Sunday 9 December 2018


The lovely folks at Pushkin Press have gotten into the Christmas spirit by offering blog readers the chance to win 2 paperback sets of Martin Holmen's Harry Kvist trilogy set in 1930s Sweden.

(The offer is unfortunately limited to participants in the UK and Ireland.)

Here's a bit about  Martin Holmen’s gritty Stockholm Trilogy featuring violent ex-boxer Harry Kvist.

Clinch (2016) (Book 1)

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.

Col's Criminal Library thoughts on Clinch - here

Down For the Count (2017) (Book 2) 

The second hard-hitting Harry Kvist thriller - fresh out of prison, Harry is determined to avenge a friend's murder, and expose a police cover-up protecting people in high places...

Harry Kvist walks out the gates of Langholmen jail into the biting Stockholm winter of 1935. He has nothing to his name but a fiercely burning hope: that he can leave behind his old existance of gutter brawls, bruised fists and broke bones.

But the city has other ideas. Nazis are spreading their poison on the freezing streets, and one of Kvist's oldest friends has been murdered. Before he can leave Stockholm's underworld for good, he must track down the killer. As Kvist uncovers a trail of blood leading to the highest echelons of Swedish society, the former boxer finds himself in a fight to the death with his most dangerous opponent yet.

Born in 1974, Martin Holmen studied history, and now teaches at a Stockholm secondary school. Down for the Count is the second thriller in The Stockholm Trilogy, following on from Clinch. The trilogy will be completed with Slugger published by Pushkin Vertigo in 2018.

Col's Criminal Library thoughts on Down For the Count - here

Slugger (2018) (Book 3)


'Sin City meets Raymond Chandler in this atmospheric and compulsive series' Attitude

It's summer in Stockholm, and the city is sweltering in the grip of a rare heatwave while fascists and communists beat each other bloody in the streets. Harry Kvist has had enough. It's time for him to leave. But first he has some business to take care of. His old friend and ex-lover, Reverend Gabrielsson, has been murdered, and the police are more interested in anti-Semitic rumours than finding the truth.

Kvist investigates the only way he knows how, with his fists, uncovering a Nazi terrorist plot and a cabal of corrupt cops. Before long he finds himself caught in the middle of a turf war between two of the city's most brutal gangs. Can he fight his way out of one last corner and find a way to freedom, or has Kvist finally taken a punch too many?

What readers have to say about The Stockholm Trilogy

'Harry Kvist is a great character... Swedish noir? Yes, please' - Goodreads reviewer

'F**k me. This was amazing' - Goodreads reviewer

'A true noir... dark, dirty and bruised' -Goodreads reviewer

'A Swedish noir par excellence. Bravo' - Goodreads reviewer

To enter leave a comment below and/or email me at before Friday midnight and I'll draw the two winners from a hat next Saturday.

I'll also accept entries via comments or messages received on the Facebook and Twitter posts advertising the giveaway.

Pushkin Vertigo will be sending the winner's copies out and all personal data will be deleted after the competition ends.

The Pushkin Press website is here.


  1. These look good, I love swedish noir but haven't read any of these yet.Please count mein.

    1. I've enjoyed the first two Carol, not yet read the third. You're in the hat - good luck!

  2. Wow it looks cool. I just recently moved to Europe and will visit Sweden soon!

    1. I hope you like them if you ever get the chance to read them.

  3. Nice giveaway! Thanks, Col, for hosting it.

  4. The offer is unfortunately limited to participants in the UK and Ireland.

    Well, "Poot!" is all I can say. In mixed company, anyway.

    1. I feel your pain (sort of - he says having read two and with the last in his possession) - I reckon you might enjoy this series. Hopefully it rocks up in your neck of the woods.

  5. Hi Col, these books sound excellent! Please can you chuck my name in the hat? Cheers!

  6. Col – I have read some Scandinavian crime, and I’m still working my way through the books of Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo, Henning Mankell, and Stieg Larsson.

    1. I've read a bit from each of those three but not enough I'm afraid, Elgin. I tend to avoid reading Scandinavian Crime in Winter, psychologically it makes me feel colder!

  7. Two winners - carol810 and Tom Leins. I'll email Tom for details of where to send the books, if carol810 could get in touch with me at we'll get the books sorted.