Author: Katine Engberg
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Released: January 14th, 2020
Warnings: Graphic details, stalking, mental health
I received a copy of The Tenant through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Tenant is the first novel in Katrine Engberg’s Korner/Werner series. Much of the series is out already, but this is the first one translated to English (that I know of). It’s a Scandinavian crime novel with undeniable flair and character development.
A body has turned up in Copenhagen. This isn’t the first murder the city has seen, but it is their most grisly case in recent times. Worse still is the mystery surrounding her potential killer – and their motive for doing so.
Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are perhaps the two most unlikely partners you’ll ever find. But they do their jobs well, especially in regards to solving the murder of a young local woman.
“Is it one of my girls? That can’t be right. No one dies in my building.”
Warnings: As with many a murder mystery, The Tenant covers a couple more graphic subjects. In this case, it’s mostly to do with the murder itself, which can get slightly graphic, both in description and implication. There are also mentions of stalking, mental health issues, underage relationships (past tense), and other things along those lines.
I’ll be honest with you here; I didn’t quite know what to expect when diving into The Tenant. I had never read a Scandinavian crime novel, and thus really had no foundation to base any expectations off of.
That being said, I really enjoyed The Tenant. Katrine Engberg did a delightful job of bringing us a unique set of characters and scenarios to read and enjoy. Honestly, the writing itself was exceptionally done – full of lush details and descriptions.
Speaking of, whoever they got to translate must be very talented. I never once would have guessed that The Tenant was translated, had I not known it going into it. In fact, it seemed like they not only carried over Engberg’s intent but much of the descriptive nature as well.
There was something very…human about the characters in Engberg’s story. Our lovely detectives, Jeppe and Anette, were flawed, but that made them all the more approachable. These were not perfect action heroes, and while that sometimes resulted in them getting into cringe-worthy situations, on the whole, I think it elevated the novel that much further.
As for the mystery itself? The description of this novel hints at it being another murder mystery based on a novel (written by one of the main characters, naturally). That sounds like a common trope, I know. But honestly? Engberg did something different here, and it was fun seeing the different course this change created. It wasn’t at all the trope I was expecting/fearing.
I’ll admit that there were some parts that were slightly predictable or otherwise cleaned up too nicely. But that was okay with me. Sometimes it’s nice to have a cozy mystery novel, right? And in this case, it did balance out the darker elements that Engberg wrote into her story.
I’m not sure if the rest of this series has been translated yet, but I’m sure that it will be in due time. I enjoyed Jeppe and Anette’s characters enough to make me eager to get my hands on the next one though! So I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.