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Studio Sex: An Annika Bengtzon Thriller [Hardcover]

Liza Marklund
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Aug 2002 Annika Bengtzon Thriller
When freelance reporter Annika Bengtzon gets a call that a murdered woman's body is lying in a Stockholm graveyard, she knows immediately that this story might be her ticket to the permanent job she craves. Annika's position at the big-city tabloid is tenuous and her mother and boyfriend want her to come back to the local paper she has worked for, to stay near home and settle down. As she pursues the murderer, battling the male-dominated cliques of the newsroom, Annika must also overcome her own inexperience and the instincts that will draw her much too close to the story. "Studio Sex" is the prequel to Liza Marklund's international bestseller "The Bomber" that also featured Annika Bengtzon. "Studio Sex" inhabits the same cutthroat world of the tabloid reporter, rendered with precision and intelligence by Sweden's most popular novelist. But "Studio Sex" also introduces fascinating new terrain for most American readers, that of a political scandal in one of Europe's most solidly Social Democratic welfare states. When the political imbroglio seems to intersect with what happened at a Stockholm sex club, the cover-ups and switchbacks can be cherished by thriller readers the world over. Over the course of an unusually scorching Swedish summer, Annika Bengtzon will exhaustively follow every lead to uncover the murderer of the young woman in the graveyard. At the same time, she will also try to discover what she wants for herself and whether she has what it takes to survive and thrive as an investigative reporter. Her choices, her victories, and her mistakes make her one of the more complicated -- even fragile -- heroines to emerge in recent years.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (19 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743417860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743417860
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,109,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Exciting.... Fast-paced and filled with action."

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is tropically hot in Stockholm when the body of a young woman is found in a park. Annika Bengtzon, newspaper journalist with a temporary contract, is sent to the scene and tries to solve the case. The victim, Josefin Liljeberg, works in a nightclub, Studio Sex, which has the same name as an influential radio programme. Because Josephine is a striptease dancer the case is quickly regarded as a "typical murder of a hooker" until the minister of foreign trade comes into the picture as a suspect. In the end he even has to resign, but Annika is convinced that not he, but the owner of the nightclub, has committed the murder. Remains the question why the minister does not deny. Annika meets more and more people who have known Josefin, including her flatmate Patricia, and that only strengthens her belief that there is more to this case. Unfortunately most other people, including her colleagues at the newspaper, do not agree with her and in the end her temporary contract is not renewed and she has to leave the newspaper. But when Annika returns from a short holiday in Turkey she finds new evidence that proves that she was right after all. With this information she gets a job at the newspaper after all, but for this she has to pay a terribly high price in her personal life.

A typical Swedish thriller, worthwhile reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read 23 July 2011
By Pat
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Another great read from Marklund. This may not be the first Annika Bengtzon story written but it is actually the first book in the series, however I didn't read them in order and while it might tie in the odd snipit here and there, I do not feel it is a necessity to read them in order. The story is about the body of a young women found in a park. The main character, Annika, is a young reporter who is on a temporary contract with a newspaper and trying to prove herself. Getting to the bottom of this could be her big break, and way of getting into the newspaper permanently. While reading her story you do feel that Annika is more like a detective than a reporter as she digs and digs for the truth/a good story. Furthermore throughout the book we also read pages from a journal or diary, and you get the idea that you know who the diary belongs to however, be prepared for a twist that you won't see coming....

