Not published in English
Niels Oxen, the highest decorated soldier ever to serve in the Danish army, is now scraping a living in north-west Copenhagen. The traumatised war veteran collects bottles for deposit money and lives off the refuse from supermarkets.
In the hopes of vanquishing his inner demons, the former special forces soldier heads to Northern Jutland to set up camp in the forest and lead a simple life. But the dream turns into a nightmare.
After a nightly visit to a medieval castle on the edge of the forest, he becomes a suspect in the murder of the castle owner, a former ambassador and founder of an influential think-tank.
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service arrive conspicuously early and, before the veteran has time to act, he and unorthodox agent Margrethe Franck are involved in the investigation of a series of mysterious murder cases linked by a single puzzling element: hanged dogs.
HANGDOGS was published in Denmark in 2012 to outstanding reviews and 50,000 copies sold. (2016)
A milestone in Danish criminal fiction
In all likelihood, Denmark hasn't seen a thriller to match the pace of Jens Henrik Jensen's Hangdogs. It's apparent from the very first line. Awesome. And it goes on from start to finish.
Action-packed, only the phrase "compact suspense" fully covers the plot of Hangdogs. Yet it's something more, and that elevates it beyond its Danish genre-leading peers. Tremendously well-written.
One page in, and you just know you have a real page-turner – and a lasting first impression.
Hangdogs is a novel up there with the best. Reading Hangdogs, I couldn't help but think of Frederick Forsyth. And that's as big as they come in this genre. Hangdogs is a peerless Danish thriller.
Powerful opener in Jensen's third novel series
Jens Henrik Jensen's third novel series sets off with a bang, confronting the three powers of society whilst targeting the Achilles heel of Danish defence policy: veterans returning from war. All wrapped in an intense, dramatic plot which could easily be an authentic tale.
And it is this outstanding attention to authenticity in Jens Henrik Jensen's stories which prompts readers to remind themselves that it is, after all, just a story. He proved this with his recent thriller trilogy about Danish west-coast police officer Nina Portland, and with today's release of Hangdogs he cements it, having neither lost his bent for effective storytelling nor given in to continuing in the same vein.
Jensen has an uncanny knack of putting together a sound and plausible plot, and not once does he let go of the reins. Just when you think you've figured it all out, the plot twists and turns, maintaining momentum – even well into the story, where the main plot lines seem fairly established.
The bad guys win, the good guys bleed
Jensen's heroes and villains are easily recognisable in a world where the powerful save their hides and the men in the field lose life, limbs and honour. Archetypes may carry the intricate plot but, as a thriller, it's a furiously effective mix of fascination, technique and pace.
Liberating, unfeigned storytelling...
What do the readers say?
I have been waiting for some time now to get hold of this novel … And goddammit, it was worth waiting for. Rarely have I read such a sublime Danish thriller with such a pace, that one is left almost empty, when the last page is turned.
♦ Blondie, Saxo. com
Sure, it is a novel that matches "Men, who hate women". Absolutely fantastic.
♦ Lisbeth, writing to Jensens website