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Having read the Bomber and Red Wolf I wanted to go back to the first novel in the series and I'm glad I hadn't read this one first. The young reporter is not particularly engaging or sympathetic as she is inclined to be arrogant, thoughtless, rude, self-righteous, sentimental and snivelling. What makes the book absorbing and where it rings true is in the quality of investigative reporting. The saving grace of the reporter is her intelligence and quality of reflection and the fact that she never gives up. She stumbles across a corpse in a cemetery of a young girl brutally murdered which becomes embroiled in another deeper political scandal. It is the uncovering of the scandal which carries the book for me. The faults of the novel and its many improbable elements such as the stripper's best friend moving in with the reporter or the end of Anneker's relationship with Sven - to my mind really stretching the suspension of disbelief to its limits - can be overlooked in the light of the better writing. Glad to say that the author did correct some of the flaws of the heroine so that in later books she does not 'gulp' or 'cry' at such a frequent rate. Not one for bouts of tears myself I found her constant emotional outbursts rather trying to be honest.
As I am enjoying the later books I don't regret reading this just to find out the starting point and the background of various characters who appear in later books.
Buyer beware – this is not crime fiction it is very bad chick lit more suitable for a comic strip aimed at the early teens.
It is yet another leap onto the very lucrative Scandinavian gravy train started by real intelligent writers such as Henning Mankel & Jo Nesbo. As in the case of the execrable Camilla Lackberg, Liza Marklunds heroine is a vacuous, self-pitying ninny. She feels sick, she has a slight headache, she feels dizzy, thirsty zzzzz….. She cries because she has her period and has forgotten to buy tampons, although we know she has sanitary towels in her handbag because we have been told so earlier in this infuriating travesty of literature. She is a dreadful narcissistic, arrogant and stupid monstrosity - Bridget Jones meets Heidi’s idiot sister.
I mention the plot last because it is a drab and unattractively flaccid thing hardly worth a mention. Like a bad piece of knitting it is full of holes and loose ends and has not been constructed with any semblance of care.
Miss Marklund has peppered her book with pretentious pseudo intellectual moralising on the ethics of journalism in an attempt; presumably to con us into thinking we have not wasted our time and money. She also has a nauseating go at some Freudian descriptions of perverted sex and the odd bit of lyricism such as, ”the rain hung like a wet curtain outside”
Yet again another deplorable effort has made its way on to the printed page. How?
The reader is not bad but it's a chick lit voice.
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