"My best mystery of the year turns out to be yet another stunner from Scandinavia. I could be wrong (but I don't think I am) when I say that Gazan disposes of a murder victim here by an infernal means that no other mystery writer—not even the resourceful Dame Agatha—ever concocted."—Maureen Corrigan, NPR. "Favorite 10 Books of 2013."
"Formidable and satisfying . . . in the author's menacing world, sins of emotional cowardice and betrayal can be just as awful as offenses against the criminal code."—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal (selected as one of the top ten mysteries of 2013)
"The asides—the dissemination of DNA, the structure of dinosaur skulls—prove as intriguing as the central mystery. A top-flight thriller that’s poisonous, smart and outrageously entertaining." —Christopher Fowler, Financial Times
"Simply put, The Dinosaur Feather is the weirdest and most ingenious new mystery I’ve read in years . . . it will be obvious to readers why Gazan’s novel would be the leader of almost any pack. Moody and intricate, The Dinosaur Feather is every bit as unforgettable as its creepy title." —Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
"Skulls, feathers, claws and winged flight—all are part of an ongoing scientific controversy about the evolution of birds that winds through the pages of Danish author S.J. Gazan’s absorbing debut thriller.” —Barbra Clark, BookPage
"Gazan’s brainy thriller . . . Gazan orchestrates the suspenseful action and overlapping lives of her complex characters with deceptive ease . . . [A] moving exploration of such broader themes as parenthood, love, and the potentially poisonous results of living with lies." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Intelligently plotted and psychologically believable." —Marcel Berlins, The Times
"Gazan's novel has by far outdone, not to say outshone, all other crime novels published this year." —Anette Dina Sørensen, Politiken
"Imaginative . . . a book with an independent, capable female lead, and one in which scientific research is central." —Maxine Clark, Eurocrime
"Sissel-Jo Gazan has mastered the arts of suspense and revelation." —Kristeligt Dagblad
"Simply first class." —Jyllands-Posten
This Danish debut manages to combine white-hot academic debates, well-nigh universal family dysfunction and murder most foul. It's always an anxious time when your dissertation defense draws near, especially if you're the single mother of a 3-year-old whose adviser has always been distant and unsupportive. But all those traumas pale for University of Copenhagen graduate student Anna Bella Nor when her unloved supervisor, professor Lars Helland, is found dead in his office, his freshly severed tongue sitting on his chest. How did Helland die, and why has his tongue been removed? Superintendent Søren Marhauge, whom Anna dubs the World's Most Irritating Detective, ought to be the person answering those questions, but he's sorely distracted by the loss of all those he loved the most and, more recently, by his sins against his ex-lover Vibe. Despite his preoccupation, Søren soon finds someone with a perfect motive for murder, if indeed Helland was murdered: professor Clive Freeman, whose long-running argument with Helland over the question of whether birds are modern dinosaurs (Helland) or the descendants of a common ancestor (Freeman) had long since turned both antagonists into zealots. But Freeman, whose rivalry with Helland has poisoned his friendship with his cherished student Jack Jarvis, was thousands of miles away in Vancouver when Helland died. A second suspicious death deepens the mystery and makes it seem ever more unlikely that all the strands will ever be tied together. Gazan's approach to the genre--everyone serves as his or her own detective searching for the solution to his or her own mystery--is more Fyodor Dostoevsky than Agatha Christie. The results are uneven, and the ending is inevitably anticlimactic, but the journey there is a revelation.