The hanging A thriller

Lotte Hammer

Book - 2013

"One morning before school, two children find the naked bodies of five men hanging from the gym ceiling. The case leads detective Konrad Simonsen and his murder squad to the school janitor, who may know more about the killings than he is telling. Soon, Simonsen realizes that each of the five murdered men had a dark and terrible secret in common. And when Simonsen's own daughter is targeted, he must race to find the culprit before his whole world is destroyed. Published in twenty countries around the world, with more than 150,000 copies sold in Denmark alone, this book introduces a brother and sister duo who have taken the thriller world by storm. Fast-paced, suspenseful, and brilliantly written, The Hanging is a stunning crime nov...el from two authors whose international fame is exploding. "--

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New York : Minotaur Books 2013.
Main Author
Lotte Hammer (-)
Other Authors
Søren Hammer (-), Ebba Segerberg (translator)
First U.S. edition
Item Description
"A Thomas Dunne book."
Physical Description
298 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Two young children arrive at school early and discover five nude male bodies hanging in the gymnasium. Homicide Detective Konrad Simonsen and his team know instantly that the mutilated corpses will be difficult to identify. So begins what appears to be a Danish procedural, but the Hammers, a brother-and-sister writing team, have more in mind. The murderers are introduced in surreal, nightmarish passages that suggest they are victims of child sexual abuse. As police painstakingly identify the corpses, the murderers launch a media campaign that goes viral, assailing Denmark for its laxity toward pedophiles like the murdered men. Worldwide reaction to the campaign unnerves the government, and pressure increases on the already overwhelmed Simonsen. The Hanging offers insights into Danish policing and the country's sociocultural foment. It is also filled with quirky characters whose quirks are meticulously described but not always germane to the plot. But the Hammers have struck a chord with European readers, and The Hanging is seen as Denmark's answer to successful Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic crime fiction. U.S. crime lovers will likely want to stick a pin in Denmark on their crime-fiction maps.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The Hammers, a sister and brother writing team, make their U.S. debut with this outstanding crime thriller, which introduces Danish Det. Insp. Konrad Simonsen. Early one morning in Bagsvaerd, a Copenhagen suburb, a gruesome scene awaits the eyes of two young children, a brother and a sister, in their school gym-the naked corpses of five men hanging from the ceiling, each suspended by a single rope, each with his face mutilated. When word leaks out that the dead men were all child molesters, public opinion shifts in favor of the killer, assumed to have taken revenge on behalf of the victims of abuse. The truth is less straightforward, and the inquiry is complicated by the apparent suicide of a key witness, the school janitor, who told lie after lie in his statements to the police. Everything works in this dark Scandinavian procedural-the intelligent and complex plot, the fallible lead, and the atmospheric prose. Agent: Sofie Voller, Gyldendal (Denmark). (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Two children who unfortunately arrive a little too early to school discover the naked and dismembered bodies of five men hanging from a podium in the elementary school gymnasium. Called back from his seaside vacation, DI Konrad Simonsen quickly becomes embroiled in a nightmarish investigation in which clues are difficult to decipher, leads suddenly disappear and informants are later found dead, and horrific tales of child sexual abuse begin snowballing through the Danish press and international blogosphere. Were the dead men pedophiles? Were they killed at the hands of vigilantes? Will more men soon be found murdered? As Simonsen and his investigative squad attempt to uncover the truth, the Danish public becomes increasingly and loudly in favor of the tactics employed by the shadowy team of vigilantes, believing the dead-presumed guilty-to be better off that way. VERDICT This debut thriller by two Danish siblings unfolds in chapters that flit back and forth across the perspectives of the detectives and the vigilantes: one chapter is narrated by Simonsen, another by the leader of the killers, another by a reporter, etc. This method, while illuminating detail and motive, adds confusion to the overly long tale, providing constant description rather than clarity. Further, in its central theme of violence against children and societal response to it, this novel attempts to instill an ethical depth that it ultimately cannot deliver. Still, some fans of Scandinavian crime fiction may be interested. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick's "Following the Digital Clues: Mystery Genre Spotlight," LJ 4/15/13.]-Jennifer Rogers, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Something new is rotten in the state of Denmark in this debut from a sister-and-brother team: five middle-aged men drugged, stripped, mutilated and hanged in a geometrically precise formation. DI Konrad Simonsen, head of Copenhagen's Homicide Division, is on vacation, but the holiday he's taking with Anna Mia, the 19-year-old daughter he neglected for many years, ends abruptly with the news of a grisly discovery. Someone has decorated the gym of the Langbk School in Bagsvrd with five corpses dangling from the ceiling. The hands of the victims have been removed and their faces disfigured with a chain saw, presumably to delay their identification. Without knowing who they are, Simonsen obviously has little to go on in solving their murders, and it's not surprising that his suspicion quickly falls close to home, on Per Clausen, the school's janitor. Clausen has almost enough history to make up for the blank slates of the victims. He was a brilliant student and a successful physicist until the drowning of his daughter Helene, 17, marked a reversal of his fortunes. Soon after the police question him and receive nothing but evasive responses, he vanishes. Meanwhile, Simonsen is being harassed by pesky reporter Anni Staal; local citizens, when they get wind of the likely motive for the murders, are by no means eager to help catch the killers; and members of the Homicide Squad have their own obligatory problems, especially married gambler Arne Pedersen, who's begun an affair with the squad's newest member, Pauline Berg. The case would seem hopeless if the authors didn't keep cutting away to close-ups of the conspirators responsible for the five victims' deaths: advertising executive Erik Mrk, farmer Stig ge Thorsen, nurse Helle Smidt Jrgenson and a wraithlike killer who prefers to be called the Climber. Middling for the endless recent crop of Scandinavian procedurals apparently designed to inhibit tourism and make you glad you're staying in the temperate zone.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

