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When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her own apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. In short order, they establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who’s a bit too fond of drink and the host of raucous dinner parties with her artist friends. Esther also turns out to be a budding novelist—and when Julie turns up as a murder victim in the still-unfinished mystery she’s writing, the link between fiction and real life grows both more urgent and more dangerous.

But Esther’s role in this twisted scenario is not quite as clear as it first seems. Is she the culprit—or just another victim, trapped in a twisted game of vengeance? Anette and Jeppe must dig more deeply into the two women’s pasts to discover the identity of the brutal puppet-master pulling the strings in this electrifying literary thriller.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published February 26, 2016

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About the author

Katrine Engberg

14 books938 followers
Katrine Engberg is a Danish crime fiction author and former choreographer, dancer, stage director and actor.
Her debut novel was the novel “Crocodile Guardian” otherwise known as “The Tenant” that she first published in 2016 to widespread popularity. The book became a massive hit among reviewers and readers and got several nominations for a range of prestigious awards. She followed it up with “Blood Moon” an excellent crime novel that the Copenhagen newspaper wrote that crime queens should be shaking in their boots at the upstart soon taking their place. The novel would earn her an author of the year nomination. She would then write her third novel in the series titled “Glasvinge,” which was also a huge success just like her previous two works. The third novel got a MARTHA award nomination in 2018 and 2019.
Katrine Engberg was brought up in Østerbro and still lives in the town with her husband and their child.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,055 reviews
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,031 reviews2,555 followers
January 11, 2023
I'm growing very fond of Nordic noir and can add The Tenant to the list of such books that I've read in the last year or so. Now that I've read it, I wish I could read the next three books in this series but from what I can tell, they haven't been translated into English so I won't be able to follow detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner further along in their careers. We don't really get to know Anette very well but we get to be in Jeppe's head, as the lead detective on a murder case, just six months after his nervous breakdown. 

Jeppe's wife had served him with divorce papers and moved on with someone else while Jeppe is still reeling from the breakup and has now come back from a medical leave, due to his breakdown. When there is a grisly murder of a young woman, in an apartment building, Jeppe's superintendent takes a leap of faith and names him the lead detective on the team. Even Jeppe knows he can be too sensitive, too soft, but he wants the job and to prove he's over his breakdown. Plus he has his partner, Anette, to back him up. 

There are a lot of suspicious people who could have killed the young woman and her landlady, Esther, an elderly budding novelist, has even written a manuscript about a young lady, murdered in an apartment building, in the exact grisly way this woman was murdered. Ester wrote her story weeks before the girl was murdered and has no idea how anyone would know what she has written. Soon there is another murder and all sorts of interconnecting links that make little sense. The murderer is still out there and Jeppe feels responsible for keeping Ester safe from whoever used her writing to plot the woman's murder. 

The violence in this story is gruesome, the pace is very slow, even though the story takes place over just a few days. We spend time in Jeppe's head and there is humor in his thoughts, despite his broody and gloomy demeanor. His partner can barely tolerate him at times and he can barely tolerate her and they resemble an old married couple more often than not. The plot is twisted and tangled and just when I and the detectives had thought we had the murderer, something would happen to throw us off the trail. I know not everyone liked this book as much as I did, but this is the kind of story I like to get lost in and I'm sad that the series ends here for me. 

Pub January 14, 2020

Thank you to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,063 reviews38k followers
January 23, 2021
Ring ring prrrrr…

CS representative- Hi, this is books starring limbo center 54321, what is your emergency?

Nilufer-Hi there, I had a promising Danish thriller in my hands.

CS representative- You mean Danish Kringle? Do you want its recipe?

Nilufer- No thanks, me in the kitchen cooking Danish Kringle should be real thriller plot which ends with tragic fire, stomach pumping and big cries. I’m talking about something less thrilling!

CS representative- When you tell me thrilling Danish did you mean Mads Mikkelsen? He was so terrifying at Hannibal, wasn’t he?

Nilufer- Nope. I’m talking about Katherine Engberg’s Tenant book. It starts with a brutal murder of a woman named Julie. And Esther the owner of the building, also her neighbor, writing a crime novel and describes the very same murder scene at her own story. She wrote it one month ago!

CS representative- OMG she is clairvoyant, isn’t she?

Nilufer- No, she could be murderer. She could have a crush on Kristoffer and she already gave him her apartment key but Kristoffer dated with Julie. And Julie finally said: “Let’s stay friends”

CS representative- Wow! Crime of passion! Hmmm…

Nilufer- Are you eating popcorn?

CS representative- With chocolate chip cookie and ginger ale to cure my stomach! Sorry! I eat so much when I get stressed. This story is spooky! Please continue…

Nilufer- And there are two detectives investigating the crime, acting like grumpy old married couples.

CS representative- Wow! Office romance? This made me hungrier. I’m ordering pizza.

