Ohlsson, Kristina - 'Hostage' (translated by Marlaine Delargy)
Kristina Ohlsson's previous three books have featured an investigative police team, a special police unit that was headed by Alex Recht, with Fredrika Bergman as a team member. In this book, the team has been disbanded, Fredrika has moved to work for the justice department, and Alex is now working for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Fredrika is married to her former lover Spencer, and has two children and has been away in New York, before returning back to Sweden. However, recent events result in Alex and Fredrika working together again, and these events revolve around someone called Zakaria Khelifi, an apparent terrorist from North Africa, an Algerian refugee now living in Sweden. There was some evidence connecting him to terrorism, but not enough to convict him. But as the combined grouping of the NBI, SAPO and the Justice department representatives are agreeing that Zakaria needs to be deported, a bomb threat is received, with four separate targets, and the bombs due to go off that afternoon. But are the bomb threats just a smokescreen, and if so what are they covering up?
Meanwhile, Alex's son, Erik, is the co-pilot with Karim Sassi on a plane on its way to New York. Just after take off, an ashen faced stewardess brings them a note that says that the plane will be blown up if 'Tennyson Cottage' (an American detention facility in Afghanistan) is not shut down immediately by the USA, and if the decision to deport Zakaria is not revoked. Clearly there is an enormous time pressure to work out what is going on, as 'when the fuel runs out, time runs out'.
The plot complexities deepen further, and what ensues is an engrossing story. Fredrika's talent for investigation and sniffing out the detail prove vital in understanding how the events have unfolded in the way they have. Background stories of the personal pressures, and lives of those involved in the investigation help to drive the sense of pressure to find a solution quickly. The personal connection between Alex, and his son on the plane that is in danger helps to ramp up the tension. Is it a major terrorist plot, or is the final solution something much more unexpected? HOSTAGE is an excellent book, with intriguing characters, a great sense of tension, and a well developed storyline.
Michelle Peckham, England