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The Night Ferry: A Konrad Simonsen Thriller


The Night Ferry: A Konrad Simonsen Thriller

The Konrad Simonsen series has been on my must-read list from the beginning. The inaugural volume, THE HANGING, demonstrated that the brother-sister team of Lotte and Søren Hammer had an uncanny ability to devise unusual and complex mysteries with perplexing homicides at their core. The “police” part of these extremely well-written police procedurals have been anchored by Simonsen, Copenhagen’s somewhat dour Detective Chief Superintendent, and a secondary cast that is most capable of stepping up and out on their own.

The fifth book, THE NIGHT FERRY, has just been released in the United States following its 2014 publication in the Hammers’ native Denmark --- and thus far is the best installment of the series published here.

"THE NIGHT FERRY is the Hammers’ most complex and challenging work to date, taking the usual cast --- and some other characters --- into unexpected places for unpredictable reasons."

Part of what makes it so memorable is the opening scenario, which introduces a harrowing series of murders, quickly and expertly performed, that result in an unintended and unexpected catastrophe. In the immediate aftermath, Simonsen and his team are left flummoxed as to who would do such a thing --- and why --- but when the victims are identified, it is discovered that among their numbers is one of the police force’s own. Another of the victims is a contact who may have had information regarding a cold case that the dead officer was obsessed with solving. It becomes clear to the team that the killings were an attempt to keep the original case from being solved, and that in order to avenge their colleague, they are going to have to solve both the new case with its multiple fatalities and the previous one.

There is a thin line connecting the two cases that some well-hidden adversaries are determined that Simonsen and his team will not find. Even with this obstruction, Simonsen is able to make a case, leading to charges being filed and a trial being held. However, the result is quite surprising in a couple of ways, and Simonsen is back at square one, having to prove a colleague’s innocence against improbable odds. Along the way, he acquires an enigmatic but powerful ally that he is not entirely sure he can trust, but must. The team soon finds itself far outside its comfort zone in a hostile environment, investigating a series of atrocities that have been all but forgotten, in the hopes of uncovering an ever-elusive truth and obtaining some justice for their colleagues, both living and dead.

THE NIGHT FERRY is the Hammers’ most complex and challenging work to date, taking the usual cast --- and some other characters --- into unexpected places for unpredictable reasons. It zigs and zags delightfully before ending in a satisfying place, and sets up a subplot or two that undoubtedly will play out in future installments. And if the book sounds intriguing but you don’t want to jump into the middle of a series, never fear. The Hammers do a terrific job of providing those who are new to Simonsen’s world with an explanation as to what has gone before.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not tip the fedora to Bloomsbury Publishing, which acknowledges translator Charlotte Barslund in a manner both befitting and long overdue.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 6, 2018

The Night Ferry: A Konrad Simonsen Thriller
by Lotte Hammer and Soren Hammer

  • Publication Date: July 3, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1635571626
  • ISBN-13: 9781635571622