Posted: May 19, 2013 in Book Awards, review, Scandinavia, Sweden

51FzH1ftowL._SL500_AA300_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.  

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – I’m very glad you enjoyed this. I agree completely that Annika is a very realistic character. And yes, she deserves better than Thomas. But then, if one remembers how they got together in the first place, it’s not surprising how things have turned out with them…

  2. Jose Ignacio says:

    I’m planning to read it soon. Thanks for a great review, as always, Norman!.

  3. kathy d. says:

    Interesting. I will read this ultimately if I ever slog through my TBR mountain and lists. I hope that Annika never caves in to her self-centered, egotistical, and cruel spouse.
    And, yes, what is so good about her character is that it is a more realistic portrayal of a person with career and personal problems and she is no perfect person. That makes the books attractive.

    P.S. The Ghost Riders of Ordebec is sheer perfection — how brilliant is Fred Vargas — and, oh, her wit! Unparalleled. I so wish the crime fiction readers over here would read her books and not the boring, formulaic stuff that’s on the New York Times “Bestseller lists.” My protestations make no difference but I worry about the level of reading that goes on here among much of the reading public.

  4. Sarah says:

    I completely agree about the ‘realness’ of the characters, Norman. I really enjoyed reading this one.

  5. Philip says:

    I thought Lifetime was great! Didn’t enjoy Last Will as much as some others but now can’t wait for A Place in the Sun

  6. […] At Crime Scraps, Norm reviews Liza Marklund’s latest novel, Lifetime, and finds it an exciting read with a very human woman protagonist (who he wishes had better taste in men). […]

  7. Peter says:

    I don’t know where else to post this, but I thought I’d let you know that I’ve just started reading Cardus on Cricket. I’ll hope to give you a report in Bristol.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

    • Norman Price says:

      Peter I will be at Crime Fest on Saturday and hope to see you there. I should be at Rhian’s New Blood panel unless I miss my early train. Cardus was a great author, and cricket before the days of 20/20, spot fixing, and garish coloured clothing was worthy of his writing skill.

  8. […] has been reviewed at Reactions to Reading (Bernadette), at Crimepieces (Sarah), at Crime Scraps Review (Norman), and at Reviewing the evidence (Barbara), among […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s