CHAPTER 1 Monday morning fog rolled in over the land in white woolly waves. The two children could hardly see a meter ahead of them as they crossed onto the school grounds. They had to find their way from memory and soon their steps became hesitant and searching. The boy was slightly behind the girl, his school bag in his arms. All of a sudden he stopped. "Don't go on without me." The girl stopped as well. The fog particles condensed in her hair, and she wiped the droplets from her brow as she patiently waited for her little brother, who was struggling to wrench his bag onto his back. He had spoken Turkish, which he rarely did, and never to her; now he was occupied with the straps and pulling harder on them, but it didn't help. When he was finally done, he grabbed her hand. She looked around to see if she could spy the other end of the field through the mist. She said, "Now see what you've done." "What have I done?" He tightened his grip and sounded small. "Nothing. You don't understand." She picked a direction at random and took a few blind steps before she stopped short again. The boy pressed up against her. "Have we gone astray?" "Idiot." "It was light at Mother's." "In a little while it'll be light here too." "What does it mean, astray ?" She didn't answer him, and tried to convince herself that there was nothing to be afraid of, that the school grounds weren't particularly large, that they should just keep going. "We aren't allowed to go off with strangers. No matter what, we can't go off with strangers. Isn't that right?" She could hear that he was on the verge of tears and she pulled him along behind her in a series of uncertain steps, until she suddenly saw a slight glow diagonally in front of her and steered toward it. Shortly afterward they were in the corridor in front of the gymnasium. The girl was sitting on a bench, reading, and her brother came running with a ball in his arms. "Do you want to play ball with me? You're so good at it." "Have you hung your clothes up properly and set your bag down in its place?" He nodded, wide-eyed, the embodiment of sincerity. "Come on, go and do it." He lumbered off without objection, but was soon back and repeated his desire to play. "I have something I have to read first. You start and I'll be there in a bit." He glanced skeptically at her book. It was thick. "Promise you'll come soon?" "As soon as I've finished this chapter. Go in and play on your own. It won't be long." He ran into the gym and soon she heard the sounds of a bouncing ball. She kept reading. From time to time she closed her eyes and imagined she was a part of the story. The boy interrupted her. "There isn't room to play," he called out. "Why not?" "Because some men are hanging up in here." "So go around them." Suddenly he was in front of her. She hadn't heard him approach. "I don't like the men." The girl sniffed the air a couple of times. "Have you farted?" "No, but I don't like the dead men. They've been cut up." She got up angrily and walked over to the doorway to the gymnasium, her brother at her heels. Five people were hanging from the ceiling, each suspended by a single rope. They were naked and facing toward her. "Aren't they gross?" "Yes," she said and closed the door. She put her arm around the boy. "Can we play ball now?" "No, we can't. We have to find an adult." Copyright © 2012 by Lotte Hammer Jakobson and Søren Hammer Jakobson Excerpted from The Hanging: A Thriller by Lotte Hammer, Soren Hammer All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.