Friday, March 30, 2012

BOOK REVIEW - A Boy in a Suitcase - Kaaberbol & Friis

Nina is a women with a passion to save those less fortunate for himself, even if this means that her own family incurrs a huge cost, monetarily or personally. She is asked to do a favour for an old friend which she finds difficult to refuse. Unfortunately, this leads to deadly consequences and the discovery of a small boy in a place where the title of the book suggests. Where did he come from? Should she go straight to the police? Nina has worked in Africa and in refugee camps and has seen how children returned to the very parents who sold them in the first place, for rich childless couples in the west, or for other less palatable reasons, sell them once again for a higher bid. Thus, she is hell bent on saving this young boy from a simliar fate.

I have just finished reading A Boy in a Suitcase - by Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis and can say that I was pleasantly surprised. I had not heard of these authors before and discovered them when reading several reviews on this book by other Nordic reviewers. Some commenters on those bloggers reviews felt that the authors had crossed a line when they wrote about abuse/crime involving children, however, the child is NOT the victim of sexual abuse in this story, and the actual crime comprises very little of what the story is about. 

"Socially aware,"Dorthe from says of the book, and it does have great descriptions to enhance the reader's viual imagery such as the detailed accounts of the gestures, grimaces and small movements of the characters, and the implications of them. 

More intriguing is the purpose and goal of this crime, and it was this that I found engaging, as the reader can early  on, ascertain the more likely suspects from the list of characters. The novel also gives readers an interesting insight into Eastern Europe and the lifestyle of the past generations. 

Certain elements of the ending confounded me, however, but perhaps I have watched too many American police or forensic shows where the crime is reconstructed to check the accuracy of the reports of those involved, to be wholly accepting of the dismissive actions of the women in the final scenes. 

I would ask the author why she chose to end the story that way. Did she have a limit on the size of the book, because I can see it taking a few more frustrating chapters to sort out the mess they had made.....

Summing up:
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

The Good: Wonderful descriptions and characters, great to find a new series with a new heroine.
The Bad:    The casual and somewhat abrupt ending and resolution - little irritating
The Ugly:   Reasons for a child trafficking/smuggling trade become all too salient.

Rating 3 out of 5


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