Davidsen, Leif - 'The Serbian Dane' (translated by Barbara J Haveland)
When Iranian author, Sara Santanda, decides to come out of hiding from the death sentence issued against her by her country, she sets in motion a chain of events that will radically alter the lives of the three main characters in the book.
Living in London, Santanda has chosen to appear in Copenhagen and to give an exclusive interview to the newspaper Politiken. Her contact there is Lise Carlsen. Though the Government is reluctant to meet Santanda for fear of losing economic relations with Iran, they offer her complete security protection and the man in charge of this is Per Toftlund. The third lead role is the 'Serbian Dane'; Vuk, a Serbian who was brought up in Denmark and even looks Danish, is hired by the Iranians to assassinate Santanda. Vuk has been fighting for his birth country and has killed many people but is at first loathe to kill for money, however the money would allow him and his girlfriend to escape from his current life.
Lise's marriage is already deteriorating before she meets the attractive Per and her absences, both business and personal, allow a stranger to befriend her husband, a meeting which ultimately leads to an explosive and lethal finish.
First published in Danish in 1996, THE SERBIAN DANE feels incredibly fresh and contemporary. Davidsen brings to life Copenhagen the place, the people who live there and the political scene. Vuk is a cold-blooded killer but has moments of vulnerability at night when he's unable to sleep. You don't want him to succeed but it's fascinating to watch how he plans his job and the lengths he goes to. THE SERBIAN DANE is a cracking thriller, which I was hooked by.
The excellent translator, Barbara J Haveland, has also translated the Jonas Wergeland trilogy by Jan Kjaerstad for Arcadia.
Karen Meek, England