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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Bomber by Liza Marklund

I had not heard of Liza Marklund or her novel 'The Bomber' and so had no particular reason to choose this book to read at this time, except that it was on special offer in ASDA, 2 books for £7.

The advertising précis on the back cover was another enticement telling me that;

Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is woken by a phonecall in the early hours of a wintry December morning. An explosion has ripped apart the Olympic Stadium, and a victim has been blown to pieces. As Annika delves into the details of the bombing and the background of the victim, there is a second explosion. When her police source reveals they are hot on the heels of the bomber, Annika is guaranteed an exclusive with her name on it. But it soon becomes clear the she has uncovered too much, as she finds herself the target of a deranged serial killer.”

Further comments such as “One of the most popular crime writers of our time” - Patricia Cornwell, “No one tells a story like Liza Marklund” - Karin Slaughter, “Nail-biting action and excitement” - Daily Express, and more on this theme added to the hype with the final catcher on the front cover; “All she wants for Christmas … to survive”.

The marketing departments of the publisher and the retailer had done their job.

Having just finished reading the novel unfortunately I am disappointed in it. It did not match up to my expectations.

It is an easy read and the descriptions are full and enlightening, where they needed to be. I liked the way that the dialogue was used to enhance the scene setting and move the story on where it needed to be. The plot as outlined could have resulted in an interesting and fast moving suspense story but unfortunately I found that the author took us on too many unnecessary detours. Too much time was spent describing the workings and internal politics within the newspaper which Annika the central character worked for. It was not directly relevant to the main story and I found it distracting. To a lesser extent I found that the time spent on detailing the family life of the heroine was more than was required to understand her and the pressures on her work life. This was no more than any other working mother and wife so was not a unique situation that required the many words written.

I think that the story could have been written a little tighter to the main story and in therefore in fewer words without any loss of emphasis of the central plot. The conclusion of the scenario is too weak, almost as if the author reached the point of thinking she had written enough and needed to finish it as quickly as possible in order not to go over a limitation of the total number of words to be published.

It was not a book that I found I had to keep reading and therefore difficult to put down. It was a pleasant read if not enthralling. I would neither recommend or dismiss it, if asked I will merely say I've read it. At some point in the future I may well give another Liza Marklund novel a try.

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