a death in sweden

A Death in SwedenA Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very enjoyable reading despite a number of flaws.

It’s hard to root for the Good Guy when you understand his profession, which is someone who works for intelligence agencies and governments to find people and send them off to one of those secret CIA prisons or two whatever venue his boss desires. For a lot of money.

The flaws are things like dialogue: it’s difficult to figure out who’s speaking as the punctuation is so badly done. There are rules for punctuating dialogue and they’re used for a reason.

And flaw of the premise: the Bad Guy, some Berlin-based station chief for the CIA, is systematically having former freelancers who worked for the CIA killed for no apparent reason. All of Good Guy’s friends, and of course, he is on the list. He has to figure out how to get off the list—which is one thread of the story. Bad Guy has to keep hiring freelancers because so many are getting killed—seems like kind of a bad policy for getting things done—I mean, sooner or later the pool of available hit men is going to dry up when it shakes out of the grapevine that if you work for Bad Guy, you’ll get murdered.

The other thread is that Good Guy is sent to Sweden to investigate the death of a guy in a bus crash. Turns out this guy wasn’t who everyone claimed he was. He was hiding in the woods of Sweden for years, and part of the plot of this story is to find out who he really was, why he was hiding, what he was doing—and finding this all out, solving the mystery of why he was doing it. Which is fine—this is the interesting part.

There is, of course, a Swedish bombshell involved (I guess a Good Guy would only fall for a bombshell, not a non-bombshell but intelligent woman, or maybe only bombshells work for the Swedish version of the CIA or whatever it’s supposed to be. Such a cliche—getting really tired of it.)

Just wonder, too, why bodies dropping all over Europe, cars being blown up, etc., never seem to get the attention of the local cops or newspapers. Also, there is no apparent rationale for several of the murders done by our Good Guy. And there is his current boss, Patrick, not sure at all where he fit in or what his company initials stand for. Best I could tell is he’s the placement guy for the Mercenary Spy Temp Agency.

I won’t go into much more about it, but I just wonder if some of the people in this story never heard of the internet or YouTube. You will figure out the answer to the mystery—that too is a bit of a cliche.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy reading this—I did. It was well-written enough for me to really get into it, and I will probably read more by Kevin Wignall.

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