Another great Scandanivan thriller, and an author definitely worth reading.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a cunning Swede 29 May 2003
By Janica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It was for the very reasons PW and Booklist critiqued this book that I loved it. I'm not an avid mystery reader because I usually find mysteries shallow and contrived. Ok, it doesn't have any sex to speak of, and it doesn't race from start to finish, but Annika, the young reporter, is a very real character, not some exotic stereotype. I loved the scenes of her eating mushrooms with her grandmother, and felt like I was catching a glimpse of Sweden through the birch trees. I found myself looking forward to picking it up and reading. At times Annika reminded me of Smilla in Smilla's Sense of Snow, both women possessing a cool detachment that's seasoned with a heaping dash of empathy. I will definitely be reading Marklund's next book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and very European 8 Nov 2002
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Intern reporter Annika Bengtzon gets a call on the 'Creepy Calls' line and angles for a role in reporting the story. To her surprise, she gets the assignment and soon finds herself in the midst of the investigation. Through a combination of luck and hard work, Annika gains some insights into the case--tracking down facts that give her newspaper several scoops--but the case is more complicated that she first believes. Somehow a longstanding government corruption case is involved, and the competitive press starts pointing the finger at Annika--insisting that she was running planted news.
Set in Sweden and written by Swedish author Liza Marklund, STUDIO SEX feels European with a concern for international happenings that may seem, well, foreign to U.S. readers. Political intrigues play a role, and U.S. readers may be surprised by the apparent lack of privacy and protection that government officials are accorded. Marklund's insights into human reaction to death--the obsessive grief of many who barely knew the victim yet are now seeking a connection with her--ring true. Annika's battle with journalistic ethics--balancing respect for the dead and their families against the public's right to information--reflects the larger story.
The fundamental story of Studio Sex is that of the growing maturation of Annika as she battles her own demons and tries to get at the truth behind the death of the haunted victim. Marklund's paragraph introductions, showing a young woman's descent into sexual domination and abuse add a texture to the novel--a texture that strengthens rather than distracting from the story.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars engaging investigative tale 28 Aug 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A summer hire at the Stockholm tabloid Kvellspressen, Annika Bengtzon desperately wants to become a permanent reporter on the newspaper. Currently, Annika listens to crank calls on the paper's tip line in hopes of obtaining a legitimate story. One call Annika takes provides the locale of a naked raped dead girl.

Not expecting much from the tip as these usually turn out to be pranks, her editor sends Annika with a photographer to investigate. Instead Annika provides a strong story that earns her accolades from her boss. She continues her inquiries into the life of the victim as she feels that this story is her ticket to a permanent job with the newspaper. However, the case takes an absurd twist from the lover being the suspect to a high government official as a more likely murder candidate. As she follows that detour, Annika begins to uncover a cover-up conspiracy that if exposed could destroy Sweden's current ruling party's grip on the government.

STUDIO SEX, the prequel to THE BOMBER, is an engaging investigative tale that reads somewhat more like an amateur sleuth story because of the heroine's lack of experience. The story line provides plenty of insight into life in Sweden in various ways, but Annika fails to come across as the Swedish Woodward-Bernstein and this is not All the President's Men. Still the novel provides an intriguing conspiracy tale with the required sexual scenes, and a thorough look at Sweden making for an overall fine reading experience.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Swedish thriller with a number of twists and turns 5 Dec 2005
By Linda Oskam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is tropically hot in Stockholm when the body of a young woman is found in a park. Annika Bengtzon, newspaper journalist with a temporary contract, is sent to the scene and tries to solve the case. The victim, Josefin Liljeberg, works in a nightclub, Studio Sex, which has the same name as an influential radio programme. Because Josephine is a striptease dancer the case is quickly regarded as a "typical murder of a hooker" until the minister of foreign trade comes into the picture as a suspect. In the end he even has to resign, but Annika is convinced that not he, but the owner of the nightclub, has committed the murder. Remains the question why the minister does not deny. Annika meets more and more people who have known Josefin, including her flatmate Patricia, and that only strengthens her belief that there is more to this case. Unfortunately most other people, including her colleagues at the newspaper, do not agree with her and in the end her temporary contract is not renewed and she has to leave the newspaper. But when Annika returns from a short holiday in Turkey she finds new evidence that proves that she was right after all. With this information she gets a job at the newspaper after all, but for this she has to pay a terribly high price in her personal life.

A typical Swedish thriller, very worthwhile reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars Liza plots are well-crafted and easy to read 9 Nov 2012
By Maia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read all of Liza Marklund's books to be translated into English and have never been disappointed. I'm on the waiting list for her newest translation. (I have not read the joint product with James Patterson.) I met Liza during the 2012 US Mystery Bus Tour with other top notch mystery writers. She's a likeable, approachable person as well. I recommend starting with her first book and reading everything she's written.
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