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Marklund, Liza - 'The Bomber' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Frances Barber (translated by Kajsa Von Hofsten)
Audio Cassette (2003) Publisher: Chivers Audio Books ISBN: 0754009807

THE BOMBER is the first in the series featuring Annika Bengtzon a reporter for Kvallspressen in Stockholm. Annika has recently been promoted to editor of the crime desk, however I believe later books deal with some of the investigations she undertook before her promotion.

It's just a few days before Christmas and the big story is that Stockholm's Victoria Stadium, home of the next year's Olympics has been blown up and even worse, there is a casualty. Initial thoughts are that this is terrorism in action but Annika's source in the police department reveals that the police think it's personal. However when the victim turns out to be the head of the Olympics organising committee Annika is hard pressed to find anyone who disliked the woman. The paper pursues the 'it's personal' line until there is another Olympic related bombing and Annika wonders if she's losing her reporter's instinct.

Annika goes about her time consuming and stressful job whilst juggling with her family; husband Thomas and two children, Kalle and Ellen. Her job is even worse at the moment as several of her staff are making life unpleasant for her.

Continuing her investigations into the murder victims she unwittingly becomes the next target.

THE BOMBER is an exciting listen and very atmospheric with the snow and cold of Christmas and there is a great sense of place of Stockholm. Annika is an interesting character, she is a great reporter but one with a temper and doesn't always mince words.

The pace doesn't flag and the ending is very tense with Annika in mortal danger whilst she does her best to delay her demise.

The translation into US English seems quite smooth however a character asking for 'Tylenol' jarred me a little. Maybe it is available in Sweden, though I'm inclined to think not, but asking for a 'painkiller' would have been less intrusive to my, albeit British, ear.

Frances Barber's narration is okay however she doesn't have a vast range of voices and the speech pattern is almost the same for each character especially if they are reading lists of actions. It also seemed if there was a slight hesitation before pronouncing the Swedish words.

Currently THE BOMBER is the only title available in an audio version, which is a shame. There are three more Annika Bengtzon books available in English: STUDIO 69 (aka STUDIO SEX), PARADISE and PRIME TIME (09/06) and I plan to seek out the print versions in the near future.

Read another review of THE BOMBER.

Karen Meek, England
June 2006

Karen blogs at Euro Crime.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 14/01/2012 10:47