Nilufer- Not exactly. Anette is already happily married but Jeppe is definitely a train wreck after his compelling divorce. But I loved their compatibility. Their differences help them look from opposite sides and discover different facts about the case. They fit so well as colleagues.

CS representative- I sensed their relationship won’t work even the opposite attract ended up with hot, steamy sex. I’m talking about experience. It seems like you loved this book. It’s not a limbo book. You already made your decision.

Nilufer- No I am not! There are too much POVs which is so confusing and I don’t actually like more than 3 POVs for thriller books. It affects its pace and makes you lose concentrate on the story. And I think the book lost its essence in translation. And when it comes to whodunit parts…

CS representative- It’s obvious right. Butler did it. I knew it!

Nilufer- Nope, and stop eating when you’re talking. I barely catch your words. Actually there are too many murderer candidates starting from Eshter, ex-relationships of Julie and don’t forget Julie’s father has involved some shady business. This book is spider sense killer. I couldn’t find out who did it! The author fooled me so bad!

CS representative- So you want to punish her by giving two stars?

Nilufer- No way! I enjoyed the writing, suspense building, heart throbbing pacing! But several POVed approach and some expression and nuance differences were confusing enough to distract my focus. So I’m going back and forth between three and four!

CS representative- Do you want to read another adventure of detectives?

Nilufer- Sure, I love to…

CS representative-Do you like the conclusion of the story?

Nilufer- Oh yes, it was deliciously surprising! Not as delicious of your meat pizza I can smell from

CS representative- So you have your answer!

Nilufer- Should I order from the same Italian place you did?

CS representative- No smartass! I’m talking about your rewarding method!

Nilufer- Oh okay, let’s round up 3.5 to 4! Add this author’s name to my new favorite thriller authors list! Thank you so much for your assistance!

CS representative- No problem. Listen to your heart’s voice when it comes to books. It never tells you lies.

Another good reading, next?
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
770 reviews12.1k followers
December 29, 2019
The Tenant is a Scandinavian mystery about a murder that mirrors the events of an unpublished manuscript.

The narrative is split between multiple characters. The main points of view are told from the perspectives of the mystery writer and the main police detective.

I love the premise of The Tenant, so much so that I bumped up my review one star because there are some original and interesting elements of the mystery that I appreciated. However, the execution was lacking.

I struggled with the writing--I don’t know if it was the translation or if because I recently read a similar mystery with too many shared components, that I found this book boring. I found the pacing uneven, the characters flat, and the narrative lacking. I love this genre and had high expectations going in, but unfortunately, this book was a bit of a struggle for me. The Tenant isn't bad, it just never hooked me.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
December 10, 2019
Katrine Engberg’s debut Scandinavian noir thriller, The Tenant is a gritty crime mystery with a riveting plot that is intricately constructed. Katrine bases her story in Copenhagen and crafts a Nordic atmosphere that is uniquely styled and vividly portrays the location in all its sweeping facets.

Julie Stender is a young woman found brutally murdered in her apartment, with multiple stab wounds and a pattern carved into her face. There is no theft or sexual assault so the crime screams out revenge, but revenge for what? Detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case and form a partnership that is unusual, both as individual characters and in their relationship. There is something a bit moody about Korner and Werner and it is refreshing to see that they don’t always agree and can irritate each other.
“He thought Anette was a bit of a bulldozer; she called him sensitive and a wimp. On good days they harped on each other knowingly like an old married couple. On bad days, he just wanted to throw her into the sea.”
Jeppe is recently divorced and is having real difficulty coming to terms with his new single life. He is a frustrating character, while well-intentioned he often seems unsure of himself, irresolute and unfocused. With regards Anette we find out very little about her personality and background, in this novel. Together this gives me a big issue with the book, but for the upcoming series, I can imagine it will improve.

The investigation explores Julie’s family, friends, colleagues, other tenants, previous boyfriends and the landlord. The resident landlord of their apartment building is a lady called Esther de Laurenti. She is an intriguing character, well developed and maintained with suspicion as most of the story orbits her. Is she the murderer, the target or just another player in the game? As an author, she is writing a thriller, which she shares privately with other writers in her online group. The terrifying and damning magnitude of this is that the murders follow scenes described in Esther’s book, and the writers' group must all be assumed, potential murderers.

As the investigation progresses, new suspects are revealed without upsetting the wonderful balance between all possibilities, which leaves you completely guessing right throughout the book. At a point, you feel you have all the pieces of the puzzle but you still can’t see the overall picture and can’t piece it together. The mystery and surprises are sustained right to the end.

