This story jumps back and forth between many points of view and is really confusing. We have Nina Borg who is a Red Cross nurse who is notorious for getting in over her head in matters that really don't concern her. When her friend Karin calls and asks for her help, Nina discovers the suitcase with it's shocking contents and runs. Her husband is exasperated with her shenanigans and her children feel neglected. We have Sigita Ramoskiene who is Mikas' mother (the boy in the suitcase) who spends the entire book trying to figure out who took her son and why. She is really the heroine of the story not Nina as indicated on the jacket. We have Jan Marguart whose intentions we only find out late in the book (so I won't ruin the surprise). We have Jucas a man in this situation all the way up to his eyeballs and Barbara his unsuspecting though complicit girlfriend. And of course we have the Dane, a mystery man who seems to be the bad guy throughout.
The first chapter grabbed me and hooked me regardless of the fact that I had trouble keeping track of who was who. Once I finally figured that out and what the heck was really going on, I was enthralled and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish the book which has an exciting though controlled conclusion. This is a series book and it sets up for the next. Though the series is about Nina and not the boy in the suitcase. I liked Nina though she was "lost" throughout most of the book and will definitely be reading further installments.
This is a fast paced read that will keep you up reading and reading! At first I had trouble keeping all the characters straight, but as the story progressed and their roles were more definitive, that was much easier. I enjoyed that the story line was not what I was expecting... love plot twists and turns. As much as I enjoyed the book, I did feel the ending was flat, that the wrap up was almost an afterthought.
A very entertaining read. Nina (a person who thinks she can save the world, one person at a time) is contacted by an old friend (Karin) and asked to pick up a package at the train station.
The surprise (as indicated by the title) is that the package (a suitcase) has a three year old boy "stuffed" in it.
The mystery takes many twists and turns and eventually leads Nina to unravel many interesting facts. However, when Karin is found dead, Nina begins to believe that she may be in over her head.
The story takes many paths and is anything but predictable. Towards the end the book is very difficult to put down. It kept me in suspense the entire time. The ending was NOT what I expected and although I know the ending, I will re-read this book some time in the future.
Riding on the coattails of the translated "Milennium Trilogy" and "Harry Hole" series comes this work from Danish authors. Aside from the terrifying title, this book is a tepid mystery with very little in terms of character development. It takes a few long chapters before the said "boy in suitcase" even makes an appearance. If the reader is even paying the slightest attention, the boy's identity is obvious. The underlying plot lacks the menace it deserves, possibly due to a poor translation?
The female protagonist, Nina, is underdeveloped. Her "secret" is revealed too late in the book. Her neurotic tendencies are told in unflattering, unloveable terms from family members who have grown tired of her behavior. This is not a character who seems capable of carrying any series.
Who Done It?, June 2, 2013
By Colonel Frank Stech
This mystery was a runner-up for the Scandinavian Glass Key Prize while competing against "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." If you read them both, you can see the judges made the right choice.
The bad news: If "The Girl" is too long and too wordy, "The Boy" is far too spare and too visual. Kaaberbøl and Friis write pretty good chapters, but they never really transition them well, and we see their characters on the run, moving too fast and too unpredictably, across too many scenes and settings, to ever feel we know what might be going on, or why. Unlike the Hitchcock films of elegantly random mystery and violence, we don't have any individuals on whom to focus, just shadowy characters always in motion. Not only are the good guys hard to identify, or identify with, the bad guys are way too easy to spot, both coming and going. Until the very end, we have almost no idea what is really going on, even though almost every sub-plot turn is easily predictable. I felt like the three-year-old boy in the suitcase; whatever this is that is going on, it isn't going to be good. Kaaberbøl and Friis have written a frustrating, weak, unfinished novel.
The good news: It won't take a Hitchcock to make this a fine film thriller. The visual action, the two-dimensional characters, the jumpy scene and setting changes, will readily translate this Nordic Noir tale onto the screen. In a book we need to know something about and care a bit for the people and places, and we need a real plot, not just motion and color. On the screen we just need to watch and we fit it all together in our imaginations, the McGuffin driving the plot can be any old thing, as log as it keeps moving. Kaaberbøl and Friis have written a great screenplay.