Jørn Lier Horst - Wednesday - Norway
Last month I debuted as a nonfiction writer with BadBoy. The man on the cover is Trond Einar Frednes. He was in police circles referred to as one of the most dangerous men in Norway. He has done everything you can read about in other crime novels. He has shattered kneecaps and cut off fingers. He shot another man for the first time when he was 17 years old.
The first time I heard his name was when I got a temporary job as patrolling police officer in the early 1990s. At that time it was reports of less serious crimes such as shoplifting, illegal moped driving and tagging. But when I came back into regular work a few years later, the crime had escalated. When I searched up his name in the police registry it came up with a warning in red letters that he was dangerous and armed.
Trond Einar and I have followed each other on opposite sides of the law, since our first meeting nearly 25 years ago. I've arrested him, interrogated him, spied on him, and pursued him during car chases. In 2003 I was involved in getting him convicted of murder.
Two years ago he called me from jail and asked me to come for a visit. When I entered the visiting room I understood what he wanted. He sat with a stack of paper in front of him and wanted help to write a book. His story. I did not want to do it. I knew Trond Einar as a cynical and violent felon, and I had met several of his victims - people he had inflicted pain and suffering. In addition he had threatened police colleagues with guns. But I took the papers and began to read them.
The relatively thick stack of paper was the beginning of a suicide note to his partner and children, but while he was writing it became a life letter where he said goodbye to his criminal life.
I quickly saw that it was a well-told story, raw and brutal and with a special nerve that gripped me. He told everything he has done. Honest and unreservedly. In his script I could get answers to unsolved crimes. The solution to cases I never solved as an investigator. But for me, that have always sought insight and understanding in the face of crime, it was also interesting to get an understanding of why some people become criminals and the mechanisms that prevails inside a closed and heavy criminal environment.
What I also realized during my writing process was how I actually have more in common with criminals like Trond Einar, than what separates me from them. I looked at him as a monster, but got to know him as a human beeing.
Today Trond Einar released from prison. He and his partner, who has stood by his side all these years, have started the Badboy project where he uses his experience to prevent crime. He visits schools and tells his story in the hope that someone can learn from the mistakes he has committed.
Jørn Lier Horst
Jørn Lier Horst