By David Hewson. Grade B+.
This happens to be my first hefty crime thriller.
Through the dark wood where the dead trees give no shelter Nanna Birk Larsen runs …
There is a bright monocular eye that follows, like a hunter after a wounded deer. It moves in a slow approaching zigzag, marching through the Pinseskoven wasteland, through the Pentecost Forest. The chill water, the fear, his presence not so far away …
There is one torchlight on her now, the single blazing eye. And it is here …
Sarah Lund is looking forward to her last day as a detective with the Copenhagen police department before moving to Sweden. But everything changes when nineteen-year-old student, Nanna Birk Larsen, is found raped and brutally murdered in the woods outside the city. Lund’s plans to relocate are put on hold as she leads the investigation along with fellow detective Jan Meyer.
While Nanna’s family struggles to cope with their loss, local politician, Troels Hartmann, is in the middle of an election campaign to become the new mayor of Copenhagen. When links between City Hall and the murder suddenly come to light , the case takes an entirely different turn.
Over the course of twenty days, suspect upon suspect emerges as violence and political intrigue cast their shadows over the hunt for the killer.
Sarah Lund has finally decided to leave her sad past behind and start a new life with her son Mark and her boyfriend Bengt Rosling in Sweden. This was going to be her last day as a detective with the Copenhagen Police Department and her last case in it. But her plan takes a turn for the worse when the police finds blood in the forest, some torn clothing and eventually a dead body belonging to a nineteen-year old girl, Nanna Birk Larsen, daughter of the all-powerful Theis Birk Larsen in a black car drowned in the river.
Further investigation reveals that the black car belongs to the Mayor of Education- Troel Hartmann, who is campaigning for the post of Mayor of Copenhagen.This mystery is not what he needs.
It seems that the murder and rape of a nineteen-year old girl is not as easy to solve as it had seemed. The case gets entangled with politicians, corruption, Nanna’s family, who is coping with the loss of the death of their first born child and the fights among the police.
The book is based originally on a popular and well-liked crime solving TV series, which I never had the pleasure to watch. Many readers/watchers have supported the TV show but have conflicting opinion on the novel. Having not seen the show, I came to the novel with no preconceptions.
The starting of the book was a little slow as well as unclear and confusing because of a parade of a number of characters. The list of characters in the beginning of the book helps but they are still overwhelming until the reader grows familiar with them.
The sentences are short and sharp with no narrative drive which did not suit me. However, the character formation is well. I especially liked Lund’s character. Postponing going off to Sweden just to solve a case was quite noble of her, in my opinion.
The books is a serious crime novel rather than a slam-bang cop thriller but gets far too long and the details get repetitive after a while. The end is not as good as I had expected. Through it all, the book is good but keeping it shorter and more crisp would have been a better idea.