Harry Kvist with a magnificent comeback! Back for round two of author Martin Holmén’s Stockholm trilogy, the once highly prized pugilist turned brute bill collector and side hustling private dick returns to the streets after some time in the slam, tracking down the murderer of his friend, Beda, the woman who owned the laundry on the corner who he could count on to remove a stain from his suit or smooth over the fabric of a rough day with an encouraging word.
Doubting the line that it was her deaf and dumb son who bludgeoned her to death in her sleep, Kvist does some snooping and finds a stray bullet lodged in the wall next to the bed in the basement where she slept. Spurred on by the overpowering stench of the rot-stinking rat gumming up the gears of this obvious fabrication, Kvist has firsthand knowledge how society scapegoats its outliers and freaks when it’s convenient, with no regard for the truth, his own urges putting him in the category of sexual deviant, at odds with the law and strict moral codes of the times.
No sissy he, heaven help the poor bastard who gets caught up in the vortex of Kvist’s drive for vengeance. Kicking ass and asking questions later the sometimes merciless queero, whose brutality may be an over compensation for the supposed frailty of his kind, pounds the grimy pavements of pre-WWII Stockholm, champing on a steady diet of Meteor cigars in the shadows of its many cathedrals, unraveling the crime with every new lead gleaned from the persuasion of broken fingers and smashed noses inflicted on the witnesses he chases down.
As it becomes clear the perps are in a class way above Kvist’s station, with the ability to stamp him out like a creeping cockroach, Kvist doesn’t cower or falter but seems to relish the challenge, exhorting himself on with the auto-psyching refrain, “Harry Kvist with a magnificent comeback!” His habit of talking to himself is funny and at the same time, sad, as it is indicative of his isolation as a gay man in a straight razor world. And though he can be a bastard, the reader is rooting for the Kvist bug to triumph over the seemingly untouchable forces of evil as he uncovers a ring of depravity that makes his personal proclivities pale as moonlight in pond water against the obliterating conflagration of the sun.
Wittingly or not, Holmén's plot holds a mirror up to the unspeakable notions plaguing the modern world about the actual comportment and disposition of its own so-called 'leaders.' Who among us could even fathom standing up against the elite politicos who have formed a far-reaching cabal of satanic pedophiles preying on the weakest and most innocent among us behind the bullshit dumb show of false flags and propaganda? Let alone spit in its face and give it a ritual skull fucking with the sharp stem of a broken champagne glass like our champion Kvist does after surviving a near-death round of torture, turning the tables on his would-be executioner in what was supposed to be a last nip before dying? Say it with me people: “Harry Kvist with a magnificent comeback!”
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