Review: The Killing II by David Hewson




Title: The Killing II

Author: David Hewson

Published: PanMacmillan January 2013

Synopsis: It is two years since the notorious Nanna Birk Larsen case. Two years since Detective Sarah Lund left Copenhagen in disgrace for a remote outpost in northern Denmark. When the body of a female lawyer is found in macabre circumstances in a military graveyard, there are elements of the crime scene that take Head of Homicide, Lennart Brix, back to an occupied wartime Denmark – a time its countrymen would wish to forget. Brix knows that Lund is the one person he can rely on to discover the truth. Reluctantly she returns to Copenhagen and becomes intrigued with the facts surrounding the case. As more bodies are found, Lund comes to see a pattern and she realises that the identity of the killer will be known once the truth behind a more recent wartime mission is finally revealed…

Status: Read from January 11 to 12, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy PanMacmillan Australia}

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest, I expected that I would quickly abandon this book in the same way that I gave up on the television series, The Killing, it is based on. Instead I found myself completely engrossed by a complex plot populated by strong, intriguing characters, such as Detective Sarah Lund and Detective Ulrik Strange.

Set in Denmark, The Killing II begins with the grisly discovery of a woman staked to a World War 2 monument, stabbed multiple times, her throat slit. The police assume it is a domestic murder and arrest her ex husband but head of Homicide, Lennart Brix, isn’t so sure and recalls disgraced Detective Sarah Lund from exile to Copenhagen to examine the scene. With her instinct for the truth that ignores protocol and politics, Lund leads the team on a chase for a phantom suspect through the underground of domestic terrorism to the battlefields of Afghanistan and office corridors of the Danish government.

Lund is introduced in the The Killing, a complicated woman who, in her dogged pursuit for the killer of teenage Nanna Birk Larsen, destroys both her professional and personal life. Exiled to customs control she is reluctant to respond to Brix’s summons to assist him with the sensational murder that launches The Killing II, but capitulates and quickly finds herself caught up in the investigation. Determined and intuitive, Lund’s ability to ‘think outside of the box’ reveals clues other investigators miss but her impatience and drive puts her at odds with both her partner and the police hierarchy. Though prickly and reserved I really enjoyed Lund’s unique character and her extraordinary focus.

Detective Ulrik Strange is paired with Lund by Brix. An ex-military man, Strange is uncomfortable with Lund’s unpredictability and a bit of an enigma, I was never exactly sure whose side he was on, though to his credit he quickly recognises Lund’s skills and backs her up. The professional tension between Strange and Lund eventually morphs into a subtle romantic tension that humanises them both.

The plot of The Killing II is complex with viable suspects flitting in and out of the frame and it takes some level of immersion in the story to follow the various possibilities. Just as I felt I had everything worked out, my theories would completely fall apart and the story would forge a new path. Thankfully Hewson brings everything together in the end, but it is an exhaustive process. The pace can drag at times as truth and lies become irrevocably entangled and at times I was a little frustrated with the dense intrigue but I was still gripped by the story.

The Killing II is an enthralling crime novel, with plenty of action and intrigue among well developed characters. Fans of the television series may be surprised to learn the ending is different to that of the show but not having watched it all the way through it wasn’t a concern for me.

Available To Purchase

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via Booko



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 13:27:38

    Hi Shelley, I have been reading your reviews for awhile and while you have the disclaimer that you are only expressing your feelings about a book and not going with a proper book review, it feels at times that you rework the synopsis and dash of a couple of paragraphs which expresses your thoughts but it appears to serve the purpose of padding out the so-called book review.

    I am also curious as to why you would claim to ‘own’ a copy of a book from various publishers when they have provided it online on NetGalley for most reviewed and revoke access after a certain period.

    Isn’t it a tad misleading to give people the impression that you have a physical copy?

    I do enjoy some of your reviews but there is a sameness between your reviews and your synopsis that is disconcerting.




  2. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 17:17:02

    I would not have picked this book up based on the cover art or title (it sounds a bit ‘obvious’ / lacking in imagination for a crime novel), but having read your review it sounds like something I would actually really enjoy – going on my wishlist – thanks!



  3. Kate Lovedaykate loveday
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 08:18:08

    This sounds like a mystery that you can’t put down so I’m certainly putting it on my TBR list..



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