cover image Down for the Count: A Harry Kvist Thriller

Down for the Count: A Harry Kvist Thriller

Martin Holmén, trans. from the Swedish by Henning Koch. Pushkin Vertigo, $14.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-782272-18-2

Set in Stockholm in the winter of 1935, Holmén’s relentless second noir featuring boxer Harry Kvist (after Clinch) opens with Kvist’s release from prison, where he has served six months for intimidation and a “serious assault involving an alcoholic-beverages delivery man and his son.” Kvist’s plans to make some money by getting back in the ring are sidetracked when he learns that kindly Beda Johansson, who used to do his laundry, was murdered during his prison stint. The authorities have confined Beda’s adult son, Petrus, to a lunatic asylum after he allegedly beat his mother to death in her bed with a stone. Kvist later finds a letter from the dead woman in the pile of mail awaiting him; ironically, Beda asks Kvist to look after Petrus, who’s disabled and might be taken advantage of. Angered by the lack of any genuine police investigation, Kvist sets out to prove his hunch that Petrus is innocent. Fans of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer will cheer Kvist along his bloody path to the truth, though the gruesome violence may be too much for some readers. (Aug.)