[REVIEW] Down for the Count by Martin Holmén @PushkinPress

This book is a second in a trilogy called the Harry Kvist Trilogy and what attracted me to this book is that it has a bisexual main character. I usually see a lot of straight main characters in mystery/thriller genres so this is what immediately intrigued me and made me request it. I haven’t read the first one in the trilogy called Clinch but that didn’t ruin my experience with it and I appreciate that because I had some concerns. It’s safe to say that this book can be read as a standalone.

This noir trilogy is set in Stockholm in the 1930s and the second installment Down for the Count is set in 1935. It follows our protagonist Harry ‘Kvisten’ Kvist who has just gotten out of prison [he has spent a year and a half there] and is planning on starting a new life with the lover [Doughboy] he met during his prison stay. From the beginning the reader can already tell that Kvist is someone who can’t stay away from trouble and so this time he receives devastating news that his friend Beda was murdered by her deaf son called Petrus. He finds this hard to believe because Petrus wouldn’t do such a thing and he also made a promise to Beda to take care of Petrus when she’s gone. During his investigation he stumbles upon shocking discoveries: what he suspected was true and the police are covering up the crime but why? This is what Kvist has to find out. Will Kvist be able to avenge Beda’s death and find out the truth behind the cover-up?

I really didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I read this book fairly quickly – the first day I read 15% and the second day I finished it completely. There’s no doubt that this book is fast-paced and keeps you at the edge of your seat. I have to salute Martin Holmén because he made his main character bisexual and it’s not often that I see that in mystery/thriller genre! I loved seeing that! What wasn’t a very great thing for me is that he wasn’t treated very well. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t get into details but I wish Harry Kvist expressed his sexuality more. I haven’t read the first one so I might be wrong because this installment didn’t have much of that. The people who’ve read the book might get what I mean. I also found a few things which moved too fast for my taste. Overall this didn’t affect my experience of enjoying the book that much and I would definitely recommend reading it. I seriously couldn’t look away while reading because I had to know what would happen!

Again this book can be read as a standalone so there’s no worrying about that. It will definitely thrill you and make you want to read on and find out what happens at the very end. Will I be reading the third installment of this book? Hell yeah, I will!

If you’re looking for a historical mystery/thriller to read then look no further because this book is for you.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher (Pushkin Press) for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Born in 1974. Teaches History and Swedish at an upper secondary school in Stockholm. Author of the Harry Kvist thrillers, described as gritty, historical, queer noir fiction with a unique Swedish flavour. Available, or soon to come, in Australia, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The first installment Clinch was released in 2015. Out for the Count is due 2016 and the finishing part Slugger 2017. Contributor to the anthology of short stories Stockholm Noir.

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