RED WOLF - Liza Marklund
The fifth book in the Annika Bengtzon series, I've absolutely no idea whether or not the entire series has been translated in order or not. I've sort of lost the plot with this series, probably because the first book - THE BOMBER - didn't appeal a lot. The last I read, PRIME TIME, was better, but a lot of the problem is that Annika, as the main focus, is a character I find it very hard to either warm to, or increasingly raise much interest in.
The plot of RED WOLF, that idea of the past having a direct impact on the present, is something I'm noticing a lot these days. The interweaving of the 1969 destruction of a plane on a Swedish air base, home-grown Communist sleeper cells and the impacts of the Cold War on Sweden then and now was carefully drawn out, given immediacy and current day relevance by the death of another journalist, Benny Ekland. It's an interesting idea, in this book executed reasonably well, although it does take a little while to get going. Which wasn't exactly helpful, as there's also a lot going on in Annika's personal life, which, if like me, you're having trouble with Annika, doesn't help with getting into this book.
This is probably my biggest cause of confusion with this series. I can't work out why Annika grates quite as much as she does. Somehow she comes across to me as less stoic and determined and more whingy and inclined to play the martyr. Less put upon and more the cause of most of her problems.
There's also another pattern I've noticed a bit. Whilst having a journalist as an investigator of crimes, outside the law, isn't that big a stretch of the imagination, there is sometimes a tendency to just make out that the official police investigators have "missed" vital clues. Again, not a big stretch of the imagination to think that maybe it could happen... but every time a journalist is involved?
Blast, I think I'm in nitpicking territory. Which isn't a good thing. The biggest problem I've now got is that I'm not keen on the idea of just abandoning a series based on problems with one or two books - working on the principle that a book should stand alone, as well as be part of the series. 3 books out of 5 translated that have left me feeling a bit disappointed might mean that I have to shuffle the other couple down the priority pile a bit.
AN ACCIDENTAL DEATH?
Reporter Annika Bengtzon is working on the story of a devastating crime when she hears that a journalist investigating the same incident has been killed. It appears to be a hit-and-run accident.
A SERIES OF MURDERS
Several brutal killings follow - all linked by handwritten letters sent to the victims' relatives. When Annika unravels a connection with the story she's writing, she is thrown on to the trail of a deadly psychopath.
THE HUNT IS ON
Caught in a frenzied spiral of secrets and violence, Annika finds herself and her marriage at breaking point. Will her refusal to stop pursuing the truth eventually destroy her?