What you don’t know about me

Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Berlin: Axel Steen’s double life knows no geographical limits, not since he was moved from the homicide section to the much more challenging and exciting undercover operation led by the CIA and various other international agencies to track down Grisha, the all-powerful Russian drug trafficker who seems to have tentacles in all European cities and also in South America. Axel currently plays the role of Hans Hauser, a criminal psychopath with powerful connections who managed after months and months of legal and illegal activities to find contact with Bashkim, Grisha’s faithful right-hand man. Everything would seem to go in the right direction, except that Axel has perhaps fallen too much into the part, indeed he almost prefers to play the role of the Danish criminal rather than his. The adrenaline he feels in managing the operation often makes him forget the limits and boundaries that a police officer should have: on the other hand, none of his colleagues are unaware of his past as a drug addict and alcoholic. His life of debauchery and his love for Christine, known in Amsterdam since she was part of the Dutchman’s tour, can really put the whole operation in check and drag him into a whirlwind of perdition and bankruptcy… In parallel, the ex Axel’s colleague, Vicki Thomsen, is grappling with a robbery in a bank in Copenhagen: with skillful skill and precision, a hundred safety deposit boxes in the vault have been emptied. The theft was only discovered when a careless thief urinated in a plant pot. Vicki is good, but she is also a woman and, precisely for this reason, she is always hindered in investigations by the male chauvinism of colleagues and superiors. This case, however, goes beyond even the difficulties due to the bad relationship with the other agents because it connects with the PET, the police section directed by Jens Jessen which manages undercover operations and international investigations. Something shady, huge and worrying is coming to the surface, something that neither Vicki nor Axel had foreseen and that is there ready to drag them into the abyss…

Born in 1965, Jesper Stein has dedicated his entire life to writing: first as a war reporter and then, starting in 2006, as a writer of thriller novels. What you don’t know about me is his fifth work starring the tormented agent Axel Steen. The series made the Danish writer famous and has been translated into eleven languages ​​as well as awarded the Golden Laurel, Denmark’s most prestigious literary award. It is not difficult, reading the novel, to understand the reason for such success: the genre is very varied, divided between thriller, espionage and hard-boiled but also with introspective and dramatic elements that really involve the reader so much as to literally not be able to detach from the pages. Axel Steen is certainly not a spotless and fearless hero: he is a tormented man, an alcoholic addicted to vices and with a very disastrous family situation mainly due to the absence of him as husband and father. While reading it is impossible not to get angry with him: he often behaves in a rebellious, incomprehensible way, he makes mistakes after mistakes, aware of his own weaknesses but, at the end of the reading, it is impossible not to have also empathized precisely because his lights and shadows are human, sometimes the same ones that we too cultivate in the soul. The oppressive atmosphere of the novel due to the dashed descriptions of the gloomy Danish landscapes, the heavy, muddy snow, the heavy and insistent rain that seems to flood everything fits perfectly with the sad and lugubrious themes of the plot, bringing even more into the story and being passionate about it. What you don’t know about me it’s the story of a man and his demons in a desperate pursuit of happiness and a reason to continue to exist and, overall, the twisty unraveling of the plot is just what you would expect from a good Scandinavian thriller.

What you don’t know about me