Vanished is the third book in Swedish crime fiction author Liza Marklund’s excellent series about news reporter Annika Bengtzon – following The Bomber and Studio Sex (aka Exposed). It has previously been published as Paradise, but has been retranslated and republished as Vanished. The improvement in language is, in my opinion, quite noticeable.
We meet Annika Bengtzon in the wake of the hardships she suffered in Exposed. The action in Vanished takes place about two years later. She is still trying to piece her life back together following the violent death of her fiancé. She now works night shifts as a copy editor in the Evening Post. As we catch up with her, she is finishing off a successful job involving a hurricane that has swept across Sweden, leaving chaos in its wake.
Now, two men lie dead in Stockholm harbor, shot in the head. And a young woman runs for her life from a relentless, invisible killer. Also, a cargo of cigarettes, worth 50 million Swedish kroner has disappeared.
Annika is contacted by a lady who wants her to write about a new private foundation called Paradise. Paradise is dedicated to helping people that need to disappear, and the lady turns out to be its founder. Paradise claims to be able to wipe people’s records, make them untraceable, and – if need be – even relocate them to a different country and set them up there. It sounds very interesting, and for Annika, covering the story of Paradise may well be just the break she needs.
However, when Annika meets the woman, Aida, who is trying to run away from the Mafioso behind the cigarette smuggling, she gives her the secret telephone number to Paradise in order to help her hide. Big mistake! A few days later the woman is murdered, and Annika is starting to realize that Paradise may be something very different from what she initially thought. With another life on her conscience, Annika sets out on a dangerous journey to find the truth about Paradise.
The main plot in Vanished is exciting and tense. The side stories about Annika Bengtzon‘s private life – both her family life and her new romance – are woven nicely into the main story. Vanished is also written with lots of passion, energy and force by Liza Marklund, and the story is fast-paced and intriguing, with nice twists and turns. I like this book a lot – I am fascinated by Annika Bengtzon, who is a very interesting and compelling crime fiction heroine – and I also find the way Liza Marklund builds suspense to be excellent.
Vanished is a great crime novel, very entertaining, and one that I strongly recommend!