A frosty December night in Stockholm. A thousand guests attend the prestigious Nobel Prizewinners’ dinner. The evening is one of prestige and glamour. Until two shots are fired on the dance floor. Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is there, covering the event for the Evening Post. As the police realize she caught a glimpse of the suspect, she is far more interested in getting back to the newsroom. But as more brutal murders follow, Annika finds herself in the middle of something far larger than she had anticipated. No longer just a reporter but also a vulnerable key witness, she begins to close up the gaps linking these crimes, just as the suspect starts closing the net on Annika herself…
Intrepid journalist Annika Bengtzon is back in the latest crime thriller by Swedish author Liza Marklund set in and around the world of medical academia and Nobel Prize selection. Annika not only finds herself witness to a shooting at the Nobel Prizewinner’s dinner but finds herself professionally ostracized from her job at the Evening Post unable to report on the events she has witnessed and placed on enforced leave. Needless to say Annika persists with her enquiries and as the body count rises finds herself embroiled in a plot amongst the higher echelons of the world of medical academia that leads to threats against her own life and that of her family.
With an incredibly multi-stranded story line I thoroughly enjoyed the depth of research that Marklund brings to this book in the realm of medical science and the intense rivalries and secrecy that exist amongst this group of elite scientific professionals and gratifying that there was such a good representation of women amongst this elite group. Throughout the course of the novel much is learnt about scientific investigations into diseases that continually defy cure such as MS, dementia and so on and Marklund effortlessly weaves what could be quite dense scientific jargon into easily understood and fascinating detail. She also sheds light on the whole convoluted process of selection for the accolade of the Nobel Prize and there is an incredibly interesting subplot centred around the life and scandals of Alfred Nobel’s life that is central to the main plot and the motivations of both victims and murderer.
Likewise we have a greater depth of characterisation of Annika who once again is juggling the demands of family and career but who is encountering extra personal stress carrying the knowledge of her husband’s infidelity, the problems that her young son is encountering at the hands of bullies and their move out of the city next door to a frankly deranged neighbour.There is also an intriguing ‘will she won’t she’ situation with the temptation of the gorgeous reporter Bosse who drifts in and out of the plot tempting our erstwhile heroine. Annika has much to deal with…
Marklund once again proves her credentials amongst the Scandinavian crime posse presenting the reader with not only a perfectly researched and gripping plot line where much can be learnt about a subject not normally addressed in the crime genre, but fuelling the plot with her wonderfully observed characters intermingling the constraints and challenges for Annika in balancing the demands of her job with her emotional life and the danger that this places her in. An excellent read.
‘Last Will’ to be published 27th September, Corgi
Visit the author’s website at: http://www.lizamarklund.com/
Read Maxine’s review here at Petrona: Last Will by Liza Marklund.
(Thanks to Transworld for the advance reading copy)