It's harder than I expected to review Nobels Testamente, #6 in the Annika Bengtzon series, because it's really three books in one. The surface story is a fairly conventional thriller set in the world of Swedish biotech research. the thriller and the history were OK, but, as usual in the Annika Bengtzon books, the thing that really grabs you is her descriptions of everyday life, in particular the heartbreak of being a working mother. It becomes clear that Kalle, her six year old, is being bullied by the bigger kids in his class. Thomas starts working longer and longer days, concentrating on his new career at the Justice Department. Thomas tells them to call Annika, who's supposed to be free that day, but her mobile is switched off. Annika, who's been out sleuthing, suddenly remembers her mobile is off. She makes it home, and finds a tearful Kalle and a stony-faced Thomas. She spends the rest of the afternoon fussing over Kalle and feeling terrible. Thomas feels Annika has let him down there too. Next afternoon, when she goes to pick up Kalle from school, she has a word with his teacher. Things are difficult at work. And there are terrible consequences, more terrible in fact even than Annika has been expecting. The better Liza Marklunds are an acceptable substitute, and according to several Swedish sources they will start filming this one at the beginning of 2011.
I know that statement sounds silly, but Liza Marklund through her investigative journalist Annika Bengtzon brings the tension of the world alive. When you are talking millions of dollars of research grants floating around, you are going to bring out the worst in a lot of people. I do not think most people realize how much money is floating around the research world if your work is successful, and more importantly, first.
The printed newspaper she works for, has laid her life on the line for, gives her a sense of identity, is giving way to new media forms, which gives her a sense of instability, along with her boss and co-workers. Annika must have her investigative reporting to hold herself together. Representing her paper, Annika is having a dance with a reporter from the competition, when a woman is shot. The Annika Bengtzon books are raw and violent, with non-stop tension. Last Will is an interesting read for the information of the Nobel Prize, but the characters are the strong part of this series.
In this sixth book, we find Annika attending the Nobel Prizewinners dinner in Stockholm, covering this glamorous and prestigious event for the tabloid Evening Post newspaper. Further murders occur, and Annika starts to trace the links between the crimes, but remains in a difficult situation as a reporter who is also a key witness to events. I like the short chapters that jump about so that at one moment we hear about Annikas family life, then about the situation in the newspaper offices, then about what the killer or suspect is up to; this keeps the novel very engaging, fresh and pacy to read.
In the sixth book following newspaper reporter Annika Bengtzon, Last Will is a focus on the famous Alfred Nobel and his contributions to the development of the Nobel Prize awards. In the opening chapter Annika is witness to the shooting of one of the Nobel prize committee members Caroline Von Behring. This puts Annika right in the middle of the police investigation as she is the key eyewitness to the shooting. The shootings at the Nobel Peace Prize event is just the beginning of numerous others, and as the body count raises, the deeper involved Annika gets, but are the police going to be able to arrest the murderer before Annika gets too deeply involved?
I understand that I might have been more in tune with Annika had I read the book that came between The Bomber and this one, but I still find it hard to fathom a way that I could ever have been excited about the story as presented here.
She becomes a witness to the murder of Christine von Behring who was the chair of the committee to select the prize for medicine. As a witness who came eye to eye with the killer, Annika can't wait to get back to the newspaper to write her story.
Intrepid journalist Annika Bengtzon is back in the latest crime thriller by Swedish author Liza Marklund set in and around the world of medical academia and Nobel Prize selection.
Being Annika, she cannot find satisfaction in unpacking and settling into their new home, and she manages to begin investigating the murder and gets deeper into the workings of the Karolinska Institute, which hosts the Nobel Prize programme.
On the cover, however, it does say, "Twists and turns you never see coming". Well, the twists and turns there may have been but they left me cold.
Scandinavias undisputed queen of crime fiction, Liza Marklund is the No. 1 international bestselling author of the Annika Bengtzon series. Liza co-wrote the international bestseller The Postcard Killers with James Patterson, making her the second Swedish author ever to reach No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Liza Marklund worked as an investigative news reporter for ten years and as an editor in print and television news for five.