All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson

ChosenThe Chosen (Fredrika Bergman & Alex Recht #5)
Kristina Ohlsson
Simon & Schuster AUS
2015, 577p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The brand new thriller featuring Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht of the Stockholm police.

On a cold winter’s day, a pre-school teacher is shot to death in front of parents and children at the Jewish Congregation in Stockholm. Just a few hours later two Jewish boys go missing on their way to tennis practice. A heavy snowstorm hits Stockholm and the traces of the perpetrator are few and far between.

Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht are faced with one of their toughest challenges ever as they hunt for a killer that seems as merciless as he is effective. The leads in the investigation are many and diverse but in the end they all point to the same place: Israel. Someone or something called the Paper Boy keeps popping up in the police investigation. But who was he really? And could he possibly have resurfaced in Stockholm, now claiming new victims?

I really love this series. I chose the first book on a bit of a whim – European crime was popular and I hadn’t tried very many but was keen to. It wasn’t exactly what I expected but the story was utterly engrossing. Since then I’ve eagerly devoured each new installment as they are translated into English and published. This one arrived last year, when I had a lot going on and so I initially put it to one side, then I kind of forgot about it until last week when I was cleaning up my TBR shelf and found it. I immediately pulled it down to read and I think it was one of the best yet.

There has been a few changes – Peder no longer works for the police with Alex and Fredrika, however his appointment to a new position as head of security for a Jewish population in Sweden means that when two boys from within that community disappear and a preschool teacher is murdered by a sniper, he is thrown into contact with Alex and Fredrika again, who are investigating. All of them are glad to see each other, glad to be talking but all of them also realise that things are no longer the same. Alex and Fredrika are working together, gathering clues and trying to see whether or not these two crimes are linked and if so, why and how. Peder is on the outside, looking in – he can’t share in the information they discover, however he is able to give them information and share some of his theories.

Kids disappearing are so hard for me to read – anything that results in kids being treated horribly always sets me on edge. The situation that these two 10yo boys go through is awful and I really got sucked in to that, trying not to imagine too hard how I’d feel in that position. I found the attitudes of the parents concerned a bit unusual, and the reason for that began to unfold in a really interesting way. This story just kept growing, developing new facets and intricacies until it stretched all the way to Jerusalem and top secret type stuff. The author, Kristina Ohlsson is a former Counter-Terrorism Officer and it really shows. Everything about this book feels meticulously constructed, taking several events that look unrelated and slowly building evidence and information to create a compelling link. I love all of the ways that Alex and Fredrika investigate and piece things together. They’re very different and a lot of the time they kind of wander around doing their own things but they work so seamlessly together it’s almost like they’re two halves of a whole.

These books are always quite large – this one is close to 600 pages but I can honestly say that it never once felt like I was reading such a brick. I had a lot of trouble putting it down…..raced through probably the first 350p in one session and then finished the rest the next day. There’s something about the writing and the characters where it never feels like you’re in the middle of a huge book. The time seems to fly. There’s so much plot and detail and Ohlsson seamlessly blends the personal lives of the investigators into this as well. It’s never a huge part of the story but it’s always there, just ticking along in the background in small scenes that blend together to give you more information, more glimpses of their lives away from the murder and mayhem of their day jobs. With each book in the series I’ve come to know them more, their lives away from the job and how the job impacts on that part of them and their families. I actually kind of identify with Fredrika on a personal level as we have something in common, sort of and I find it refreshing to see a positive portrayal of a relationship such as hers.

I really loved this – the way in which it played out kept me riveted right to the end. I liked that you could put things together and sometimes be right and sometimes be wrong and have things kind of unfold at the same pace as the investigators so it never felt like it was too easy a mystery to figure out or that you were being left behind by great leaps of incomprehensible logic. I can’t wait for the next one.


Book #38 of 2016

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