A mother found. A father lost.
In the midst of a Swedish winter, a young mother is found murdered behind her son’s nursery. Halfway across the world, in the sweltering Kenyan heat, a government official is kidnapped.
As a journalist, Annika Bengtzon is often on the frontline, witness to the darkness humans are capable of. But this time it’s different. It’s personal.
The official held to ransom is her husband and she must meet the extreme demands of his kidnappers if she is to bring him home. And what of the Swedish mother slain in the snow? Until her killer is found, no one is safe…
In Marklund's meandering ninth Annika Bengtzon thriller (after 2014's The Long Shadow), the Swedish reporter pursues a story for the Stockholm newspaper Evening Post, trying to determine whether a serial killer is responsible for the death of a young mother whose body is found near a nursery school. Meanwhile, Annika's newly reconciled husband, Thomas Samuelsson, has volunteered to attend an EU conference in Kenya. But during a trip to the Somali border, all seven delegates are kidnapped by rebel soldiers, who threaten to execute the delegates unless their exorbitant ransom for each hostage is met. The uneven action awkwardly moves from the overly graphic torture of the hostages to Annika's efforts to deal with home, work, the kidnappers, and the political ramifications. While Annika remains a strong, intriguing character, the grueling scenes in Kenya overwhelm the exhausting plot.