Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All Review
by Jonas Jonasson
“It’s always awkward when five thousand kronor goes missing. When it happens at a certain grotty hotel in south Stockholm, it’s particularly awkward because the money belongs to the hitman currently staying in room seven. Per Persson, the hotel receptionist, just wants to mind his own business, and preferably not get murdered. Johanna Kjellander, temporarily resident in room eight, is a priest without a vocation, and, as of last week, without a parish. But right now she has two things at her disposal: an envelope containing five thousand kronor, and an excellent idea…
Featuring one violent killer, two shrewd business brains and many crates of Moldovan red wine, Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All is an outrageously zany story with as many laughs as Jonasson’s multimillion-copy bestseller The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.”
I was looking through the Waterstones ‘coming soon’ page and saw Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, as I have read both of Jonas Jonasson’s previous works I wanted to read it no matter what the storyline was about. As I loved The Hundred-Year-Old Man and enjoyed The Girl who saved the King of Sweden. Each is a completely separate story, so you do not need to have read Jonasson’s previous work to read Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All.
Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All is about Per Persson (hotel receptionist, who hates the world because of his family’s misfortune) and Johanna Kjellander (atheist priest, who hates the world because of her father forcing her to become a priest and his controlling nature) persuading Johan Andersson (Hitman Anders, who has been in and out of prison for multiple murders when under the influence of alcohol and drugs) to undertake hits for the criminal underworld in exchange for large amounts of money. This is until Hitman Anders finds God and decides that hurting people is not the way to go, therefore they decide to create a Church. As the book says “it’s never too late to start again and again”.
I did not have a favourite character. The main characters were all well structured and well written, but I did not get a solid attachment to any of them. All the characters felt real, the Count and the Countess were evil and that came across really well, as did some doubts about other characters.
I did enjoy the storyline, but I had no particular favourite part. There is swearing, so just a warning.
It took me a week to read Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, it did not particularly grip me, although the further I got in the more I wanted to know what happened. It made me tense, I think I laughed once or twice. I had no idea where the storyline was going, which was good, I just wish it had been more like The Hundred-Year-Old Man.
As it is a stand-alone book there is no real cliffhanger, everything (mostly) is tied up, and everything that is not can be left to your imagination.
I would describe this book as a fun Scandi-noir. Personally it did not grip me and I could not get an attachment to the characters or to the storyline. I would recommend it (if you want to try it) to adults who enjoy something different. 2 out of 5.