Axel Steen #2 by Jesper Stein
Published on: January 16, 2020
Die for Me is the second book in the Axel Steen series set in Copenhagen and featuring a flawed main character. Dark and gritty and perfect for fans who are looking a new Nordic noir crime book to read.
A depraved stalker.
An unsolved murder.
A cop who will stop at nothing to catch the killer.
A brutal stalker is preying on women in Copenhagen.
DI Axel Steen begins an obsessive manhunt that sends him spiralling out of control.
The investigation is fraught with heart-stopping near-misses, dark mysteries, and a final revelation with devastating consequences.
A raw psychological thriller from a master of crime storytelling.
In June 2004, a missing young girl is found in the water at Orsted Park. However, this one murder remains unsolved leaving DCI Axel Steen with ruined work and personal relationships that will continue to haunt him for years to come. Later, after the case is considered cold and where there have been no leads to follow up on in quite some time, a single DNA match is discovered on a sexual assault victim that matches one found on the young girl’s cap. To investigate the DNA sample, Axel will need to work with some of the individuals whose relationship he previously damaged leading them to discover several assault victims and a serial-rapist.
Because of the topic of rape and serial-rapists, some may find this book a little difficult at times. During the course of the investigations we see how the police department both competently and incompetently handle these cases – through prejudice or for other reasons, we watch Axel and other police officers listen to and ask questions of the victim’s accounts. We also see how the police take statements into account and investigate or don’t investigate.
Axel is a flawed character – a really flawed character – while he is a very competent police detective he also has a drug issue, a relationship with his ex-wife that still leaves him very torn, and is a workaholic. To be honest, I went back and forth deciding if I liked him or not. He would be a decent detective one minute and then in the next chapter he’d be an abrasive jerk to his co-worker. Sometimes it was a bit much and to say he’s got some issues is putting it lightly, plus his ex-wife’s boyfriend becomes his boss at the beginning of the book, which adds to the drama of his life. But, I suspect that if this one character is creating a lot of different emotions from me then that means that the author did a nice job of creating a well fleshed-out character.
Overall, a nice police procedural that is dark and gritty, but one where you also get a chance to take a reader’s tour of Copenhagen and learn of new places such as Israels Plads and Norrebro Park just to name a few and where both of which had me going to the Internet for pictures and details.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and Mirror Books for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.