As the characters develop over the series, I can see how this is going to be a stellar addition to the many great crime thriller collections out there. I love the atmosphere of Nordic thrillers and I believe Katrine Engberg is set to translate well to US and UK markets. I recommend reading this book and I would like to thank Gallery Books, Scout Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Beata.
697 reviews1,056 followers
March 20, 2020
Quite disappointing for me ... I finished it like two weeks ago, and if you asked me what I remember, I'd reply that not that much. A young woman is brutally murdered and the investigation by two Danish detectives begins. The motif behind the murder is interesting, however, getting to the heart of the mystery was not exciting. No thrill, no tension, nothing ...I just wanted to finish this book and return it to the OverDrive. I hope it will be a winner for other readers.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,853 reviews1,366 followers
August 12, 2020
When a young woman is murdered in an apartment building in Copenhagen owned by Esther de Laurenti, Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner are sent to investigate. The murder is especially brutal and the victim, identified as Julie Stende, has a paper cut pattern carved on her face. What unfolds takes the duo and the rest of the team on a very strange journey of discovery.

Well, if your literary taste runs to dramatically theatrical ‘Performance Death’ then this one is for you! I love Nordic Noir (though more precisely Dansk Sort!) and this is no exception. It’s very well written, the plot deepens and becomes weirder and weirder and so is never dull! Jeppe and Anette have an interesting semi combative relationship which is entertaining. Much of the storytelling is from Jeppe’s point of view and he is struggling following a messy divorce which left him mentally floored but he meets a ‘means of recovery’ during the investigation. We get a lot of his thoughts and being inside his head is an intriguing experience! Although Jeppe is initially very down, there are moments of wry humour which is a welcome relief and is interjected perfectly. There’s some fabulously dark imagery as the murderous mayhem continues, some rich descriptions and shall we say some very creative deaths in this twisty investigation which slowly builds to a satisfying conclusion. I think the novel would make a brilliant film or tv mini series. I love the starry images at the end.

Overall, a really enjoyable, drama and entertainingly twisty read and I look forward to reading more about this interesting investigative team.

With thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC.
Profile Image for Lori.
353 reviews417 followers
January 5, 2020
I was disappointed in this. Katrine Engberg writes very well and the prose flows perfectly, so I'm assuming the translation is very good. The weakness is the plot; I didn't like the mystery. Opening up with a young torture/murder victim who has had deep decorative lines carved into her face while she was still alive promises great Scandy noir stuff ahead. But it didn't play out that way. Without spoiling anything, the story is all over the place and the book lacks suspense. I want to be glued to a mystery; it took me a while to read this. I wanted Scandi darkness, more cohesion and clarity, better characters and higher stakes.

The best part of the book for me is the main character, lead detective Jeppe Korner, who is very well written. Unlike the ones involved in the mystery, he's two-dimensional. His partner, Annette Werner, doesn't get the focus Jeppe does, but she's well done too. As a team that may or may not like one another and doesn't always get along, they have a great dynamic. I also enjoyed the Danish settings. I've never read a book set in Denmark before and Engberg provides background on landmarks, streets and neighborhoods in Copenhagen and beyond as the story moves around and she does it organically, without ever slowing the flow.

So while I didn't like the story and I did enjoy the setting, it's Jeppe and Annette (or Korner and Werner, which rhymes in Danish) who will have me grabbing book two in the series. I hope Engberg gives them a more exciting case to work and gives readers a mystery that's a page-turner with a big payoff.
Profile Image for Kendall.
625 reviews623 followers
December 30, 2019
The premise of the Tenant had me hooked!!

But, unfortunately I struggled so much with this book. I struggled with the writing.. and am not sure if it was translation issues but I found the book to be extremely boring. I found the pacing slow, characters flat, and the mystery lacking. I had high expectations for this one and had high hopes but it just was lacking so much for me.

I think there are wayyyy to many mystery/police procedural thrillers out there that are so similar but change character names.

Overall, wouldn't recommend unfortunately.

2 stars.

Thank you so much to Gallery and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Publication: 1/14/20
Published to GR: 12/29/19
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,684 reviews14k followers
May 4, 2020
3.5 Engbergs US debut and a good start to a new Nordic series. Although not quite as dark and atmospheric as the usual Nordic offerings, anytime there is a murder, a certain amount of darkness follows. A murder that follows a fictional story being written by the woman who owns the building where her tenant is murdered. Jeppe and Annette are the two main investigators and their relationship is not a lovely, dovey one, but more like a long, married couple, bickering and all. Jeppe is recovering from a personal sorrow that affects his attitude and his libido. I could have done with a little less discussion on that subject.

A slower pace police procedural, but I enjoyed the depth of the storyline. Revelations are perfectly timed, changing the plot in carefully chosen moments. A well done, meticulously plotted offering. Will be waiting for the next.

ArC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Sujoya .
326 reviews594 followers
March 30, 2022
My Rating: 3.5/5

A young woman, Julie Stender, is brutally murdered in her apartment in downtown Copenhagen with her face mutilated and all signs pointing to the fact that she probably knew her murderer. Police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. In the course of their investigation, they interview Julie’s landlady Esther de Laurenti, who is in the middle of is writing a novel with the main character based on Julie, who seems to have shared some significant details of her life with Esther. What is shocking is the fact that the details of Julie’s murder are uncannily similar to events described in Esther’s manuscript- a manuscript shared with only a few others in a private writers’ group. With Esther ruled out as a suspect, it is up to the detectives to take a deep dive into Julie’s life – her dysfunctional family, her roommate and current friends, and her complicated love life, past and present, complete with a mysterious boyfriend whose identity is yet unknown as well as the members in Esther’s writing group to find any possible connections. Subsequently, when another person close to both Esther and Julie is murdered, Esther begins to fear for her own life, Korner and Werner must race to find the murderer before someone else turns up dead.

