The Hanging by Lotte and Soren Hammer


I will admit that I basically gave up and skimmed to the end of this book.  I really do enjoy Nordic crime fiction but this just did not work for me on a number of levels.

The characters were not fully developed and seemed rather flat to me.  This, however, was not the main problem.  The writers are a Danish brother and sister and I’m assuming they are not native English speakers.  I do not know if they wrote the book in English or simply had a sub-par translator.  The dialogue was often stilted and not natural at all.  There was odd phrasing and strange idioms, all things a competent translator would have ironed out.  These oddities kept pulling me out of the story and  ultimately made it not work for me.

I will also say that this book was less a crime thriller and more of a political statement on the  child abuse laws, regulation of pedophiles and vigilantism, but it didn’t really do that either, at least not to the extent that I came away with a good grasp of what was happening with their laws or public policies.

To give a shortened version, the book opens with a harrowing scene of children finding men’s mutilated bodies hanging in the gym of their school.  Very early on we meet the “lead” culprit and then discover that the victims were all pedophiles and this was an organized effort by a group to punish them and draw attention to the issue of child abuse.  The book then meanders on from that point with the reader already knowing basically “who did it” and why and the rest of it was some issues with the press, concerns of a lack of public support for punishing the killers, and police procedural drills.

Disappointing read.


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