The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis – Audiobook Review

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Published in audio by AudioGO, published in print by Soho Crime


Sigita’s life revolves around her three year old son, Mikas, particularly now that she and his father are separated. When she wakes up in the hospital with a concussion and an improbable blood alcohol level, her first thought is naturally for her son. At first it seems his father may have picked him up – a strange and worrisome enough possibility – but it soon becomes clear that Mikas has been abducted by someone unknown, and that his disappearance is related to his condition. Panicked, Sigita is determined to do anything possible to find her son and bring him home safely.

Meanwhile, in Denmark, Nina Borg – an activist and member of a shadowy network dedicated to helping immigrants – has been asked to do an odd favor by her estranged friend Karin. She is to pick up a suitcase from a locker at the Cophenhagen train terminal and absolutely refrain from opening it in public. When she is able to open the suitcase, Nina finds a small boy inside, drugged but alive. The next thing she knows, Karin is dead and she fears for her own life and that of the boy.

Thoughts on the story:

Early on in the story, The Boy in the Suitcase seems very disjointed. The story jumps from Lithuania to Denmark and back again and readers who are unfamiliar with the Scandinavian and Eastern European names may wonder if they will ever understand what is going on. Before too long, however, we get to real meat of the story and it becomes difficult to put down. Both Nina and Sigita have secrets in their past that lend special significance and panic to the situation they are facing, making The Boy in the Suitcase a psychological thriller as much as it is the more straightforward thriller it appears to be. Despite a few very minor plot holes, it is an incredibly engrossing story, and yet not nearly as psychologically damaging as I imagined a story about a little boy stuffed in a suitcase would be.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Katherine Kellgren’s narration of The Boy in the Suitcase shines. Her accents are wonderful, as is her differentiation between characters. At points she is so subsumed into Kaaberol and Friis’s story that her voice reaches a frantic, fevered pitch that is impossible for a listener to ignore.


The Boy in the Suitcase is a darkly fascinating book, and a wonderful example of the Scandinavian crime genre, full of strong, smart women. I imagine that it works very well in print, but it is an absolute gem in audio. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Print*
Indiebound: Print*

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Source: Publisher.
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9 comments to The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis – Audiobook Review

  • I remember those scenes of “fever pitch” you mention. They are really unforgettable. I’m glad you enjoyed this book as much as I did.

  • Wow, it sounds like this one is very engrossing!

  • JP

    I’m so glad this one was good! I received it for review this week, and I’ll start it probably the week after next (once I finish my current audiobook: Tempest).

  • I’ve read a couple of other reviews about this one and like you was a little nervous about a story about a kidnapped child who winds up in a suitcase. But, you made it sound so interesting and so rich with detail…I’m still not completely sold on audiobooks…I’ve listened to some really good ones and wanted to poke my eyes out listening to really bad ones. This one sounds like a perfect audiobook though…the narrator can either make or break even the best book, don’t you think?

  • Kim

    I’ve not read any Scandinavian mysteries yet, but after reading this blog post I’m definitely going to try them. Most of the contemporary mysteries I’ve read have been cozies and amateur sleuths, but that will soon change…:).

  • I haven’t read any of the ‘Scandinavian mysteries’ yet, but my librarian was talking about this one and I had to look it up. It sounds really good and I am hoping to get to it soon. I am glad you also liked it!

  • I read this one and really liked it. And like you said, it’s surprisingly undisturbing for a book about a kid stuffed into a suitcase, and once you get into it it really feels like it could be taking place anywhere.

  • Fantastic thoughts on this and adding to the audio “MUSTS!!!”

  • Great review. This is on my tbr list and I am looking forward to reading it in the future.