Thursday, May 2, 2013
LIFETIME by Liza Marklund
Complicated and compelling Scandinavian writer Liza Marklund delivers almost two parallel tales as we follow the development of a news story and the progress of an investigation.. Marklund describes her work as editor of a top selling tabloid in Northern Europe as being in a “tough world.” And, Lifetime is a tough story - intelligent, intense, realistic and, yes, at times appalling. The author who is known as the “Queen of Scandinavian crime fiction” delivers a taut, gritty tale that intrigues, grips and stuns the reader.
With this the seventh novel featuring intrepid Stockholm crime reporter Annika Bengtson there’s bad news from the get-go. “Someone had thrown three incendiary grenades through the windows of her house” totally destroying the building. However, Annika had managed to get her son and daughter out through a bedroom window. That was all - no possessions, no money, no identification, no clothing. In addition, her husband has left her for another woman. That’s more grief than a woman can handle in a lifetime let alone a few hours.
At about the same time Police Officer Nina Hoffman hears a call, “Control to all units, report of shots fired on Bondegatan.” As her unit is the closest she’s asked to respond to the call. Nothing could have shocked her more - she finds fellow officer Supt. David Lindholm naked on his bed with bullets through his head and groin. He was one of Sweden’s best known and most respected detectives, tantamount to being a hero in his country. His, wife, Julia, is apparently traumatized but keeps talking about another woman in the room who shot David and took their young son. There is no evidence of anyone else being in the room, only Julia’s sometimes incoherent version of the events. Nonetheless, their son is missing.
Annika becomes involved in the case when covering the story for her newspaper, and soon believes that Julia is being falsely accused of her husband’s murder and the kidnaping of their son. She discovers that David was not the iconic guardian of the people that all believed he was. In fact, he was quite the opposite but how can she prove it?
Those who enjoy complicated Nordic thrillers peopled with fallible, very real characters will be thrilled with Lifetime.
- Gail Cooke