on 18 November 2011
This is the third book by Liza Marklund that I've read, after discovering the author fairly recently. This one was set before The Bomber but after Exposed and like the others was an excellent read. I'm very glad that I read Exposed first though, as this one mentioned in some detail some of the events of that book and would have spoiled it a little for me. This book was about the murder of a TV personality that could have been committed by any one of twelve people who were present in a castle where a TV show was being made. The reporter Annika is digging into it from the start and this time has a personal interest as her friend is one of the twelve people involved. There was a lot more going on besides the murder, with newspaper politics and Annika's personal life making a good background to the main story. Like the other books that I've read by the author, this was very atmospheric and well written.
on 6 July 2016
After buying one of the books in Sweden, while being there on holiday I ended up buying this whole series written by Liza Marklund.
I did not realise that it was part of a series when I bought it in Sveg. I liked it so much that I did a search to learn more about the author and to see if she had written more books. What a suprise to find that the book I had bought was part of a series. I went on Amazon and bought most of the series (1-9) secondhand. Each one of them looked in great condition, so I ended up with a great buy.
When I finished book 9 I expected to have book 10 and 11 delivered the next day. To my disappointment only book 11, the last in the series arrived. After checking my account here on Amazon I noticed that I must have made a mistake and did not properly placed the order for book nr 10. Not willing to wait any longer I ordered that one in a e-book version for reading on my kindle. This shows how much I love reading this series. So much so that I look forward going to bed because there is where I do the most of my reading. I fear the moment when I have finished book nr 11. Lets hope that I will be willing to stumble upon another series in the Swedish Crime style which will give me just as much reading pleasure as this series has done so far.
There are enough other reviews going in more detail about the content of this book: Prime Time, so I will not bother you with that.
All I can say is, if you like Swedish Crime style books, I highly recommend this series.
Love the main Character Annika.
There are 11 books in this series and I am currently reading nr 10.
on 18 April 2012
I had started with The Bomber and then back-tracked to Exposed, both of which I thought were very good. However, I struggled to enjoy Prime Time. It seemed like an Agatha Christy Ten Little Indians, where one of a group of Production crew for a TV series must have been the killer of the leading actress. Annika Bengtzon is assigned the journalist scoop and through investigative journalism, otherwise called, Police-work, seeks to solve the mystery. The problem with the book was that the characters were superficial and dull such that after the half way mark, I couldn't really care which one of them committed the crime. I did struggle to reach the Columbo like ending where the suspects were all gathered together for a final show and tell. Overall- below par.
on 18 May 2012
Annika Bengkston rides again, with a thriller that drags you along to the exclusion of other activities - unputdownable indeed! - and in passing gives insights into print and TV journalism and how they work, though in light of current revelations in UK, one wonders exactly how much the very ethical stance potrayed herein extends through journalism. Don't start reading this unless you have time to finish it.
on 21 July 2014
It lacked depth - comparatively speaking. When stacked against Jo Nesbo, Asa Larsson, Hakan Nessor for instance, the psychological intricacy wasn't there. I found it to be an also-ran predictable piece about TV show prominence and shallow ambition. Had it not appeared under the "Nordic Noir" umbrella, it would not have been a buying choice - I expected more.
This is the fourth of the series featuring the investigative journalist Annika Bengtzon, originally published in in 2002 and translated into English by Ingrid Eng-Rundlow. After completing 418 pages, we have three pages of Acknowledgements that include everything from insider trading, through ‘the obligations of an editor-in-chief’ to the author’s make-up [five names!]. Agatha Christie might also have been included for several very obvious borrowings.
The events unfold between Friday-Monday, 22nd-25th June, coinciding with the Midsummer Eve celebrations. Annika is on the point of leaving with her partner, Thomas, and young children to celebrate on her in-laws’ holiday island when she is called to remote Yxtaholm Castle where a controversial television presenter, Michelle Carlsson, has been murdered during the filming of a prime-time series. The isolated nature of the location means that the killer is likely to be one of the twelve people staying at the castle. Amongst these is Annika’s friend, Anne Snapphane, a broadcast journalist working on the programme.
Thomas, a rather sulky individual who exemplifies man’s inability to cope with the domestic pressures of life, is furious that Annika will not join the family for the weekend which leads to scenes that smoulder throughout the book and allow Marklund to comment on society’s expectations of the working lives of men and women. Annika soon finds out that amongst the police suspects are a variety of people associated with the making of the programme, a British rock-star, a bimboesque TV actress, Carlsson’s agent, several unpleasant reporters and, rather bizarrely, a young neo-Nazi whose only purpose seems to be to provide the weapon.
Back at her newspaper’s offices severe strains are evident between the proprietor, the ineffectual editor-in-chief and his deputy, and several of the senior reporters. The author integrates these three story segments reasonably well but generally fails to develop the characters sufficiently to fully engage the reader.
As might be expected, many of the suspects have reason to hate the victim but the police investigation, led by a strange character called ‘Q’, makes little progress and it is Annika who eventually solves the crime with the killer being revealed on TV during a live programme to celebrate the life of Carlsson and promote the station. There is a great deal of information about TV programme-making, the cut-throat competition between media groups and the tensions within families and commercial organisations. The central importance of ethics within the media is emphasised and demonstrated, and seems rather more advanced [or, at least, adhered to] in Sweden than in the UK.
The police investigation is peripheral to the story and Annika’s own sleuthing is rather underwhelming with the result that there is little overall tension. Because of the references to Annika and Thomas’s back stories it might be better if this book were read in sequence. This is not one of the best of Marklund’s series and, at times, her extensive research seems rather indigestibly presented. Part of the trouble is that the translator has the characters talking in a manner that cuts across the Swedish setting [Annika exclaims ‘Holy moley!’ at one point, another character describes a ‘ruckus going on’ and a third to Michelle having to ‘eat crow’] although the latter is admittedly rather vaguely presented.
Judicious editing might have sharpened up the book [and removed such gems as ‘Two Philips flat-screens were humming with eternity’s journey through the universe’] and shaved some pages but, on the positive side, Marklund is very good at describing Annika, an apparently confident media professional who takes on board the criticisms of her partner and the coldness of her in-laws who obviously preferred their son’s wife and blame her for breaking up the marriage and lowering their son’s social and professional standing.
on 11 October 2013
And I immediately ordered the rest of the series. The protagonist, Annika, is a sharp Swedish journalist working the crime desk of a local tabloid. A call from the boss on the eve of Midsummers Eve holiday interrupts a complicated ferry trip to the unfriendly in - laws. Complications ensue when Thomas, her partner, is left with the task of dragging their two tiny toddlers without help. Annika goes back to the news room and is assigned to cover the overnight murder of Sweden's most popular TV presenter. Twelve suspects are being detained whilst the police try to ferret out the complex events and clues.
I loved this book because of its newsroom setting and the quite contemporary real life situations of its characters. I finished this book in one day.