Muse's Books (muse_books) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Muse's Books

Books 47 & 48: The Lizard's Bite and Red Wolf

Book 47: The Lizard's Bite (Nic Costa 04) .
Author: David Hewson, 2006.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Paperback. 474 pages.

At the close of The Sacred Cut Roman detectives Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni were exiled to Venice as a reprimand for their behaviour. As their time there comes to a close they are assigned an apparently open-and-shut case involving a fire in a glass foundry belonging to the eccentric Arcangeli family that has claimed two lives. Of course, once they begin to investigate the family and the insular glass-making community on Murano they realise that things don’t quite add up. Under pressure from above to finish quickly so that British millionaire Hugo Massiter's property deal can be concluded, events spiral quickly out of control.

This was an absorbing, intelligent thriller that I enjoyed very much and could hardly tear myself away from.

Book 48: Red Wolf (Annika Bengtzon 05) .
Author: Liza Marklund, 2003. Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith, 2010.
Genre: Crime Thriller.
Other Details: Paperback. 508 pages.

Set about a year after the events in The Bomber, Annika is now working as an independent reporter focusing on stories about terrorism, its history and consequences. Her current project is about a 1969 terrorist attack on the F21 airbase in Lulea in northern Sweden in which no suspect was ever identified. When she arrives in Lulea she discovers that the reporter working on the same story that she'd arranged to meet there had just been killed in a hit-and-run accident. She soon discovers that this was no accident and other murders follow, all linked by enigmatic handwritten letters sent to the victims' relations. In addition, her marriage to Thomas is on the breaking point, mainly due to her refusal to slow down.

One of the difficulties with some European crime series is that they tend to be translated out of publication order. In addition with the Annika Bengtzon series, Marklund did not write them in chronological order. Therefore, the first book about the crime reporter, The Bomber, published in Sweden in 1998 is chronologically the fourth in the series. However, Red Wolf is the fifth in the series in both chronological and publication order. Marklund is quite canny in that while 'The Bomber' had been written pre-9/11, she did not specify actual dates; allowing this book, written and translated a number of years later, to take place one year after 'The Bomber' and refer to 9/11 without any serious timey-whimey anomalies to jolt the reader.

Marklund writes convincing characters and captures the austere beauty of Sweden with ease. As exciting as the central story was, I was also very keen to discover what would happen between Annika and Thomas as it was obvious in the previous book that their marriage was under considerable strain from her obsession with work.
Tags: crime fiction, police drama, thriller, translation

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