To be fair, even though The Tenant by Katrine Engberg is not exactly the gritty Nordic noir I expected it to be, it is an interesting procedural crime thriller with two lead detectives out to solve a gruesome murder. This is a slow-paced novel that does require a bit of patience. I did enjoy the twists and red herrings and was not able to predict the identity of the perpetrator which was a plus for me. I am a fan of police procedurals in general and enjoyed the dynamic between the lead detectives who work well together with their fair share of good-natured bickering in-between. We don’t get to know much about Anette Werner outside her professional life unlike Jeppe Korner and his struggle with prescription pain medication and his navigating his newly divorced single status being described with so much detail (maybe a bit too much?). I felt that the details of his personal life were of no consequence to the plot and found my interest wavering in those segments.

I had to alternate between reading and listening to the audio on account of my watery eyes and flu-addled brain being unable to focus on reading for too long. The audio narration by Graeme Malcolm was quite engaging. I feel the audio experience was more satisfying than reading the book.

Overall, I was drawn to the premise of this novel and though the execution wasn’t quite as impressive, I'm not ready to give up on the series altogether and fully intend to read the remaining books.

Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,050 reviews30k followers
April 8, 2020
Julie Stender is murdered in her own apartment, and the detectives find a link between Julie and her eccentric landlady, Esther, who also happens to be a murder mystery author. You see, Esther has penned a novel with Julie as a murdered character, and eek! But you know it can’t be that simple, right? Is Esther a victim, too? Is there someone else coordinating all of this behind the scenes?

I thought the ending was surprising and satisfying, too. I was super excited to learn detectives Jeppe and Anette will be back because this is the start of a shiny new series! Overall, give The Tenant a read, especially if you are a fan of dark, twisty Nordic thrillers!

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,225 reviews2,932 followers
November 27, 2019
3.5 stars

This is the first book in a Nordic police detective series and I liked this one enough that I'm looking forward to reading more of these books in the future. There was a pretty solid mystery in this one although it got a bit messy and complicated towards the end. I feel like I got a bit of a taste for the two police detectives and I'm curious to learn more about their pasts as well as what's next in store for them.

Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned the case of a woman, Julie Stendar, who was brutally murdered in her apartment. There's not a lot for the police to go on but there might be some creepy link between Julie and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti. Esther is in the middle of writing a murder mystery novel and the victim in the book is a character based on Julie. Strange right? Is Esther a real-life murderer or is someone else playing some sick and twisted game?

Normally when I read a mystery I put on my amateur detective hat and am usually able to come up with a few possible theories. I'll admit I was pretty clueless when it came to this book and just sat back and watched everything unfold without any strong guesses. I do think the story loses a bit of steam in the last third as it almost felt like I got all the pieces of the puzzle but still wasn't entirely sure of the big picture and how everything was linked. The book does finish strong though and things do make more sense at the end.

It looks like this series will feature both the male and female detectives. Anette Werner was a part of this book but Jeppe Korner was a more fully developed character. I didn't mind that I don't know that much about Anette right now but I do hope she is featured more in future books.

Overall, a good start to the series although it's definitely not a perfect read. I think the potential is there for this to turn into a very solid Nordic mystery series and so I feel comfortable recommending this book if you are interested in that genre.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Sandy.
873 reviews214 followers
January 11, 2020
3.5 stars

This is book #1 in a series set in Copenhagen featuring Danish detectives Jeppe Kørner & Anette Werner. There are 3 more that follow, not yet translated.

It all begins with a body. In this case, a young woman named Julie Stender is found horribly mutilated in the apartment she rents from landlady Esther de Laurenti. Violent murders are rare in this city & the resulting media frenzy doesn’t help Jeppe & Anette as they begin to dismantle Julie’s life in search of their killer.

It’s a very character driven story with a large cast. Fellow tenants, friends, family, co-workers…we meet them all as police investigate everyone with a possible tie to Julie. Of particular interest is her landlady, a retired professor who just happens to be writing a novel with a scene that is disturbingly similar to the murder of her young tenant.

I’m a big fan of Scandinavian mystery/thrillers & this has that distinctive nordic vibe. It’s not a fast paced procedural. Instead, there is a subtle tension that gradually builds as Jeppe & Anette scratch each name off their list of suspects. The story is complex & guessing the killer’s identity will have you swinging from one character to the next.

