I won this novel on Mel’s Random Reviews blog, written by awesome Mel who didn’t hestiate to send a huge parcel full of books abroad -thank you once again, you rock!
Genre: crime fiction, horror, mystery with Scandinavian flavour
Target audience: adults
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Frank Føns is a successful crime writer. His novels, famed for their visceral descriptions of violent death, have made him a household name. But now someone is copying his crimes. For Frank what once seemed a clever, intriguing plot twist has suddenly become a terrifying, blood-spattered reality.
Frank unwittingly swaps his role of writer for detective. He must find out who is using his fiction to destroy his life, and why. What had once been a game is now a matter of life and death.
In fiction, the bad guy always gets caught, but in real life there is no such guarantee. And as Frank knows, no one is promising him a happy ending…
The central character, Frank Føns, is a Danish writer of violent crime novels – in fact very explicit torture scenes, full of bloodshed and gore, are his brand name mark. Frank’s first person narration (allegedly we are reading his autobiography of sorts) was quite compelling – it was an unusual plot device, a crime novel author telling us about his life, career, inspirations and books while trying to solve a ‘real’ crime mystery and to put his life in order, feeling that somehow he is losing his grasp more and more. You see, when Frank thinks he more or less has found the balance anew somebody starts to murder people around him, copying exactly the methods described so accurately in his novels. First these are highly unpleasant individuals who die, like a corrupted cop with penchant for paedophilia, but then the mysterious murderer endangers the life of one of Frank’s daughters and the whole problem takes a new, far more sinister meaning. Frank decides the only way to put a stop to what he feels he started is to become a detective himself and try to catch the killer — a solitary and dismal task at best.
What’s more…the writing is easy to slip into –anyway the translation from the Danish seemed flawless to me. The ending was a bit frustrating but I enjoyed the ambiguity and the unsolved mystery of it. Overall it was a well-crafted novel – difficult to put down and original. Of course it could have been better. 🙂 What went wrong?
Death Sentence is a book that moves around on the spectrum between crime and horror, but is ultimately closer to horror. The resolution is unlikely to satisfy a pure mystery fans, but there is plenty to enjoy along the way. I found the fragments dealing with Frank’s career and writing process the best. Overall I liked it better than Stieg Larsson’s trilogy and I would put it on the same level as Jo Nesbo and Camilla Lackberg. Would I read another book by the author? Yes, I think I would.