The Long Shadow is the eighth North American release in Liza Marklund's Annika Bengtzon series.
The Long Shadow picks right up from the last book, Lifetime. Annika's personal life is in shambles - her husband has left her for another woman, he has custody of their children and her home has burned down. She's just learned that she'll now be reporting to a man who used to be her subordinate at the Swedish newspaper she works at.
She's sent to Spain to report on the death of a former Swedish national. It looks like they were originally just targets of the latest European crime wave - pumping gas into the victim's home until they pass out, then robbing them. (This is frighteningly true!) But something went wrong this time - he and his family have been killed. Or was it deliberate?
Annika is a tireless reporter. Or perhaps obsessive is a more apt description. She's headstrong, impulsive and plunges headlong into her stories, often to her own detriment. But, she trusts her own instincts and follows them regardless. It often pays off - she saved the life a young boy in the last book. And this time is no exception. Annika knows this current story is much deeper than her editor thinks. When he wants her to move on to other pieces, she lets him believe she has - then pursues her own leads.
Marklund's plots are quite detailed and intricate. I do enjoy her style as it really keeps the reader engaged and on their toes. Having followed the series, I was easily able to keep up with the players and past references. But new readers might find the number of characters, established relationships and connections a mite confusing. Much of this book's plot is tied to previous cases. An interesting twist is slowly revealed through flashbacks to someone's childhood.
Woven throughout is the secondary storyline of Annika's personal life. I think Marklund has handled and written this very well throughout the series. . Although I've heard some other readers remark that this secondary storyline muddies the waters of the main plot, I disagree. I quite like seeing the two sides of Annika's life - personal and professional. For me, it makes the character more realistic and believable when we see vulnerability in such strong personality.
The setting was brought to life with detailed descriptions of ex-pats and luxury. And corruption and crime.
This is an excellent series with a character I quite like, even though she's not always likable. Definitely recommended. I'll be watching for the next in the series. Read an except of The Long Shadow. And on a side note, I was thrilled to discover that the Annika books have been made into films. And my library carries them! You can find Liza Marklund on Facebook .