Thursday, 13 October 2011

Death Sentence

Title: Death Sentence

Author: Mikkel Birkegaard

Number of pages: 398

Started: 7 October 2011

Finished: 13 October 2011

Opening words:

Until recently I had only killed people on paper.

As it happened, I was good at it. Good enough to make a living from it and so experienced that I could refer to it as my job. Being able to write full-time in a country the size of Denmark is something of a privilege, but there are some who will argue I am not a “proper writer” or what I wrote aren’t “proper books”.

Plot summary:

A murder committed on paper, safely within the confines of a novel, is one thing. To see that same crime in the real world, is something else entirely. . .

Frank F√łns is a very 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.

In the novel, a redhead who was scared of water is drowned. In the mirror-image of the real world, she has become an ex-girlfriend chained and left to die at the bottom of the harbour. A corrupt police-officer tortured to death becomes a contact who dies with fear in his eyes. Someone is taking Franks’ fiction and using it to destroy his life. The writer must become the detective.

In fiction, the bad guy always gets caught, but in real life there is no such guarantee. Fear becomes real. The knife cut hurts like hell. Our narrator may not survive. No-one is promising you a happy ending. For Frank what had once been a game is now a matter of life and death.

What I thought:

I read Mikkel Birkegaard’s first book over the summer, and really enjoyed that despite some slightly melodramatic plot devices. I was therefore looking forward to reading his second novel. The book started well and it was a good opening line. The idea of the novel was also good, and carried on Birkegaard’s theme that emerged in his first novel – the power of the novel to influence the world around us.

I have read some reviews of this book that comment on how violent the book is. I am quite squeamish and I wouldn’t say the book is all that violent. That is until you get to the final chapter. I did read the whole book, but I had to slightly skim the end of it because it is rather gruesome.

This was a decent thriller. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the afterword, but can’t really comment on that further without giving away some of the plot. It was an interesting idea for a novel, and whilst I did quite enjoy it, I think I had hoped for a bit more from it.


Sarah said...

This wouldn't really be my kind of thing (perhaps I should give crime a go sometime) but I love the cover. So cheesy!

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - I didn't realise crime fiction was not your thing. I read it a lot as a teenager and have only fairly recently started reading it again.

It is a varied genre, so choose wisely if you are going to give it a go. I would hate for you to be put off by a terrible novel.