Du gamla, du fria
Du gamla, du fria by Liza Marklund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A woman lies dead behind a nursery school in Stockholm and Annika Bengtzon is on the scene; the veteran reporter thinks there might be a serial killer targetting women. Soon, however, the Stockholm killer is the last thing on her mind as she discovers her husband has been kidnapped and she must stop at nothing to get him back safely.

This is apparently the 9th novel in the Annika Bengtzon series but it is the first one I have read. I think it would have been even better if I had read some of the earlier ones first – of necessity, the author refers back to events in the past and I know as a reader of series, that I do get frustrated myself if too much is repeated. Nevertheless, as a standalone novel, this one works well and I very much enjoyed it.

I can see why the device of the serial killer was needed – there does need to be some frame of reference for the news room and its characters, otherwise there would be too much emphasis on Annika and Jimmy. Nevertheless, most of the novel quite rightly concerns the action between these two characters as they work to free Thomas, and I did start to get frustrated at the deviations from this plot as I found it very compelling.

I did like the way that the action switched between the two main character’s points of view. I have read some novels where this is confusing, but I felt this one added to the general suspense of the story and made me feel empathy with both situations. I especially liked this nearer the end, when it was not at all clear whether the situation would be resolved positively at all.

I did very much enjoy this novel. If I ever get time I would like to read the others in the series before it as I think that would definitely have improved my enjoyment of this one. Nevertheless, I would certainly recommend it to fans of Scandinavian thrillers, you will not be disappointed.

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