by Roslund and Hellström (Quercus) R189.00 ISBN: 978-1-84916-151-0
When selecting this book, two things jump out as possible risks to a good read. One, a novel that has been co-authored can sometimes result in a stumbling story. Two, Scandinavian books translated to English are often infused with a grey undertone that is not to everyone’s liking.
However, the authors have managed to pull together a gripping, well-paced seamless story that only has one or two gloomy skies. In doing so, this book is elevated from being a book enjoyed by a niche-market reader, to a global best-seller, on a par with the first of Steig Larsson’s works.
The story is based around the growing drug trade in Sweden and a long-term police informer’s challenges to infiltrate the inner ranks of the Polish mafia. In doing so, he also needs to ensure the continued support from the politically-driven state and police institutions. Interests are not always aligned. The book also deals with his internal strife of having to lie to his beloved family to ensure their safety.
The novel starts a little haltingly, introducing you to the different players in the story. Once the reader passes these first few chapters they’re pulled into an excellent read, that has one silently admiring and rooting for our protagonist right until the very last page.
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