Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Nightmare by Lars Kepler

In the light of the long June night, on becalmed waters, a large pleasure craft is discovered adrift on Jungfrufjarden Bay in the southern Stockholm archipelago.

An image of a drifting boat raises a question. By the end of the page we learn a dead woman is on the boat, and thus ends a short prologue. Prologue hooks (though it's a bit of a cheap, hackneyed device: brief scene of violence to start things off) and there's still chapter one to review.

Chapter One

A cold shiver runs down Penelope Fernandez's spine.

But no shiver runs down mine and that's what I want when I read these kinds of books, and as I'm part of the "now culture", I want my shivers now, not on page 2, not on page 30 or wherever - but now. And where am I now? Meandering on the first page of chapter one.

What follows is some boring interview Penelope does on TV, which coincides with the first thing said. You be the judge of where this sits on the bore-o-meter.

"Penelope Fernandez, in several public debates you have been critical of the management of Swedish arms exports. In fact, you recently compared it to the French Angola-gate scandal. There, highly placed politicians and businessmen were prosecuted for bribery and weapons smuggling and given long prison sentences. But here in Sweden? We really haven't seen this, have we?"

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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