The Tenant by Katrine Engberg #bookreview

They share a house.
And all its secrets . . .

When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her own apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case.

They quickly establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her complex landlady, Esther. Esther is a budding novelist – and when Julie features as a murder victim in the still-unfinished mystery she’s writing, the link between fiction and real life grows more urgent.

But is Esther guilty or merely another victim in a far more dangerous game of vengeance? Anette and Jeppe must dig more deeply into the two women’s pasts to discover the secret that links them both . . 

My thoughts on The Tenant…

On the surface, The Tenant has everything I want in a book: murder, mystery, secrets that need to be revealed. For all that, though, something was missing. The story was just too slow. There weren’t enough twists and turns and it took too long to get from the ‘big reveal’ to the end.

I also struggled to connect to the main characters. Jeppe has many of the characteristics you find in other police procedurals – he’s dour, coming off a failed relationship, drinks too much, and acts impulsively. Yet, where as these things often make me feel for a character, and even root for them, here, they just annoyed me because there weren’t any redeeming qualities to off-set his negative ones. He didn’t seem particularly supportive of his team, didn’t seem particularly intuitive in his thinking, and didn’t seem willing to put his life on the line to solve the case.

I am not sure how much of this can be blamed on the story, and how much falls at the door of the translation. This was clunky in places, which made reading heavy going. I found myself re-reading sentences in places to try and understand what was being said. While in others I drifted because of how wordy the sentences were. I have a huge amount of respect for translators, I think it is an art to get a story written in another language across in a way that keeps the reader engage. I just think here it fell short.

It is a shame, as it does sound like it should have been a good read. Still, you can’t win them all…onward to the next murder 😉

Emma x

Please note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings, and opinions are my own.

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