I gave this book 3 stars
p style=”text-align:left;”>A mother is found dead along a snowy pathway after dropping her son off at nursery school. She is the fourth murder victim to be found in a short time displaying the same characteristics. News reporter Annika Bengtzon is trying to start a story on it when she is told that her husband has been kidnapped in Kenya. As the murder spree continues, the police begin to think they have a serial killer on their hands. Meanwhile Annika is faced with impossible demands from her husband’s kidnappers.
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Firstly, I feel I should have read all of others in the series to have appreciated this book as I was unable to build a relationship with most of the characters. In my personal opinion it is not a stand alone book.
The crime told from a reporters point of view is interesting. Annika, the protagonist starts off painting her husband, Thomas’s picture as a womanising, faithless partner who has previously set up home with another woman, has frequent affairs, but she remains with him in some kind of numb stasis. She is later shown to be not above infidelity herself but in a much more shocking way whilst her husband has been tortured and imprisoned by rebels soldiers. I felt uncomfortable reading how Annika almost seduces Jimmy Halenius, Thomas’s boss (Under Secretary) taking comfort from him as they sleep together whilst not knowing whether her husband is dead or alive. Even though I know that people behave differently when they are under extreme duress I am not sure I could understand her apparent indifference.
It does not follow the normal crime thriller and mixes local, and international crimes both brutal, both going on for a long time but largely ignored in the world.
What did I like about this book?
I love the way Marklund writes, the phrases she uses and the way she casually throws in Annika’s thoughts.
I enjoyed the hostage part of the novel and liked how Annika did not always follow protocol.
It was great the way that Thomas’s tale is in first person and that the violence of the hostage story is brutally told. Marklund has cleverly depicted the kidnappers through the eyes of the hostages. The ‘voice’ of the kidnappers is given only by text, phone, and transcripts, changing the the power of their voice but not making them any less brutal. The enormity of the fact of small plane ransome drops are common place with as much as two a week, highlights the amount of hidden violence in the novel.
What I found disappointing?
It took me a while to get into the story, but was grateful for the background on Annika because this is the first book I have read in this series and feel I have missed out on not reading the others.
I wanted to like Annika but found I just couldn’t, she was strong and sensible one minute and reckless and weak the next. She seemed to randomly act recklessly.
I feel the serial murders at home detracted from the main plot of the novel not adding anything new. I think I would have like to have read more about the newspaper and Annika’s role there because I believe it was probably more important than it seemed.
I so wanted to give this book a better rating but it has left me feeling confused because I found there to be more than one main focus in the story. Two stories in one: local serial murders, and an international kidnapping of UN Delegates – I think I would like to read about each in a seperate book.
However, Liza Markland certainly has a great imagination and I know that many will love this book.
Many thanks to the Publisher for a copy of this book via NetGalley for my honest review.
Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Expected Publish Date: Oct 9 2014