Red Wolf, by Liza Marklund (Bantam Press, RRP $40):
James Patterson and Harlan Coben are two of my favourite authors in the murder/thriller/ mystery/general mayhem genre, so when they have good things to say about another author, I take notice.
And they certainly have plenty of good things to say about Swedish crime writer Liza Marklund, who co-wrote Postcard Killers with Patterson last year.
This is the fifth book in her series featuring investigative journalist Annika Bengtzon but don’t be put off if you haven’t read the others: each novel works well as a standalone story but each story flows effortlessly from the previous book.
I’ve read the books completely out of order but have still enjoyed them.
This time around, Annika is still recovering from the trauma she suffered in the last novel (I won’t say too much about that in case anyone reading this might want to actually read some of the earlier books in the series).
Her experiences prompt her to decide to write a series about terrorism, looking back at Sweden’s history of political protests during the 1960s and 70s.
Research on a terrorist attack on a military airport leads Annika to another journalist working on the same story but when that journalist fails to turn up for their planned meeting it seems he has been the victim of a hit and run acci- dent.
However, she soon discovers that his death was no accident and from there the action builds as the body count grows with a series of brutal murders all linked by handwritten letters sent to the victims’ families and Annika quickly realises those murders are all linked to the story she has been working on.
Liza Marklund is one of those writers who can tell a very complex story in a quite uncomplicated way, which is a real talent and probably the reason she is so often compared to Stieg Larsson.
James Patterson has said of her work: “Pick up a Liza Marklund book, read it until dawn, wait until the stores open, buy another one.”
That pretty much sums it up nicely.