Annika has been promoted to the head of crime at the Evening Post, a major Stockholm newspaper, when a report comes in of an explosion at the Olympic stadium. She’s determined to get the best angle on the story and discover the truth before any of her competitors. Is it an act of terrorism against the Olympics or is it murder? And will she get it wrapped up in time to spend Christmas with her family?
What The Bomber does best is portray the inner workings of a busy newspaper. It’s refreshing that the characters are just doing their jobs and not taking over from the police like in many crime novels. Annika has a police source but she doesn’t work with them and it’s a constant struggle to find out information.
But, what angry characters we have! Annika seems to be incredibly irritable, snapping at her husband, children, colleagues and interviewees. The short winter days of Northern Europe makes us all tetchy but I’m not sure it makes for a good protagonist. Maybe Annika rubs of on those around her as they’re just as angry back, with exception of her boss at the paper. I get the feeling Marklund is trying to make a statement about equality of the sexes in the workplace but I don’t feel that Annika is disliked because she’s a woman, more that she’s not very nice to her colleagues! The character of Nils, comes across as a stereotypical sexist man without any redeeming features and his presence doesn’t have any real relevance on the plot. Now, this is chronologically the fourth book in a series but the first that was written, so perhaps there is a back story that explains more, but as a standalone read, I wish it had concentrated more on the investigation and the bomber’s motives.
Overall it’s a good read but the angriness has probably cost this book a whole star. The Bomber has been incredibly successful in its original Swedish and a hit film has made made based on the book, with more films based on the series on the way. I would be interested to find out if Annika mellows after the events of The Bomber or if she started out that way, so I wouldn’t write Liza Marklund off as a writer.
I read this book as part of the Transworld Book Group challenge. Keep your eyes peeled for other bloggers taking part and reviewing some of the same titles during recent months.
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