Maddy's Reviews > Red Wolf

Red Wolf by Liza Marklund
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Apr 18, 2011

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Read in March, 2011

PROTAGONIST: Annika Bengzton
SETTING: Sweden
SERIES: #5 of 5
RATING: 3.25

At one time, Annika Bengzton was the head of the crime team at a leading Swedish newspaper. Currently, she works as an independent investigative reporter, whose bosses don’t always trust her judgment in the stories that she chooses to report. Her current obsession is with an event that occurred 40 years earlier, when a Draken fighter plane exploded at a northern Swedish base. She senses that a cover-up has occurred; as she investigates, she finds that people who have some knowledge of what happened are being killed. It appears that someone is feeling very threatened about the possibility of the truth coming to light.

Convincing her editors that there is a story worth telling is a challenge, particularly since Annika suffers anxiety attacks where singing angels haunt her and can become quite obsessed when she’s following a lead. As a matter of fact, they forbid her to continue the investigation, a directive which she ignores. In addition to the incident with the plane, there are a lot of ingredients in the narrative mix, including a serial killer who returns after 40 years, plots involving powerful business and political leaders and evidence that her husband may be having an affair.

Although Marklund’s research is meticulous, I found that as an American I had no frame of reference for many of the political references and history incorporated into the narrative. The dependence on those details made a large part of the book inaccessible to me. I also found the beginning of the book to be rough going, as the translation wasn’t smooth flowing. On the other hand, the character of Anna is an intriguing one. She strongly believes in what she is doing and is determined to expose the truth, no matter what the cost. She has a real sense of justice that won’t allow her to compromise. And Marklund has taken full advantage of the cold and darkness of the Swedish setting to build a sense of menace.

Liza Marklund is a best-selling author in Sweden, with her books translated into 30 languages. RED WOLF is the fifth book in the series and introduces Annika Bengtzon to an American audience. A recent collaboration with James Patterson should ensure that Marklund will establish a lasting presence in the US marketplace.

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