This must be an exciting time for Liza Marklund. Postcard Killers, the thriller she wrote with James Patterson, will be released in the US on August 16th. And Red Wolf, her most recent book in the Annika Bengtzon series, will be released in UK October 14th, 2010, and in the US on February 15th, 2011 (it is already available for preorder both places).
Red Wolf is the fifth book in Swedish crime fiction writer Liza Marklund’s series featuring reporter Annika Bengtzon. It is set in the middle of a very cold spell during the Swedish winter. Annika is still recovering from the traumas suffered in The Bomber, and still struggles with anxiety.
Now she has arranged a meeting with a journalist up in the northern Swedish town of Lulea about an old case of terrorism – a terrorist attack on a military airport named F21 by a group that called themselves The Beasts. However, when she arrives in Lulea to meet him, she is told that the journalist has been killed in a hit and run accident. It doesn’t take Annika long to find out that he has been brutally murdered.
Annika Bengtzon, an experienced crime reporter, suspects that the murder is linked to an attack against a nearby air base in the late sixties – the case she came up there to talk about. She makes a few small findings and starts to pursue them. And as more people are killed she uncovers evidence that links the killings: A mass-murderer is one the loose in Sweden. Seemingly one of the terrorists that were involved in the attack on F21 – a man who has since fled to France, and who is a known assassin – has now returned to Sweden and is behind the brutal murders. He was the leader of The Beasts and used to be code-named Dragon.
But who is Dragon? And who were the other members of the group – in particular Red Wolf? And why has Dragon returned to Sweden and started to kill people? While Annika investigates and increasingly finds herself drawn into a spiral of violence, she also – by accident – finds out that her husband is having an affair with a colleague. And when she tells her editor what she has found out, including evidence that suggests the case involves a member of the sitting Government, he tells her to stop investigating and drop the case.
Annika disregards the order from her boss. She is persistent and stubborn, and continues her investigation. Soon she finds that she has been betrayed by her editor for political gain, and is able to connect the dots and move in even closer to Dragon, the terrorist cell, and the well-hidden secrets of the past. She is determined to find the truth and expose the people involved in the atrocities. To achieve this, Annika is again forced to fight for her career, for her life against a deadly psychopath, and this time for her marriage as well.
Red Wold is a remarkable and very good crime fiction novel, with an excellent, very exciting plot. Liza Marklund’s writing is fast-paced, direct, and very good. She masterfully builds suspense and when she releases it, it is with a bang. The ending is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book – Red Wolf is one of the best Scandinavian crime fiction books translated into English this year.