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Ratings and Book Reviews (6 7 star ratings
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    The Tenant

    The Tenant by Katrine Engberg is an engrossing mystery. Ms Engberg's characters are interesting and the mystery keeps the reader guessing. I was given an early copy to review.
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    Creepy, twisty, and ominous!

    The Tenant is the start of a brand-new series by Engberg that sweeps you away to Copenhagen, Denmark where the prickly detective duo Kørner and Werner find themselves investigating a new complicated case involving a murder that seems to be plucked right off the pages of the landlord’s most recent manuscript, and a mutilated murder victim with a past full of secrets. The prose is cunning and intense. The characters are secretive, flawed, and realistic. And the plot is a fast-paced, gritty tale full of twists, turns, intrigue, deception, revenge, suspicious personalities, terror, and murder. Overall, The Tenant is a tight, sinister, intricate tale by Engberg that’s not only a wonderful debut but an encouraging kickoff to the Kørner/Werner series with its well-drawn, quirky characters and darkly creative storylines.
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    An entertaining read

    I received a free ARC electronic copy of this Danish Police Procedural from Netgalley, Katrine Engberg, and Gallery/Scout Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition and this review reflects my honest, personal opinion of this work. I am pleased to recommend this author to friends and family. Though this is a debut novel in this series, Engberg has a solid body of work behind her. This is the first of Engberg's works to be translated into English, and though at times the story is a little rough, it is an exciting example of what she can bring to the genre of Scandinavian Noir and why we need more! Copenhagen police investigators Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner have worked together for eight years, and though they respect each other and the vision they each bring to an investigation, they know one another well enough to get snippy on occasion. He is recently divorced, she is happily married, both are a little middle-aged fluffy. But they can usually get the job done quickly, and they are respected by their peers. Like most modern police forces, some of the perimeter jobs have gone to private shops. In Engberg's Copenhagen, for example, crime scene investigators are hired out to a private business. Not necessarily a bad thing, but they are not trained police officers and there is more of an opportunity for a breakdown in communication. The scene of this initial crime is a small building with four levels in a quiet area of Copenhagen, located at Klosterstraede 12. Recently retired professor Esther de Laurenti has lived in the top floor apartment her entire life. She was born there, and as a child, her parents ran a neighborhood pub on the ground floor. They have always rented out the two middle floors. Esther's two pug dogs keep her more healthy than perhaps she would like to be, with their walks along the riverfront morning and night, and now that she is retired, she is trying to write the novel she has always felt was in her and drinking a little too much wine. Occasionally her young friend Kristoffer Sigh Gravgaard drops by, like a homeless teenager, for a day or a week. Kristoffer is an enigmatic young man who works with costuming at the Danish Royal Theater, gives singing lessons, which is how he met and became friends with Esther and the other residents of Klosterstraede 12, and he loves to cook. When Esther has a party, which is more frequent now that she is retired, Kristoffer is her caterer and Kristoffer and Julie handle serving the guests. Just under Esther is twenty-year resident Gregers Hermansen. Gregers, long retired, is getting rocky on his feet and afraid the stairs are beginning to be more than he can handle but he can't stand the thought of moving. And he won't think about it, as long as he can still carry out his own trash... On the next level down are a couple of twenty-something ladies, Caroline Boutrup, a family friend whom Esther has known since she was born, has been established in that apartment for a year and a half. A more recent resident is her hometown friend and now roommate, Julie Stender, a sweet young lady who's parents are family friends of Caroline's parents. Basically all family-type neighbors. The ground floor is now a small cafe called Java Junkie, which works out nicely for all the residents who don't like to cook. And then Gregers trips over a bloody body while trying to carry out his trash, and has a stroke. Not a pretty picture for the staff of Java Junkie to find when they open the cafe in the morning... And with an evolving history of abusive teachers and young girls putting their babies up for adoption muddying up the clues, there is really no telling how this is going to work out. Or who will be the next victim...
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    A good start to a promising series

