13 June 2012

Review: NEXT OF KIN, Elsebeth Egholm

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 509 KB
  • Publisher: Pier 9 (April 1, 2011), originally published in 2006. Translated from Danish into English by Don Bartlett and Charlotte Barslund 2010.
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004THDTP8
  • Source: I bought it
Synopsis (Amazon)

Why do we fear strangers when often it's those closest to us who pose the greatest threat?

Fear and anxiety have spread to Denmark in the aftermath of the London bombings. Late one evening, journalist Dicte Svendsen receives an anonymous package containing footage of a brutal murder—a beheading carried out by a sabre-wielding figure dressed in black.

Dicte and her old friend Inspector John Wagner form an uneasy alliance with the Danish secret intelligence service to identify the killer. As media reports unleash a wave of anti-Muslim hysteria across the country, panic escalates, and when Dicte’s teenage daughter is attacked, the investigation gets personal. Dicte has fought long and hard to put her dark past behind her—so how does the killer seem to know her deepest secrets?

My Take

NEXT OF KIN is #4 in an established series featuring full time journalist and part-time sleuth Dicte Svendsen, but, as far as I can work out, the first of the titles available in English from this popular Danish crime fiction writer.

NEXT OF KIN raises some of the issues that have surfaced in Western countries affected by an influx of immigrants from Islamic countries. Among the issues raised are fears of terrorism, problems of assimilation, and cultural complexities.

The thing that puzzles Dicte Svendsen when she is sent a video of a beheading by a sabre-wielding person in black is why she was selected to receive it. Later communications from the person confirm that the answer is in Dicte's own past. When the first victim is found she realises where she has seen the tattoo on his arm before. And what events have triggered the killer to act now, if the original events occurred so long ago?

The sub-plot focussing on a psychologist whose daughter was recently killed by a drunken hit and run driver is an interesting one too. The driver serves only 4 months of his sentence which to the girl's father seems far too short. An organisation called United Victims is calling for the re-instatement of the death penalty, not just in Denmark. NEXT OF KIN is also about crimes, particularly sexual ones, where the perpetrators are never found, but where the victims continue to suffer.

This was a good read. Thanks to Dorte of DJ's Krimiblog for bringing Elsebeth Egholm to my attention.

My rating: 4.6

Elsebeth Egholm's website

The Dicte Svendsen series:
  • Tre hundes nat, 2011 ('Three Dog Night')
  • Vold og magt, 2009 ('Against All Odds')
  • Liv og legeme, 2008 ('Life and Limb')
  • Nærmeste pårørende, 2006 ('Next of Kin')
  • Personskade, 2005 ('Personal Damage')
  • Selvrisiko, 2004 ('Own Risk')
  • Skjulte fejl og mangler, 2002 ('Hidden Errors')


Dorte H said...

I am glad you liked it, but it is sooo silly to publish this series out of order as Dicte´s private life is fairly important, and the first one was such a wonderful book.

Irene said...

I've not read this author, thanks for the introduction.

Unknown said...

It does sound like a wonderful series. I love the premise of this book.


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