In a blistering action start to the novel Lifetime, cops Nina Hoffman and Andersson are called to a suspected shooting on Bondegatan. Nina realises the address is that of a colleague Julia and her husband, Sweden’s most famous police officer, David Lindholm. They find David dead shot twice once in the head and once in the groin. Julia is in a distraught state covered in blood, telling Julia that the “other woman” has taken their young son Alexander. At the same time investigative journalist Annika Bengtzon’s house has been firebombed and she has escaped with only the clothes she stands up in, and more importantly her children, Kalle and Ellen. Annika’s husband Thomas has left her for a colleague, blonde Sophia Grenborg.
No two women could be less alike. Sophia was everything Annika despised, mainly because she could never be like her: educated, feminine and well mannered. And Sophia enjoyed sex, unlike frigid Annika.
When Annika seeks help from her friend, Anne Snapphane she is rejected as Anne is more concerned in keeping a young lover in her bed. Annika has to readjust her dysfunctional life, care for her children, and work out the tangled business affairs that must be behind the murder of David Lindholm. But the Swedish legal system has decided that his wife Julia is the guilty party and that she has also murdered her son.
While all this is going on the editor-in-chief of the Evening Post Anders Schyman faces the problem of getting rid of 60 employees, and Thomas is struggling with his parliamentary work on the use of lifetime sentences for criminals. This novel is a mine of information about Sweden’s criminal justice system, and it is quite nice to know that this socialist democracy seems to be almost as big a shambles as our own country.
‘I’ve been expelled,’ the head of news said. I forgot to pay my sub.’
‘That’s a bit mean of them,’ Schyman said. ‘
Sixteen years in a row,’ Spike said. ‘I have to say I don’t blame them.’
I always enjoy the Annika Bengtzon books, and this one was no exception, because the characters seem like real human beings with an array of flaws. Annika is certainly a very jealous vindictive woman in Lifetime, and this is part of her charm and attraction. She is a real woman, who shows real emotions, and is neither a complete door mat nor a superwoman. Annika, like many women in real life, does seem to have slightly shaky judgement when it comes to her men, because Thomas is an obnoxious self important bastard. I do hope they don’t get back together, Annika deserves better.
Practically every murderer these days claimed to suffer from some sort of psychological disorder.
If they didn’t hear voices, they were on anabolic steroids or blamed poor potty-training and broken toys when they were little.
Lifetime is another great addition to this addictive series, and I can’t wait for the next Annika Bengtzon book, The Long Shadow to be published in September.