The Berserkers

The Berserkers
Vic Peterson
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A beautiful woman is found stabbed and frozen in the ice of Lake Munch, dressed only in the costume wings and tight corset of a Norse Valkyrie. Grammaticus Kolbitter, police precinct records clerk by day and keyboardist in a Viking heavy-metal band, The Berserkers, by night, is pulled into the investigation. What does a records clerk know about solving crime? Reluctantly, Grammaticus embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. Norse legend meets Twin Peaks in this quirky genre-bending novel. EXTRACT Snorri cackled and sucked at his teeth. The wind blasted across the lake, cutting the snow into sharp ridges. He hurled instructions at me as if he were whipping a husky, and I spun the wheel according to Snorri's command. Our tires rolled off the beach onto the thick ice cap that froze over the lake in Winter, clods of snow drumming the floorboard from underneath, like the rapping of the dead. Somewhere in the endless white lay our destination. "I'm a records clerk," I said. "A noble profession." "I shelve file folders and fuss with index cards. I'm not trained as a crime scene technician." "I'll bet the Constable doesn't get out of his vehicle," Snorri laughed, no longer having to be discrete. Despite having left the force more than a year before, he came around the stationhouse to harvest gossip and otherwise pierce the tedium of his days. Today, he had come to us with the news. With a grunt of satisfaction, Snorri shot an index finger under my nose. "Over there." Three precinct cars tailed us in caravan style, a procession blind to its destination and deaf to the admonishing wind. A knot of veins flared between Snorri's eyes. We had found the hillock of snow Snorri wanted. It was the sole hillock of snow on the frozen lake, and he had scraped it up himself, a bier to mark the spot. His face twisted with exhilaration. The remaining vehicles slid into place, a break against the gusts. Engines were cut, with more boots hitting the ice. Flipping the door handles, we stepped out and gathered in a ring. I looked around, first at Snorri and then at Bergthora, the sole remaining sergeant detective in our precinct. She was a wary creature whose penchant for vigilance had by slow degrees surrendered to grievance, just as her husky frame had given over to butter. The circle was completed by Patrolman Jerker, whose crisp azure uniform seemed ridiculously cheery. Snorri muttered, "You see, what I said is true." Yes, we finally saw what we had come to see. I gazed down at the exploding nova of hair through the window of ice at our feet. The girl seemed to float in a cauldron of glass. She had been there for a while, days at least - her eyes rolled back, her arms spread in pirouette beneath the translucent dome, a distorted shadow in the watery darkness. "Always a female," said Bergthora.