In her newest Annika Bengtzon series entry, the protagonist has returned with her husband from an assignment as a Washington, D.C. correspondent for Sweden’s 2nd largest newspaper, the Evening Post, the Stockholm newspaper where she had been working since she was twenty-four. Her return is greeted, professionally speaking, by the murder of a young woman near her residence in a manner that suggests that a serial killer is on the loose. But that soon takes a back seat. Annika’s husband, Thomas, had been attending a conference in Nairobi about increased cooperation concerning EU borders. On the fourth day he and 7 other delegates left the conference on a reconnaissance trip to a site close to the Somali border, when they all disappeared. More ominous is the fact that their interpreter and the guard traveling with them have been found murdered, and it appears that the seven have been kidnapped.
The book is told from Annika’s 3d-person p.o.v., although periodically interspersed with 1st-person p.o.v. from Thomas, from where he is captive in Africa while his kidnappers, whose motives are both political and monetary, attempt to obtain enormous ransoms for his and the other victims’ release. Of course the lives of Annika and her two young children are devastated (though their marriage has not always been smooth, due to his roving eye). But she does everything in her power to obtain the funds to ransom him.
The book is divided into sections starting with “Day O,” November 22nd, the last portion being December 2nd, denoted as Day 10 (although the final six pages, almost an Epilogue, are noted as Day 0, December 13th), and a lot is packed into that three-week period. The minor characters, editor-in-chief Anders Schyman, and Jimmy Halenius, Thomas’ boss and undersecretary of state at the Department of Justice, are well-drawn, and each plays an important role in the plot. The suspense mounts as one and then another hostage is killed. The author has given us another fascinating novel, one which is recommended...Continua