The 2 MC’s have a comfortable relationship. They support & pick on each other like siblings & it was a pleasant relief not to have the stereotypical romantic angle so often present in the genre. Jeppe is still reeling from his divorce & perhaps a tad too dependent on pain killers. I found his character better developed while Anette remained more of an enigma. She was harder to read & her reactions seemed a bit OTT at times. Her dialogue is riddled with exclamation marks but I’m not sure if this was down to blips in translation or if her character really is that excitable.

I enjoyed this but was left with the feeling it was a better book in its original language. Some of the dialogue felt stilted & unnatural to North American ears & the narrative was abrupt at times. Effectively translating a novel is such a tough job & navigating western idioms & word usage must be a nightmare. So I’m a little jealous of Danish readers because there’s a good story here. The MC’s & the dynamic between them is compelling & I’d like to pick up book #2 to get to know them better.
Profile Image for L.A..
346 reviews60 followers
September 12, 2021
This a Very detailed crime story. Well- written with riveting parts that would not let you walk away. The story begins with a gruesome murder of a young girl, Julie, that lives in an apartment complex with the landlady and writer, Esther. The book she is writing portrays Julie being murdered in her apartment. Esther feels she is at fault.

As the story unravels, the tangle of webs will leave you not believing each turn and the connection of all the people involved. As an Indie Next pic, An Oprah choice, most Anticipated Books of 2020, Best Book to read this Winter, ...etc I was not going to miss out on this one.

Good job, Katrine Engberg. I can’t wait to read The Butterfly House.
Profile Image for Chris.
205 reviews56 followers
January 13, 2020
Jeppe Kørner and Annette Werner are sent to the scene of a violent murder in Copenhagen. A young woman has been found with intricate markings carved into her face. The detectives investigate as another body is found and a witness goes missing. Will our detectives find the witness in time or will she be another tally in the body count?

I thoroughly enjoyed this Danish mystery, which is the first in a series. The main characters work well together, despite the fact that they are more like an "odd couple." They were both likable and believable as characters. You got to feel for Jeppe as his backstory is told.

The plot moves along at a good pace and there are plenty of suspects and red herrings. I didn't guess who the murderer was and was quite surprised. If you like Danish mysteries, then this is one you should check out!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Helga.
814 reviews112 followers
March 9, 2020
An enjoyable but slow read. It could have been a bit shorter.

A young girl’s body is found in her apartment. She has been stabbed and her face has been carved into intricate lines.
The murder is committed very much like the one written by the victim’s landlady in which the fictional victim is based on the actual one. A composed scenario has become a reality.

Who is this killer the media calls “The Knife Monster?” Why has he targeted the young tenant? And is there going to be more bloodshed?

Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,265 reviews
December 30, 2019
3.75 Nordic noir stars

This somewhat dark police procedural is set in Denmark and reminds me a bit of Jo Nesbo. Katrine Engberg is a new author to me, but I understand she’s an international bestseller.

This book opens with a grisly murder scene and I spent the rest of the book trying to unravel the puzzle. I thought I had it all figured out, but no, I was way off base! There are two Copenhagen detectives Korner and Werner that work on the case and they act like an old married couple!

The murder happens on the first-floor apartment of a building in downtown Copenhagen. The elderly man who lives on the second floor discovers the crime when he’s taking out the trash and the door is ajar. The owner of the building lives on the top floor and just happens to be writing a murder mystery that somehow seems to be coming true. Is she the killer, acting out her book? The detectives are struggling to solve the case before the murderer strikes again.

This was a quick read that I thought was well done. The pacing was spot on and the suspense builds toward a starting conclusion. I would definitely read this author again.

Thank you to Gallery/Pocket Books, Katrine Engberg, and NetGalley for an early copy of this one to read in return for an honest revies.
Profile Image for Michelle.
695 reviews77 followers
August 19, 2020
I finally finished this and it was just okay for me. I feel like it was trying to accomplish too many things at once instead of taking ONE really good plot and running with it. I did have to put this down a few times and come back to it, but I’d still recommend it. Just don’t put it at the tippy-top of your TBR and be prepared for a slow burn.

“The impulse to hurt others dwells in us all; we understand it, even if we don’t act on it.”

It’s 6:30 a.m. and in downtown Copenhagen the third floor tenant, Gregers, is just barely making it down the stairs with his trash. His body just isn’t working the way that it used to but he’s determined to get where he needs to go and do things on his own. It is when he stops to take a breath in front of the second-story doorway that he notices that the door is ajar.

The door belongs to two female college students : Julie and Caroline and it is unlike them to be so careless. He reaches out to grasp the door handle and ends up falling into their apartment, injuring himself. When he comes to, he realizes that there doesn’t seem to be any major damage to his body but there’s a shoe stuck underneath him that he desperately needs to move. But to his surprise, the shoe won’t budge. This is when he realizes that the shoe is attached to a leg and with a leg comes a body. But, which one of the girls is it and what happened here?

“He lifted his hand and saw the blood: on the skin, on the floor, on the walls. Blood everywhere.”

