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The Hanging: A Thriller Hardcover – June 11, 2013

3.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Two young children arrive at school early and discover five nude male bodies hanging in the gymnasium. Homicide Detective Konrad Simonsen and his team know instantly that the mutilated corpses will be difficult to identify. So begins what appears to be a Danish procedural, but the Hammers, a brother-and-sister writing team, have more in mind. The murderers are introduced in surreal, nightmarish passages that suggest they are victims of child sexual abuse. As police painstakingly identify the corpses, the murderers launch a media campaign that goes viral, assailing Denmark for its laxity toward pedophiles—like the murdered men. Worldwide reaction to the campaign unnerves the government, and pressure increases on the already overwhelmed Simonsen. The Hanging offers insights into Danish policing and the country’s sociocultural foment. It is also filled with quirky characters whose quirks are meticulously described but not always germane to the plot. But the Hammers have struck a chord with European readers, and The Hanging is seen as Denmark’s answer to successful Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic crime fiction. U.S. crime lovers will likely want to stick a pin in Denmark on their crime-fiction maps. --Thomas Gaughan


“Enthralling, pacey, and intricately plotted, The Hanging kept me on the edge of my seat and illuminated a dark corner of Danish society.” ―Denise Hamilton, Edgar finalist, nationally bestselling author and editor of Los Angeles Noir

“Spectacular . . . An outstanding writing achievement.” ―Vejle Amts Folkeblad

“One of the most ambitious Danish crime novels in ages.” ―Kristeligt Dagblad

“An extremely well-designed crime debut.” ―Jyllands-Posten

“Thought-provoking and a really good read.” ―Helsingor Dagblad

“An unfailing and genuine crime debut.” ―Politiken


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312656645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312656645
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting premise for this Danish police procedural. Two school children find five male mutilated corpses hanging in the school gymnasium on the first day of school after vacation. The book considers the aspect of vigilante justice for heinous crimes. The investigation is spearheaded by DI Konrad Simonsen of the Copenhagen police.

I found that this was a difficult book to read. The characters felt flat, wooden and they were hard to feel invested in. The story didn't flow and I felt that it was due in part to the translation, the delivery felt stilted.

So while the idea behind the story was excellent the execution of it fell somewhat flat. Not a keeper for me.
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Format: Hardcover
When the gruesome deaths of five men are discovered by a very young student in Denmark, Detective Inspector Konrad Simonsen and his investigative team encounter unusual difficulties. First, the victims are mutilated so badly that identification is initially impossible. Next - and most critically - all the crime's persons of interest deliberately hamper progress by forming a protective circle around the witnesses and suspects.

The Hanging is written from both the investigators' and the perpetrators' perspectives. But this third person writing identifies the perps very early on, including their actions and interactions with each other; the only trick card hold-out is played too long to remain interesting. Worse, the mystery of their motive is too quickly revealed, and every shred of suspense is subject to the same quick death as the victims.

Every character is flat and devoid of interest, save for a few superficially - and disappointingly - nicknamed people such as "The Countess" and "Russian Sally". In fact, "The Countess" appears nearly as often as Simonsen's name, and to very little effect other than becoming annoying. (Her real name is used only two or three times.) Simonsen himself is not a remarkable sleuth and seems to have an inert inner life. Even when he is indirectly threatened, he is easily talked out of further concern and the threat dissolves into nothingness. When Simonsen brings in a psychic, this potentially interesting aspect is entirely without context. It would have given the DI more flesh had his own past experience been better described, or even existent. His team similarly has little past history, despite two inexplicable cases of love interest.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Normally when I get to the stage of actually finishing up a review and publishing it, I've had a good long think, a work
through the notes I take as I read, and have formed an opinion that I'm confident I can support. I therefore cannot, for the life of me work out, why THE HANGING still has me unsure.

A confrontational plot, THE HANGING starts out with a death scene that's particularly uncomfortable. The possible reason for the death of five men, left hanging in a school gym, comes much later, with the likely motive a long time before a possible perpetrator. Of course, identifying the victims was obviously going to be a problem as there is a level of disfiguring of the bodies which clearly flags the initial problems the investigation will have. The second major problem, the reaction to the deaths of the public, and even some sectors of the authorities, takes a while longer to reveal itself, but it definitely creates issues for the investigation team.

The team itself, headed by Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen develops as an unusual combination of colleague, competitor, boss, subordinate, friends, lovers, possible lovers, enemies and all levels in between. This is a very difficult group to get a handle on, not just because Simonsen is taciturn, flat, dark and quite distant for a fair part of the novel. Even allowing for a mid novel decision that perhaps there's a dry, desiccated sense of humour going on here, this is still a difficult bunch to get to know. Which doesn't help with connection with the storyline.

Because of the motive behind the murders, the terrible and dark secret that the victims have in common, there's a lot about the plot that not serviced well by a narrative that plods and moves forwards in erratic leaps and bounds.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this brother and sister team's second book, "The Girl in the Ice" first. It is far superior to "The Hanging" in every way. Better plot. Writing is not as clumsy. Better character development. That doesn't mean "The Hanging" is a poor read. It is a very interesting first attempt and put Denmark on the map for popularity in the Scandinavian dark mystery sector.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Danish authors Sorren and Lotte Hammer are brother and sister and they have produced their very first thriller that has hit international fame and is spreading. The story begins with the discovery of five men whose hanging bodies were found in a school gym. All of them had dealings with child sexual abuse over many years. It was fascinating to see how the authors came together to tell this thrilling story. I can't wait to read their next book in English. Hooray for finding an awesome team of writers!
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