    The Tenant is Katrine Engberg's US debut Danish murder mystery/thriller. The story is based in Copenhagen, I absolutely love reading books based outside the US. Ms. Engberg does an excellent job of infusing all things Scandinavian into this novel. As the reader, you get to enjoy the richness of the Danish culture and landscape that Ms. Engberg delivers beautifully. Katrine Engberg writes a well thought out book with good dialogue. The story is told over seven days, and the narrative is shared between multiple characters. The two main characters, both detectives and partners, are Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner. I felt that Korner's character was thoroughly developed, and I felt a real connection with him. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that way about the Werner character, for me, she was not as well developed, and I wanted to know more about her and what made her tick. What I did like about these two characters and what made these two characters work; at times, they didn't seem to like each other but still did their job well, and this added a bit of conflict to the story. The Tenant starts off with the murder of a young woman, Julie Stender, who rents the downstairs apartment from her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who lives in the upstairs apartment. The premise for this book was a good one- fiction taking on real life. Esther, a retired university professor, is writing a murder mystery, and she has made her fictional murder victim Julie Stender. The perpetrator has mimicked the murder scene precisely as it was written in Esther's novel. The murder scene is told to the reader in the prologue and is described in such graphic detail that it gave me chills, and it gives you the sense you are standing there in the room when the body is discovered. This scene grabbed me from the very beginning. Later in the book, Ms. Engberg gives us a bit more of Danish culture, and I did find these little gems enjoyable. "It appears our perpetrator has carved us a little goekkebrev." "The pattern cut into the face resembled the traditional paper cuttings that Danish children make for Easter." However, towards the middle of the book, I felt that the story dragged a bit and took me longer than usual to finish. It was predictable, and there was only one twist that I didn't see coming. I just felt that the author was going in too many directions at once. I truly wanted to love this book; unfortunately, it was just an okay read for me. However, I will assume this is the first in a series of crime novels, and I did like the two main characters enough to read the next book in this series. ** Please note the quotes in my review are subject to change once the book is published** *** I kindly received this galley by way of NetGalley/publisher/author. I was not contacted, asked, or required to leave a review. I received no compensation, financial or otherwise. I have voluntarily read this book, and this review is my honest opinion. ***
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    Story line great idea, characters not so great.

    After having read some not so good police procedurals lately, I was hoping to find one that would blow me away. I really enjoyed the premise of an inspiring author’s, Esther, work in progress encouraging a killer to start on their spree. At first it’s not really apparent to anyone this is what is happening, but when that part of the story kicked in, it got more interesting. There were lots of suspects and red herrings, and although I knew certain people were playing parts in the murders, Engberg leaves some very easy to spot clues as to this, at first I was thinking it would go in a completely different direction. The way that the wrap up went was also pretty easy to see after about halfway through the book, but Engberg still had me guessing a bit and I didn’t see how all the pieces fit together until the conclusion. Because of that, The Tenant kept me turning the page because I wanted to find out the actual reason for the murders. But at the same time I felt it was a slow read because of the characters. I didn’t particularly enjoy the two Detectives, Korner and Werner. Korner was depressed for about the first half of the book, and that I can totally see with his situation and having to deal with the scum of the earth, but then he does a complete 360 and is a sex crazed man who starts to turn into a stalker. It was such a harsh difference and I didn’t feel as if it added anything to the story. If the women that he was obsessing over had turned out to be the killer I could have looked past it, but not the way it stands in the book. As for Det. Werner, she was just extremely passive aggressive and whiney. Neither are traits that I enjoy in a person, but definitely not in what should be one of the strong female leads in a book. And almost the entire detective team seemed to hate each other or were just angry people, which really doesn’t make for an enjoyable read. It is so hard to empathize with characters if they have no redeeming traits or if you don’t see yourself in them, and unfortunately that was the case with The Tenant. If I don’t care about most of the characters, it’s hard for me to care about a book.
7

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