First, agents Jeppe and Annette need to identify the body, but that’s pretty hard to do when the face is carved into a bizarre symbol. Then, they need to pinpoint the suspects: the roommate, the love interest, the father, at the top of the list—the buildings owner who lives on the top floor— the prestigious Esther de Laurenti. She’s also a wanna-be mystery writer who began a story —using her tenant’s life as inspiration— and now it’s starting to come true.

“The pattern cut into the face resembled the traditional paper cuttings that Danish children make for Easter.”

“Heavyhearted is the most incisive expression...Thats exactly how I feel. A gravestone in my chest.”

Definitely more of an “old-school” mystery vibe versus an edge-of-your-seat- thriller.

I love the cover, it definitely grabs your attention.

3 stars; an average mystery.


I didn’t like how this book had SO many suspects, I think that they could have been narrowed down by a few thus making the story quicker and more interesting. I would have rather have known much more about the killer’s back-story, or even have a few chapters from his point of view.

There was a lot of unnecessary information, but I heard that this could turn into a series and maybe that’s why.

I also thought that the carving in Julie’s face being his fingerprint was very bizarre and not believable in the slightest. why would anyone ever try to re-create something so complex in human skin on borrowed time?

The granddaughter/ daughter thing was too far-fetched for me. Sometimes a book can have TOO many surprises.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,418 reviews531 followers
November 3, 2019
2.5 Stars.
I wish to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest review. I often enjoy Nordic Noir crime stories, but I am sorry to say this one failed to resonate with me. I found it slow and the language flat. I was not feeling any sense of excitement or suspense. These ingredients were present in the plot, but the thrills I expected to feel were absent for me. The plot was complicated and well thought out with a variety of suspects, surprises and red herrings, so it should have worked for me. I wonder if this might be partly due to translation.

The leading investigative team was Jeppe and Anette. Jeppe was the typical flawed detective with serious emotional problems, and I felt Anette needed more character development. I failed to connect with any of the characters. I did not care for the police, nor the victims. The villains’ motivations seemed rather far fetched. Without being able to empathize with any of the cast, I was unable to care for the surprising reveals and solutions to the crimes.

I notice that many readers enjoyed this book, and am sorry that it just wasn’t for me. I feel that fans of Nordic crime stories should not be influenced by my misgivings.
Profile Image for Jannelies.
948 reviews58 followers
October 26, 2020
As a fan of 'Scandic/Nordic noir' I was very happy to being granted a review copy of this title, the start of a new series. And a debut to boot!
The book left me with a little bit of mixed feelings. Jeppe and Annette, when confronted with the murder of a young girl, set about to find the killer in almost completely different ways. A lot of characters are introduced but in the first half of the book there is almost no real action and it seems we are getting nowhere except for more complications and more storylines.
Luckily, the second half of the book is much better. We finally get to know Jeppe and Annette a little better, and some of the other characters start playing an interesting role. The story gets more depth and the pace is picking up. There is even a red herring or two and some nice (or not so nice) suprises. The plot turns out to be rather interesting and there are no lose threads. (One little thing though: I don't think a person can lose 'several liters of blood' and still survive. The average person has 4.5 (woman) to 5.6 (man) liters blood. By 'several' I think of 2-3 liters...
I wouldn't compare this author (yet) with some of the greater authors in this genre (although there are so many that between them there are big differences) but I enjoyed myself with this book and I hope there will be more titles in this series. It would be nice to see how Jeppe and Annette evolve and I certainly hope that they will learn to work better together - or if not, the reason why they dislike each other so much.

Thanks to Netgalley for this digital review copy.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,283 reviews636 followers
February 4, 2020
I am a big fan of mysteries, always attempting to figure out the perpetrator. Danish author Katrine Engberg’s “The Tenant” begins with a brutal murder of a twenty-one-year-old woman. She is found by an elderly tenant of an apartment building. The murder was a bloody mess, with the woman suffering from multiple stab wounds. The murder becomes headline news and the police force is under extreme pressure to solve the case.

Detectives Jeppe Korner and Annette Werner are assigned to the case. I enjoyed the character details that Engberg gave to the two detectives. They are an odd and eccentric couple. I’m hoping she writes a series with the two because they are fun to read. Korner is the main character, so we get his perspective on the case, with the plot twists and mystery information.

Adding to the mystery of the murder, the owner of the building, who resides in the top floor, wrote a mystery manuscript that the murderer followed. Yet, the manuscript hasn’t been made public so it’s a question as to who got ahold of the manuscript, and to what purpose?

I did guess the perpetrator in the first third of the novel. Let’s say I had the hunch, although Engberg did provide a few red herrings. That said, I did NOT predict motivation correctly. Even with my correct hunch, I was riveted to the changing plot. There are many twists and turns that keeps this one a page turner. I loved it!!
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,030 reviews1,357 followers
January 13, 2020
A brutal murder in a building owned by an author who is writing a book with a similar story line causes her to be the main suspect.

Julie and her roommate Caroline live in a building owned by Esther de Laurenti, the author. Julie is murdered, and the murder has the entire police force baffled.

