Saturday, 12 November 2011

Book Review: Death Sentence by Mikkel Birkegaard

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars..... I think.

A murder committed on paper, safely within the confines of a novel, is one thing. To see that one crime in the real world, is something else entirely...
Frank Fons is a successful crime writer. His novels, famed for their visceral description of violent death, have made him a household name. but now someone is copying his crimes. For Frank what once served a clever, intriguing plot twist has suddenly become a terrifying, blood splattered reality.

Frank unwittingly swaps a 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 get caught, but in real life there is no such guarantee. And as frank knows, no one is promising him a happy ending...

My Review.
This book was given to me from Transworld Books. 

This is an incredibly hard book to review and I have been sat at my computer wondering what I want to say and how I can truly convey what I am thinking right now. 

You know the phrase 'It does exactly what it says on the Tin (Blurb)'? Well this book doesn't. By that I don't mean that it doesn't have a serial killer. It does. I don't mean that there aren't some truly grisly tails of murder, torture and death. There are. What I mean is that the story layout and it's main stance on this type of genre is totally different to what I expected and I am still unsure whether or not I liked it. I would say however that I devoured the book in a rate like I had never experienced a crime book before. I found that I was totally involved in all the emotions that Frank felt and all the experiences and problems that he put himself in. I felt hatred and repulsion for the man and then at other times I kind of empathised with him, and for that I would like to applaud Birkegaard. Unlike other people I found the book to be fast passed with short chapters. This like other books I have read lately, including another Transworld Book; Crippen, they had two narratives. One where you saw the life of Frank; From the beginning of his love of reading and writing, to falling in love, being a dad, to finding the demons that fame, fortune and power can bring and how those demons can change you and bring the life that you once had down.  I found this storyline good, the characters were well executed and all rather memorable. 
The other part of this was the storyline that you expected after reading the blurb. Frank who now lives alone gets a telephone call to say that a murder has been committed and that it looks like something out of one one his books. Frank goes to investigate and soon becomes aware that the murder is closer to home than what he first thought.  This then starts what becomes a race against time for Frank to find the killer... This part of the book let it down for me. I had read other reviews that said that this book was incredibly gory and just too much. I hadn't found this to be true until the last 20 pages. I have read a lot of crime novels and those pages will forever be etched in my mind. Maybe I have a high tolerance to scenes that were described in the book but it didn't put me off at all. What did put me off was the way I felt the author rushed through the later part of the book. I felt that many loose ends were not dealt with and that the last 50 pages were just wrote to finish the book quickly. The ending was an utter disappointment and I wish so much I could explain why I thought this way but because of the risk of a spoiler I cannot say more, but it was a major let down. I can understand why the ending was the way it was but for me as a crime reader I read crime for a reason, and the ending was an utter anti climax! I would love to hear from other people who have read this book and see what they thought.

This is why my review is quite a strange one and part of me still doesn't know what to give the book star wise, as I utterly love some elements but despised others.

Would I read another book by the author? Yes, yes I think I would.

Do I think that he is the cream of the crop when it comes to Scandinavian authors? No, I do not understand why some reviews have said that he is like Larsson (The Girl with the dragon tattoo) There are no similarities between the two. If he is is to be compared by any other author from Scandinavia I would say that it would be more like a Camilla Lackberg. I haven't got round to reading my Jo Nesbo book to compare that yet.


  1. Great review, love your honesty. If you are looking for good Scandi crime along the Larsson lines I suggest Jo Nesboe or Jussi Adler-Olsen. Both really good writers.
    New follower by the way :-)

  2. Thanks Willa! I actually have REDBREAST on my bookshelf to read. As for DLER-OLSEN never heard of, but as we speak I am on fantastic fiction checking the author out. Thanks! Do you have a blog I can follow?