I have found that understanding how another country perceives crime and justice helps me understand their culture. One of the ways I do that is by reading crime novels set in other countries or cultures. In reading this book about a Swedish police detective, Ewert Grens and his investigation into a horrifying murder it was quite interesting to see both the similarities and differences in the way we think and feel about these issues.
Ewert Grens is a bit of an oddity in the Swedish police force. Persistent and ruthless in getting to the truth, he is not interested in the political machinations of getting ahead, he only wants to solve the crime and arrest those who are responsible. So when he is assigned a case involving a horrifying murder he begins investigating with his usual intensity and soon is on the trail of someone he thinks is a ruthless psychopath.
What Grens doesn’t know is that the man he thinks is responsible for this murder is one of the Swedish police’s best undercover agents. A former con, Piet Hoffman (code name Paula) has infiltrated the Polish mafia who are trying to take over the Swedish prison system’s drug trade. It is Hoffman’s responsibility to get himself arrested and then use his time in prison to eradicate any competition and establish connections in the prison system to distribute the Polish mafia’s drugs. Once that mission is completed the police have assured him that they will arrest the Polish mafia and he will finally be freed from this double life, but Hoffman is a private citizen who was recruited in exchange for his freedom and he knows that if he is not careful his handlers in the Swedish police could easily deny his existence especially if something goes wrong.
Well, something did go drastically wrong, and now Hoffman is being pursued by a detective notorious for his thoroughness and persistence and Hoffman must find a way to elude him, prevent the Polish mafia from gaining a foothold in Sweden, and prevent the Swedish Police from denying his existence, all while still staying alive for his wife and family who have no idea he has been leading a double life.
Named Swedish Crime Novel of the Year in 2009, this suspenseful, relentless, and also very human story of two antagonists who are actually playing for the same team is an exciting tour de force. This writing duo, Roslund, a former journalist, and Hellstrom, a former criminal, have created a novel you cannot put down and are worthy of being placed in the same category as two other great Swedish crime novelists who I have also enjoyed, Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell. Read the book now before the movie, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Informer_(2019_film) comes out in August!
Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Marian, Keith, Ken and Sharon
Book Study Worthy: Yes
Read in ebook format