Nothing like this has ever happened in her building, and Esther can’t understand it.

The clues all seem to point to Esther, though, and especially since the murder scene and situation are similar to her book, but is it really Esther? There are a number of possible suspects.

The victim and her family had a few secrets of their own, but would someone murder for those secrets? And what all-around, complicated secrets they turned out to be.

The detectives, Anette and Jeppe, are on the case and seem to be relentless in their efforts to solve this crime. This detective team is very likeable and definitely add to the story line.

Many other things happen that will keep you reading every chance you get, and you will be thinking about the characters and the situations even when you aren't reading.

Ms. Engberg’s writing flows nicely and keeps the story line moving and the interest high with all of the what if’s and possibilities.

Be aware that there are some upsetting situations and graphic descriptions.

THE TENANT is a book for those who enjoy being kept on the edge-of-your seat.

I hope to see more of this detective team and Ms. Engberg's books.

Are you a good enough detective to solve this crime? 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
758 reviews228 followers
September 14, 2021
I have mixed feelings about this one.
Review to follow.
Using my phone while riding a bus is not fun.

Here it is, my final impression:

I must confess my disappointment after such a great start.
The premises were interesting but it’s development was too slow.
I had a hard time keeping focused. I was easily distracted.
I think that I will blame on the translation.
I do think that the author tried too hard, this being her first book. There are too many little twists and too many people.
Another thing that was missing for me was the atmosphere. This is a Scandinavian thriller. It should be dark and eerie, I think, but I believe that the translation did not help to evoke the imagination.
I was surprised by the relationship between the two investigators. It was kind of odd, as it seems that they couldn’t relate to each other (fortunately on the second book that relationship gets better). There was another thing that I thought wasn’t necessary: the number of erections that the main investigator was able to “achieve” while looking at or thinking about women (did a woman write this book?). If it was meant to be funny or to make us understand his character after a divorce, it did not work.
The conclusion was somewhat all over the place.
I may have made this book sound terrible, but it’s not. There are some good moments.
I recently read the second book, The Butterfly House, which I thought was far superior than this one (in terms of development, not the translation, which was done by the same translator).
Profile Image for Crime by the Book.
192 reviews1,580 followers
January 19, 2020
3.5/5 stars for this compelling if slightly uneven debut. Katrine Engberg has been quickly gaining popularity in Europe, and I was so excited to read her debut novel this year. The Tenant follows two police officers in Copenhagen as they investigate a bizarre murder, one which appears to be based on an unpublished manuscript. There's a lot to love here: plenty of human drama, a vivid cast of characters, and an intricate plot. However, it took me about 100 pages to feel like this story really "clicked" for me - definitely something to keep in mind when determining if this book is for you. While The Tenant didn't quite live up to my expectations, I nevertheless came to really enjoy this crime novel and look forward to seeing what Katrine writes next.

Catch my full review on the CBTB blog! http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2020/1...
Profile Image for Marilyn.
745 reviews201 followers
March 11, 2021
DNF. After listening to at least half of this audio CD I gave up. This book was not for me. I could not connect with the characters and it was just too slow moving. I don’t give up very often on a book but this one just didn’t work for me.
Profile Image for Dennis.
722 reviews1,377 followers
November 30, 2019
The Tenant is coming to the US in January 2020 and I see fans of Lars Kepler and Joe Nesbo fawning over this nordic noir crime-fiction novel. What starts out as a standard murder mystery, the story begins to unfold drastically to provide an over-the-top, yet definitely enjoyable, sinister master plot. I read this e-book during my commute home from Thanksgiving (thank you Dramamine for preventing motion sickness) and I read it in one-sitting! While the story is definitely bingeworthy, the characters really weren't super developed for me to really care what happened. As I said earlier, I definitely see Nesbo fans eating this story up and I see big things for Katrine Engberg!
Profile Image for Dana.
650 reviews9 followers
January 7, 2021
This was dark and creepy ...
soooo many suspicious characters!

I enjoyed the storyline and the police detectives, Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner. I'm hoping we learn more about Anette in the next book as this was mostly focused on Jeppe.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada and Netgalley for my review copy!

Profile Image for Linden.
1,423 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2019
Julie, a 21 year old women, is found murdered and mutilated in her Copenhagen apartment. Detectives Jeppe and Anette are assigned to the difficult case, which seems to go nowhere. A suspect is found murdered, and someone confesses to the crime who obviously is lying. Details emerge from the past which shed new light on the case, but can they solve it before the deranged murderer kills again? I read a lot of Nordic Noir mysteries and have favorite translators, but was surprised that no translator is listed for this book. It's definitely one of the darker ones I've read, but it is very well done, and should appeal to fans of the genre. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance review copy.
Profile Image for Elze Kmitaite.
123 reviews161 followers
February 11, 2021

Labai patiko: į super pinklų neapeliuojantis, bet tvarkingai, pagal visus skandinaviško detektyvo standartus sudėliotas siužetas. Senyva moteris Estera rašo detektyvinį romaną ir staiga jos gyvenime ima pildytis dalykai pagal jos rašomą knygą: miršta jos pažįstama mergina, kurios portretu rėmėsi aprašydama auką savo romane. Policininkai puola tirt, išaiškėja daug palaidų galų iš Esteros gyvenimo, iš aukos gyvenimo, intrigėlių iš rašytojų ir meno pasaulio. Po to viskas susiriša į dailų mazgelį. Liuks.

