The Shrew in Craców

Published: 1997 - Publisher: Politikens Forlag - Pages: 340

Not published in English

When called back to duty after a forced sick leave, CIA agent Jan Jordi Kazanski finds himself in the middle of a deadly game. An old Polish contact from the Cold War days asks the CIA for their help on a big case. In return, the source, only known by the name of The Shrew, has offered information about the murder of a highly placed Russian agent in Moscow. 

In Craków, Kazanski meets a young Danish businesswoman, Xenia Pizlo Larsen. They are attracted to each other, they expose each other and end up following the same track.

The Shrew turns out to be a legend in Craków's criminal world and Kazanski is not the only one looking for her. However, the problem is that seemingly The Shrew has no wish to be found. Moreover, American agents, as well as the Russian Mafia, wish to see Kazanski dead.

“The Shrew in Craców” is the first novel featuring CIA agent Jan Jordi Kazanski. It became Jens Henrik Jensens breakthrough as a thriller writer in 1997.


Jensen Graduates with Brilliant Thriller

Jens Henrik Jensen has certainly improved himself since his first novel “The Wiener Ring” was released six months ago. Where “The Wiener Ring” bore the marks of someone still learning his trade, “The Shrew in Kraków” is a brilliant piece of work by someone who has learned. 

Had the author’s name not been the most Danish of names, this might as well have been a perfect translation of a book by one of the famous international authors from this popular genre. 

The story, which takes place a few years into the future in 1999/2000, is tightly composed, full of surprises and atmosphere. It is very relevant to the current situation in Eastern Europe and is told with vigor and sober overview. Thrillers do not get much better than this.

A very competent Danish thriller

The fall of the Berlin Wall and Eastern Europe in general has given coming generations of thriller writers plenty of material for their books. In a very convincing manner, “The Shrew in Kraków” shows that Jens Henrik Jensen is planning on taking a central place among the Danish writers, who are not afraid of this difficult and demanding genre. 

One of the many strengths of “The Shrew in Kraków” is the very accurate, detailed and insightful description of the historical royal city of Kraków, where the main part of the novel takes place. Jens Henrik Jensen describes a very beautiful city, which in many ways, contrasts with the Europe and the people he describes as cynical, selfish, hostile and often criminal. Furthermore, he succeeds in describing the character flaws and the psychological nightmare that Jan Jordi Kazanski is carrying around.

With an interesting plot, an alarming perspective and a believable character gallery that evolves and changes in line with the story, it is a very competent Danish thriller with international perspectives.

How it boils

You literally feel the atmosphere of Kraków, one of Europe’s oldest cities, creating an appetizing setting for this hard-boiled thriller… And how it boils. It is an exhilarating ride with Russian gangsters, villainous agents and shade Poles, some love and glimpses of a changing society. It is good, old-fashioned suspense from page one and onwards.

What do the readers say?

"The Shrew in Craców" is an exiting Danish thriller, fully matching the American bestsellers, but it has it's own unique Danish charm in the self-irony.
♦ Xalle on

Jens Henrik Jensen's Kazanski Trilogy is quite simple a smashing serie of thrillers with hours and hours og entertainment. Furthermore the trilogy gives you a good understanding of the Easteuropean situation.
♦ Jørgen Vejlby, reader forum

What do you think?