and gripping crime story
An invented tale of murder, superstition and bigotry . . . Niemi succeeds in constructing a story that works as a murder mystery and as a compelling study of a dangerously inward-looking community.
So much to relish here . . . the plot is grippling, there's a beautifully handled thread on reading and writing, and the writing is just lovely!
"The year's most memorable narrator . . . An unusual and intriguing crime story.