Gunpoint Review: THE HANGING by Lotte and Soren Hammer
It’s time for another Gunpoint Review, when I force my friend Lauren into reviewing something for me, using the following template. She may grumble about the free labor, but her posts are hugely popular, and I may have to make her do more around here than just reviews.—PCN
by Lauren O’Brien
Author: Lotte and Soren Hammer
Length: 304 pages (of tiny print; probably 388 pages in mere-mortal print)
Genre: Crime Fiction/Thriller
Two children arrive at school following a holiday, and discover the bodies of five men hanging in the gymnasium. Not just hung, but hung meticulously in a mathematical way, and the corpses are naked and mutilated.
Danish detective Konrad Simonsen and his team attempt to discover the whos and whys of the crime without much help from the public, which isn’t so keen on punishing whoever might be responsible for killing five men who might not have been the best of citizens. Without cooperating witnesses, Simonsen and the gang are forced to come up with some new ways to bring the culprit (or maybe culprits) to justice.
Your thoughts in five sentences or fewer:
I was sucked in immediately by this book, originally published in Denmark and written by a brother-and-sister team. The story is intriguing, well paced, and multifaceted. What starts as a police procedural turns into something more complex, and addresses such social issues as the role of media, vigilantism, and certain laws in Denmark as contrasted with ones in other countries.
Characters are what win the day for me, and they did here, despite the large number of them and the fact the authors barely scratched their surface. I felt as if I knew these characters, but it was apparent I knew only the tips of very complex icebergs. I like having something left of characters to discover and wonder about, and this book left me with plenty of questions, in a good, I-want-to-read-more way.
Before I was even halfway through, I asked PCN if she knew whether this is the first book in a series, and was glad to find out it is. I’ll definitely be back for the next installment.
The only “negatives” I can come up with are that 1) the book may be a bit gruesome in its details for some, and 2) the small print made me feel really old and decrepit. If you are bothered by somewhat detailed descriptions of violent crimes, I would encourage you to gloss over them rather than avoid the book. If small print is a deterrent, try the eBook instead.
Verdict: One of my favorites thus far this year.