Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Boy In The Suitcase

The Boy In The Suitcase
Authors: Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis
Soho Crime, 2011
323 pages

This amazing thriller comes from Denmark. It was actually published a few years ago, and was a finalist for the Scandinavian Glass Key, an award given annually to a crime thriller written by an author from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden. I've read online that it's part of a bestselling Danish series, and I really hope that others will be translated into English soon.

Main character Nina Borg is a Red Cross nurse who works primarily with refugees. She has a family of her own, but is passionate about her job to the point where she occasionally leaves her family to work in another country. When her old friend Karin asks for a favor, Nina reluctantly complies, even though she hasn't seen Karin in a while. In doing so, she comes across a suitcase with an unconscious little boy inside.

Other characters are introduced, and each chapter focuses on a different character. There's Jan, a wealthy Danish businessman who's stuck on an airplane and in a hurry to get back to Copenhagen, and Jucas, a temperamental Lithuanian thug who's in Denmark to do some sort of a job. Back in Lithuania, a young single mother named Sigrita is dealing with the disappearance of her three-year-old son, Miklas.

Of course, the characters are all interconnected, and it doesn't take long for us to know how. But we have to wait until the final pages of the book to find out why. Fortunately, you won't have to wait long to get to the final pages, because this is a fast read. So if you're thinking about reading The Boy In The Suitcase (and I think you should), plan a weekend or a day off where you can sit back for several hours and get it all done in one fell swoop. You will not want to put this one down. Not to eat, not to answer the phone/check email/Facebook/Twitter, and certainly not to sleep. When you do finally turn the last page, you'll finally be able to breathe again.

It's a fantastic story, and also a sort of mini-treatise on some of the social problems endemic to a "free" society. So in addition to entertaining you for several hours, The Boy In The Suitcase might also make you think about these issues. Who knows? Maybe you'll want to do something about them as a result of reading this book.

*****

This was Book #52 for 2011, and I'm well into Book #53 already. So I've broken the record I set last year, and I haven't slowed down yet. :)