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

Synopsis:

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.

Overall:

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*
Audible.com

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Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Learning to Swim by Sara J Henry – Book Review

Learning to Swim by Sara J Henry
Published by Crown, an imprint of Random House

Troy Chance is taking a ferry across Lake Champlain when she sees something fall from the ferry going the opposite direction. In the instant the bundle falls, she knows immediately that it is a child. Somehow she makes it to the child and pulls him to shore, after removing the sweatshirt that was tying his arms together so that he stood no chance of swimming. Troy bonds with the young French-speaking Canadian boy, Paul, almost immediately, and decides to protect him at all costs, keeping him with her instead of going to the police, and investigating his remaining family herself.

Troy is a fabulous character, and I sincerely hope to see more of her from Henry in the future. Not afraid to take risks, Troy follows her heart completely, even when by doing so she puts herself at risk. At the very least, her failure to report rescuing a young boy apparently thrown in the lake on purpose has the potential to land her in very hot water.

Learning to Swim is Henry’s debut novel, and she is off to a fantastic start. It is an incredibly compelling book with great plotting and fantastic characters. Parents of small children be warned, though. Henry’s characters are so realistic and her storytelling so seamless that a reading Learning to Swim a couple of hours before bed gave me a bad dream about a kidnapped child – interestingly, not my actual child, and not Paul from the book, but a generic baby that was ‘mine’ in the dream. If you really react badly to bad things happening to children, you probably should not reading Learning to Swim, although if you can handle it, the book is well worth a bad dream or two.

I highly recommend Learning to Swim, but make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: author.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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