Source: Review Copy
When the bound, hooded corpse of an unidentified man is found propped up against a gravestone in the central cemetery, Axel Steen is assigned the case.
Rogue camera footage soon suggests police involvement and links to the demolition of the nearby Youth House, teeming with militant far-left radicals. But Axel soon discovers that many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case and in preventing its resolution.
With a rapidly worsening heart condition, an estranged ex-wife and beloved five-year-old daughter to contend with, Axel will not stop until the killer is caught, whatever the consequences. But the consequences turn out to be greater than expected – especially for Axel himself.
Assured, innovative storytelling for fans of Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell and Lee Child.
Jesper Stein emerges as an exciting new voice in Nordic Noir. When the novel opens, the city of Copenhagen in Denmark is on lockdown as riots break out. For me, it did bring back memories of the London riots, which took place in 2011, and I thought the scenes were very well written and very vivid. Detective Superintendent Axel Steen enters the picture, and as the situation comes under control, a body is discovered in a nearby cemetery. And what’s more, a young man who was involved in the riots has disappeared with vital CCTV footage that could be pivotal to the investigation as it could show the face of the killer(s).
What immediately intrigued me was how the body had been left in the cemetery. It was clear that the victim had suffered horrific abuse before being killed and I wanted to know who he was and what he had done to deserve the fate inflicted upon him, or if indeed there was any reason at all. We immediately get a sense that the police face huge levels of mistrust in the city, and you can see how it is going to be difficult for Axel to understand what has happened. Journalists are also keen to paint the police in a bad light after their response to the riots, which doesn’t make things easy for them.
Axel is an intriguing character. The opening scene allows you a glimpse into the workings of his mind, and it does make you think about what has gone wrong in his life. I was interested to see how his character would develop further as the novel progressed, particularly his relationship with his ex-wife. He still has strong feelings for her, and at times I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him as it seems he is struggling to move on from their split. He certainly isn’t a character who always plays by the rules, and this is what made him exciting to follow, even though some of the decisions he makes don’t make him particularly likeable.
Jesper Stein is a writer who I will be keeping an eye out for. Unrest is an exciting debut novel, and I would definitely recommend it for Nordic Noir fans.
Thank you to Melaine Sambells at Mirror Books for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to review.
Publisher: Mirror Books
Publication date: 19th July 2018
Print length: 400 pages
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