Slugger: A Harry Kvist Thriller

Martin Holmén, trans. from the Swedish by A.A. Prime. Puskin Vertigo, $14.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-782272-19-9
Set in the summer of 1936, the solid if grim conclusion to Holmén’s Stockholm Trilogy (after Down for the Count) finds ex-boxer and struggling private detective Harry Kvist making a meager living beating people up as a heat wave smothers the city. Downtrodden yet defiant, Kvist hopes the young boxer he’s training can make it in the ring. He dreams of traveling to America to meet a daughter he hasn’t seen in years, the product of a rare heterosexual encounter. But first he wants to avenge his onetime lover, the priest Gabrielsson, found crucified with railroad spikes—which means dealing with rival gangs and corrupt cops, and dodging occasional hails of bullets. There’s a lot of talking and walking around the mean streets, where starving dogs hopelessly meander, but the narrative occasionally explodes with action: a riot between Communists and Nazis, a gory takedown for hire, another trouncing intended for the gangster Rickardsson that turns suddenly into a session of rough sex. Holmén has taken out a trademark on truly downbeat noir. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/18/2019
Release date: 07/02/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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