Book Review: Death Sentence by Mikkel Birkegaard

Taken from Amazon – ‘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 Føns 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.’



This is an incredibly hard book to review and I have been sat at my computer wondering what I want to say and how I can truly convey what I am thinking right now.

You know the phrase ‘It does exactly what it says on the Tin (Blurb)’? Well this book doesn’t and by that I don’t mean that it doesn’t have a serial killer…It does. I don’t mean that there aren’t some truly grisly tales of murder, torture and death….there are! What I mean is that the story layout and it’s main stance on this type of genre is totally different to what I expected and I am still unsure whether or not I liked it.

Now I do admit,  I absolutely devoured the book at a rate like I had never experienced a crime book before. I found that I was totally involved in all the emotions that Frank felt and all the experiences and problems that he put himself in, so whilst I felt hatred and repulsion for the man, at other times I kind of empathised with him, and for that I would like to applaud Birkegaard.

Similar to other books I have read lately, including another Black Swan Book; Crippen, this had two narratives. One where you saw the life of Frank; From the beginning of his love of reading and writing, to falling in love and being a dad, to finding the demons that fame, fortune and power can bring and how those demons can change you and bring down the life that you once had. I found this story line good, the characters were well executed and all were rather memorable.

The second narrative of the book was the story line that you expected after reading the blurb. Frank who now lives alone gets a telephone call to say that a murder has been committed and that it looks like something out of one of his books. Frank goes to investigate and soon becomes aware that the murder is closer to home than what he first thought and this then starts what becomes a race against time for Frank to find the killer…

This part of the book though, let it down for me. I have read other reviews that said that this book was incredibly gory and was just too much and I hadn’t found this to be true until the last 20 pages. I have read quite a lot of crime novels and it is those pages that will forever be etched in my mind. Now maybe I have a high tolerance to scenes that were described in the book as it didn’t put me off at all but what did was the way I felt the author rushed through the latter part of it. I felt that many loose ends were not dealt with and the last 50 pages were maybe just written as a way to finish the book quickly. The ending, to me, was an utter disappointment and I do wish that I could explain why I thought this way but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for other book readers out there as they would need to make their own judgement on this. So I will just say, from my point of view, it felt like a major let down. I can understand why the ending was the way it was, but for me as a crime reader, I read crime for a reason, and the ending was an utter anti-climax!

If I was asked if I would read another book by the author then, Yes.. I think I would, but do I think that he is as good as other Scandinavian authors like other reviews state, well no unfortunately not. Some do compare him to Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), but I, personally, can see no clear similarities between the two so if I was to try and find a comparison with another author then I would probably go for someone like Camilla Lackberg. (The Ice Princess) 

Drop me a comment if you have also read this as I would really love to hear from other people what their views are on the final few chapters.. (also leave a link so I can take a look at yours)

Three out of five stars

three out of five stars


Link to More Book Reviews: Hitler’s Last Day – Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie



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xx Family Of The Day xx

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