Labai patiko: Esteros šunų vardai Epistema ir Doksa. Ir šiaip tie šunys buvo labai faini, tokie kur prikakoja koridoriuj ir užmiega prie kako.

Patiko: Pagrindiniai policininkai nedaug geria, nedaug rūko, nedaug dulkinasi (bet jei dulkinasi, tai su tokiais aprašymais kaip iš porno romanų – tai tas nelabai patiko), pagrindinis veikėjas vyras vis tai nualpsta, tai susigraudina. O moteris – ėda kaip... nu kaip aš, kieta, faina. Nu žodžiu, tokia skandinaviška pastanga į netipiškumą (bet daug kur tikrai ne iki galo įgyvendinta).

Nepatiko: Banalybės, klišės, pošlykštės sekso scenelės (grynai savitikslės). Pastebėjau, kad pastaruoju metu detektyvuose labai nuvalkiojama motinystės tematika (neseniai ir pati verčiau detektyvą su labai panašiom motinos – vaiko nesveiko santykio problemom).

Nepatiko (bet ir pasijuokiau, tai gal patiko) : Vietomis medinis tekstas plius medinis vertimas plius minusinis redagavimas = tokie va sakiniai:

„Anetė įmetė savo porininką į automobilį ir parvežė namo į Valbiu. Buvo tokia pavargusi, jautėsi beveik serganti.“ – kaip ir ok, bet ar lietuviškai kada nors imtumėmės tokių konstrukcijų? Žinau, kad pati realiai viską tokiais medžiais verčiu, o po to žliumbdama taisau. Tai gal laiko pritrūko:/

„Ar čia jau buvo maksimaliai apgailėtina, ar dar ko nors trūko, kad kažkas pasikeistų?“ Nežinau, maximaliai nesuprantu sakinio.

„Galvok apie tai kaip apie tikrovės ir prasimanymo kaladėles, kurios visą laiką kaitaliojamos tarpusavyje.“ What?

„Dėl nuovargio ir nugaros skausmų galėjo būti netinkamas mūšiui. Ir dabar, ankštame, tamsiame prieškambaryje jos drėgnam liežuviui raitantis ant jo kaklo ir kraujui pulsuojant po visą kūną, savo palengvėjimui jis aptiko, kad baimė buvo nepagrįsta.“ Jei čia jau su redaktorės ir korektorės skaitymu, tai kaip atrodė išverstas variantas? Gal geriau?:D

„Dirbo vikaru mokykloje“ – čia jau jūs man pasakykit, ar lietuviškai pavaduojantis mokytojas yra vikaras? Nes daniškai tai taip vadinasi. Bet ar jūs suprastumėt kaip pavad.mok., ar kaip dvasininką?

Na ir pabaigai tiesiog toks smagus: „Jis pajuto savo penį brinkstant ir pamažu, tačiau užtikrintai virstant į pirmąją šių metų erekciją.“ (aš GYVAI įsivaizduoju tokį šiek tiek pavargusį, bet tikslo pasiekusį penį su koledžo kepuryte ir diplomu rankytėje.)
Profile Image for Lisa Leone-campbell.
413 reviews41 followers
February 2, 2020
The Tenant is an old-fashion who done it with flawed investigators who are bright and sassy, and a murder mystery which takes so many turns your head will spin.

Julie Stender is a woman in her twenties who is found murdered in her apartment with mysterious knife markings on her face. A lovely girl who seemingly had no enemies, no one can understand why.

Incredibly, the owner of the building, Esther de Laurenti, a retired elderly woman who likes her wine, is in the process of writing her first mystery novel. When she discovers the murder strangely coincides with the exact details of Julie's death and her book, she is beside herself.

Enter Copenhagen detectives Jeppe Korner and his partner Anette Werner. Korner is a miserably divorced, possibly hooked on pain killer's gumshoe partnered with a junk food eating woman.

Trying to discover what the novel and the murder have in common is problematic as the only similarity is a party Esther threw for some of her writing friends.

What the partners must figure out is if Julie was killed intentionally by someone she knew or if someone killed her to mimic the details of the novel. Nothing is quite as it seems and when the body count starts to add up and Esther goes missing, needless to say time begins to run out.

As the detectives begin to close in on a suspect, the strange truth begins to be exposed and thus begins the need for speed to save Esther and the murderer.

The Tenant is an explosive novel with incredible revelations and a satisfying ending.

Thank you #NetGalley #GalleryBooks # KatrineEngberg #TheTenant for the advanced copy.
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