Author: Martin Holmén (author), Henning Koch (translator)
Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo
Release Date: August 31, 2015
Genre(s): Mystery, Historical, Bisexual
Page Count: 320
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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.


This book is not romance.

It is very interesting, unusual and highly recommended gay mystery.

I think, I have never read anything more visually noir before!

Martin Holmén belongs to the biggest surprises of this year for me.

Stockholm in 1932. Swedish noir? Oh yes, please! It looks like the author wrote his debut novel with an old city map. I wish I could follow places, streets, names. (It’s time to visit Stockholm.)
The settings are fantastic.

The plot:
Harry Kvist, an ex boxer, makes for living from collecting debts from the private persons.

Mostly it is just a bicycle business, but from time to time he has occasional job that brings good moneys. Like the one with Zetterberg. If Harry manages to collect two thousand kronor and sent money within five days, he can keep fifteen per cent. Everything seems to go according to plan: after ex boxer has taught Zetterberg a lesson in paying debts, he has just to come back next day and collect the money. The only problem is- Zetterberg has been murdered shortly after Kvist left his apartment and Harry Kvist is considered the prime suspect. There are two witnesses who can be his alibi: Sonja ,a bowlegged whore, with who he has a conversation, and a joyrider in a black sports car. But Harry has been already taken twice for the eighteenth paragraph, the antihomosexual paragraph. So, the young man is not an option. To clear himself of any suspicion he has to find Sonja.
Only he is not the only one who looks for her.

The mystery part is great, it spirals all the way through, with unexpected twists and turns, with a brilliantly thought-out ending, and is a good starting point for the future thrilling adventure of Harry Kvist. Because it is supposed to be a trilogy!

I’m definitively looking forward to reading more about this butch ex-boxer who beams with power and sex appeal.


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Galley copy of provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

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