Title: The Boy in the Suitcase
Author: Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis
Series: Nina Borg
Date of Publication: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Soho Crime
Nina Borg’s old friend Karin gives her a key and tells her to follow her vague instructions, to go to the train station to pick up what’s in a locker, no questions asked. When Nina does this, she finds a suitcase with a tiny three-year-old boy inside. He’s still alive. Nina hurries back to Karin to demand answers, but she discovers that her friend has been brutally murdered. Nina knows that her life–and the little boy’s–are also in danger.
The book begins by providing the points of view of several seemingly unconnected characters in quick succession. It was confusing, and not at all representative of the rest of the book, which was much easier to follow. One of the characters that we follow from the beginning is Sigita, the mother of the little boy who was abducted.
The book is very fast-paced, but there are quite a few (quick) flashbacks that bog down the storytelling. The story probably could have been told in a hundred fewer pages. There is one twist in the novel, which is revealed towards the end; however, it’s quite predictable, with the clues clearly laid out so that I saw it coming less than halfway through the book. That said, the storytelling is intriguing and it’s a very quick read.
I did find that the characters were hard to relate to. Told in third-person perspective, we never truly get into the heads of the characters–not even Nina, the main character. I didn’t quite find that the emotions that different characters were feeling were carrying through in the writing. For example, Sigita wasn’t panicking enough for my liking. If my child was kidnapped I’d probably spend about twenty minutes rolling on the floor in pure terror. Especially considering the circumstances surrounding her child’s abduction. She didn’t really think her husband had taken him. She knew from the start that he was taken by strangers.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to dip their toes into a Nordic Noir mystery, but doesn’t know where to start. It isn’t as dark as others I’ve read, and it’s much easier to follow–both because of the writing style and because there aren’t quite as many different characters to keep track of.
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