A serial rapist wreaks havoc in Copenhagen. The police investigation is hampered not only by the absence of evidence or clues to the attacker’s identity, but also by the force’s own incompetence and prejudice.
A DNA sample links the attacks to the cold case that caused DI Axel Steen’s wife to leave him four years earlier. Steen becomes obsessed with solving the case, a desperate grasp at reconciliation, but his self-destructive behaviour only serves to alienate his wife further. His increasingly volatile behaviour also causes his former police partner, now his boss, to question his competence.
Axel Steen’s hunt for the rapist is a rollercoaster ride of agonising near misses, heart stopping breakthroughs and a desperate search for a perpetrator who will stop at nothing to outwit the police.
A raw and tense thriller as well as a forensic dissection of a police investigation gone wrong. As Axel Steen becomes more and more obsessed with the case, it becomes clear that men who hate women are found at every level of society.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dark and gritty, Die for Me is a new Nordic Noir crime fiction novel by Danish author Jesper Stein featuring police detective Axel Steen. A cross between Alex Cross and Martin Riggs, Axel brings this story to life and makes it hard to put down. Crimes have been left unsolved until he puts the puzzle pieces together and solves multiple cases leaving the reader with the satisfaction of knowing that the bad guy always gets caught.
What I Like
The novel is fast-paced flowing from one action sequence to the next. I didn’t want to put it down until I knew that Axel catches the bad guy, and the women of Denmark are safe from a very evil man.
I have not read any other book in this series, but it didn’t matter for my understanding of this novel. It’s nice for readers when they can read a book in a series and understand it as if a stand-alone novel, so no need to worry with this novel. You can jump right in.
Axel Steen is a very flawed man, but this makes him even more interesting to follow. Addicted to hash, unable to commit to a romantic partner, and a bit of an anger management problem – part of Axel’s charm is wondering when he will crash and burn or if his need to see justice served will carry him through. At times I wondered if he was a bit too flawed, but it works in this novel.
Learning about Denmark is an unexpected highlight. Danish police procedures, the country’s trouble with immigrants, and their civil registration number system are just a small sampling of the things I want to learn more about now that I am finished reading the novel. For people unfamiliar with Denmark, it added a piece to the story that other settings cannot offer.
What I Wish
It would have been great to have appositives to help the reader understand different slang used throughout the novel. The slang added a sense of realism to the dialogue but having to stop and look words up breaks the natural flow of the story.
Lastly, I wish I knew more about Danish culture so I could appreciate the nuances. Perhaps, one day…
To Read or Not to Read
This novel is an excellent representation of a new sub-genre in crime fiction. So, for the explorers among you, it’s time to visit Denmark if only on paper.
Thank you to NetGalley and Mirror Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Jesper Stein was born in Aarhus, Denmark. He began his writing career as a journalist and made his literary debut in 2012 with Unrest – the first in the Axel Steen series. He has received massive attention for his sharp eye for detail, rich and innovative plotting and confident prose. Widely praised by critics and readers alike, Stein has positioned himself as one of the most talented authors of crime fiction in Scandinavia.
See my “About me” on my site.