Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: The Boy in the Suitcase

The Boy in the Suitcase
By Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
Soho Crime November 2011

Nina Borg is a Red Cross nurse, but her passion is finding refuge for those no one else will help –illegal immigrants and victims of sex trafficking. When an old friend begs for her help, Nina can’t say no. She is prepared for something outrageous from Karin. But she is not prepared for the storage locker at the train station to contain a suitcase with a naked little boy in it.

Nina’s mind immediately jumps to sex trafficking and her motherly instincts kick in. She takes the boy and runs, desperate to find Karin and find out what is going on. As her husband and her own children wonder where she is, Nina searches for answers to who this boy is, where he came from, and who is chasing them.

I don’t read a ton of mysteries, but I enjoyed reading this one. The chapters are very short, which naturally leads you to just want to read one (or four) more. The mystery component is very good. I really had no idea what was happening until the end, which in my mind is the goal of a mystery writer.

The best part of this book, however, was the excellent characterization of Nina and her husband Morten. Their relationship was so interesting and authentic. He is understandably frustrated by his wife’s disappearances every time someone shows up in need. Nina herself struggles with her desire to help others over her own family.  She finds it hard to balance the passion she feels for the victims she encounters with her desire to be a good mother and wife. I think that there are a lot of good mysteries and mystery series, but the most important component is a really compelling protagonist.

There were only two things I had trouble with while reading The Boy in the Suitcase. Because the chapters are so short, the first few chapters are hard to keep track of since each one introduces a new character or characters. The only plot device that didn't work for me was the attempts of the authors to humanize the villain. I’m all for well-rounded characters and I think all of the other characters in this book are excellent. But in the case of this one character, it felt as if the two parts of their personality didn’t fit together.

All in all, I really liked The Boy in the Suitcase. Through the Soho Books website, I found out that this book is the first in a series.  I hope that the remainder will be published here in the US so that I can read about the rest of Nina’s adventures.

To the guys and gals of the FTC: I received this advance copy from a giveaway by Goodreads and Soho Books. 

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