MARKED FOR LIFE by Emelie Schepp (Jana Berzelius #1)
Publisher: Harlequin Australia ( Mira)
Genre: Nordic thriller / procedural thriller
Series: Jana Berzelius
Find the book here: Amazon | Bookdepository
The astounding success ofNordic thriller continues unabated and I, like many other passionate readers, I can't be happier. The debut of the talented (and very beautiful) Swedish writer Emelie Schepp, landed in the United States where, despite fierce criticism related to poor quality of translation from Swedish, is having a huge succes.
MARKED FOR LIFE, the first installment of the trilogy of Jana Berzelius, the icy and mysterious Public Prosecutor and protagonist of the series, is set in Sweden. An intricate and chilling procedural thriller that turns the spotlight on an extremely hot and actual topic in Europe at the moment: illegal immigration and human trafficking.
Hans Juhlén, head of the Immigration Department, was killed at his home in Norrköping, Sweden. The Public Prosecutor Jana Berzelius is put in charge of the investigation that lead to the discovery of well hidden threatening letters and to a large amount of money that was withdrawn from Hans bank account every month. He was perhaps blackmailed? Investigations continued and bring to light quite bizarre clue, on the window from which the murder escaped, a small fingerprint is suggesting that the murder could have been committed by a child . And is of a boy, the lifeless body that was found shortly after with the murder weapon. No identity and no idea of ho he is and where he comes from. Only one name, that of a Greek god engraved on the neck, the same type of incision that the icy prosecutor Jana Berzelius is hiding since she was a child beneath her perfect long black hair. What they might have in common Jana and this boy? Two parallel investigations are held, those of police officers and those private of the prosecutor, who is determined to discover the origin of her engraving and her past who haunts her with terrible dreams but that she cannot remember ...
MARKED FOR LIFE is a self-published book. If I had known from the start that the novel was self-published probably I would have start reading in a way a little bit more skeptical, which would prove to be then completely unfounded because this debut novel captures the reader from the first page with an original and compelling story.
The reflectors are all aimed at Jana Berzelius, the enigmatic protagonist of the story and to which the whole trilogy is dedicated.
Jana is a very successful Prosecutor, dedicated to work and with a little trouble relating to others due to a personality who by nature makes her cold-harted and detached. Grew up in a family where failure is not contemplated and affection and love were not present, Jana was raised with the intention of following his father's footsteps in turn renowned and respected prosecutor. For this has become a successful woman, precise, organized and totally unable to feel or show emotion. From hair to posture, everything according to Jana is precise and exactly as it should be.
At least until the boy's body is discovered and her composure mask becomes difficult to maintain.
Plagued by recurring nightmares as a result of an accident which deprived her of her momories at the age of 8 , during the investigations Jana start to wonder if her dreams and those marks engraved on the boy's neck and on her can be in some way connected .
So we are, following two parallel investigations that will lead us at the same conslusion. The one lead by police, whose officers are described as the cliches tipical of many crime stories, with complicated names, impossible to remember and those lead by Jana that clearly draws resorces from the police but does not seem willing to share her personal history with anyone acting in total secrecy. Since Jana is not overly concerned to follow the path of legality, her investigation takes place a little faster than the official one. She will in fact be a step ahead of the police for much of the novel.
The official investigation initially slow, take off halfway through and gained momentum and a very worrying picture begins to emerge. A debut really solid and promising to Emelie Schepp, who has decided to throw herself into a complicated story , deepening hot topics such as illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings and drugs and child exploitation.
While the character of Jana is well developed, that of all the other cops is a bit stereotyped. Jana is a unique character with a fascinating pastof which she remember nothing, while we immediately are put in a position to understand her story and make the necessary connections to the current case.
A raw and inspiring book that I recommend to anyone looking for an excellent procedural crime with interrogations, phone tapping and a touch of noir that give MARKED FOR LIFE an intriguing and exciting twist.
This book is part of a campaign called CHILLS&THRILLS hosted by Harlequin Australia that I also have to thank for my copy.
For more information visit the website http://www.thrillsandchills.com.au/