The Serbian Dane by Leif Davidsen, one of Karen of Euro Crime's top reads of 2007, is a very tense thriller about a visit to Denmark by an Iranian author under threat of a fatwa. The story concerns the local journalist who is covering the story, the policeman in charge of the security arrangements, and the putative assassin. Chapters switch between the viewpoints of these three characters: we learn about their domestic lives, pasts, and emotions, all of which cause sympathies to alternate and lead to an almost-unbearable level of excitement. It is really very good indeed: a book that threatens to make you to miss your stop if reading it on the bus or train.
Here's what Karen wrote in her Euro Crime review: "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."
The Serbian Dane is one of six novels by Leif Davidsen, three of which have been translated into English, according to Wikipedia. One of these is his first novel, The Sardine Deception (1986), which must be one of my favourite titles ever. The book, translated by Tiina Nunnally and Steve Murray, was reviewed earlier this year by Norman (Uriah) at Crime Scraps, who wrote: "This fast paced political thriller is a very easy read, which is a tribute to the translation, and as well as a complex plot has interesting character studies. It has stood up amazingly well to the passage of time and is worth reading if you can find a copy."
The crime-fiction alphabet project is the brainchild of Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise.