An ultra-gritty piece of contemporary Swedish noir, set in a decrepit, highly atmospheric 1930s Stockholm that is a far cry from the modern, egalitarian capital city of today.
The writing's on the wall for Harry Kvist. Once a notorious boxer, he now spends his days drinking, and his nights chasing debts amongst the pimps, prostitutes and petty thieves of 1930s Stockholm. When women can't satisfy him, men can. But one biting winter's night he pays a threatening visit to a debtor named Zetterberg, and when the man is found dead shortly afterwards, all eyes are on Kvist.
Determined to avoid yet another stint in prison, Kvist sets out to track down the only person who can clear his name. His hunt will lead him from the city's slums, gangster hideouts and gambling dens to its most opulent hotels and elite nightclubs. It will bring him face to face with bootleggers and whores, aristocrats and murderers. It will be the biggest fight of his life.
Blending noir with gritty violence, Clinch is a visceral, compulsive thriller that packs a punch and leaves you reeling.
About the Author
Born in 1974, Martin Holmén studied history, and now teaches it at a Stockholm secondary school. Clinch is his first novel, and the first instalment in the planned trilogy about Kvist: Out for the Count and Slugger will also be published by Pushkin Vertigo.
"Periodically I must close the book and remind myself that Clinch‘s fantastically atmospheric setting depicts the real, heartbreaking suffering of the Great Depression, that the action scenes I’m eating up are actually grisly crimes perpetrated by cold-blooded criminals. That Holmén manages to sneak his story past my keen moral-outrage sensors is a testament to a fine writing talent. Harry Kvist is in many ways a monster — Rocky Balboa he ain’t. But with all that he has to go through to clear himself of the one awful crime he doesn’t commit, he has at least one squeamish, peace-loving reader with him to the last page, cheering with every punch he lands." - Brett Marie, Bookanista
"Holmén has Raymond Chandler's rare ability to evoke a character in a few deft strokes." — Mail on Sunday EVENT
"This is noir writing as its best" — The Bookbinder's Daughter
“If Chandler and Hammett had truly walked on the wild side, it would read like CLINCH.” - Val McDermid
"The author doesn’t pull any punches … a very promising, atmospheric debut that moves at a good clip… [Kvist] is mesmerising." — Mystery People (blog)
"CLINCH is a dark, atmospheric, powerful thriller, the best debut novel I’ve read in years." - Lynda La Plante Quotes from Sweden:
• "Enormously readable ...the hero, he defies description ... a former boxer working as a debt collector, beating people up ... yet appears both sympathetic and moral" - Leif GW Persson, TV4
• "Simply put, a great read." - Leif GW Persson, Expressen
• "A debut that rings of Chandler... Holmén has created a unique, in equal measures idiosyncratic as it is remarkable, debut crime novel." - Borås Tidning
• "The 1930s ... a mirror of our times." - Vi Läser
• "Brutally entertaining." – M-Magasin
• "Gritty, stylish Scandinavian noir from one of Sweden's hottest emerging authors. ... uniquely Swedish details that give texture and depth to the more familiar noir conventions. ... It is absorbing in both plot and atmosphere and I look forward to the next installment." BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5, The Writing 4 / 5 - bookloverbookreviews.com
• "The book paints a historical image of how people lived in the 1930s, and features vivid depictions of the setting and milieu." - Bokslukarinnans Bokblogg
• "Scandinavian Crime meets Film Noir, the crime novel of the year is set in Stockholm in the 1930s. A guaranteed must-read novel! " - Alexander Bard, Facebook