Thursday, November 04, 2010


She needed to read more about ETA, but she knew they were among the least approachable terrorist groups in the world, killers for the sake of killing. As self appointed representatives for a homeland that never existed they demanded compensation for injustices that had never been committed.
Den Roda Vargen-Liza Marklund [2003] Red Wolf [2010]

I am really enjoying reading Red Wolf by Liza Marklund, and love the realistic way she brings in the personal life of her protagonist.
Journalist Annika Bengtzon has worked out that there is a probable serial killer on the prowl who sends their victim's families quotations from Mao.

Why did so many middle class and wealthy students from rich Northern European and North American countries follow the cult of a ruthless murderer like Mao Zedong?
Tragically his ideas inspired Cambodia's Khmer Rouge to commit their terrible crimes, and I suspect that many politicians in power today were followers of Mao in their youth. If you are going to commit mass murder, or become a terrorist group, you are probably advised to get yourself a good public relations agency, and manufacture a lot of T-shirts.

Crime fiction is a wonderful way of getting over facts, and strong opinions, that otherwise might be unpopular if stated in another form, and Liza Marklund does this with subtlety and skill.

'You're a good boy,' she whispered to him. 'You don't know how horrid people can sometimes be. But there are horrid people, and you can't cure them with love.'

I do like this Swedish cover of Red Wolf [Den Roda Vargen] much better than the British edition with the JP blurb, but I don't think we British are allowed to have women portrayed on book covers. More about this in a future post......


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - So glad you're enjoying this book :-)! I agree with you about the way crime fiction can convey facts and opinions that might not go down well in any other way. I look forward to your full review of the novel.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Margot-why do gorgeous interesting women like Annika Bengtzon pick such unsuitable men?
Dump the b****** Annika!

Oops got carried away there. I do get invloved in these books.
I had better read this out allowed a few times-Annika Bengtzon is a fictional character, Annika Bengtzon is a ................;o)

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman - LOL!!!! Oh, that is so funny! You know that Marklund is a good writer when you need to remind yourself that Annika is not real.

As for why women choose the men they do... I've no idea, and I'm a woman. I often wonder why some fictional male characters are with the women they've chosen, too...

10:59 AM  
Blogger Mediations said...

Interesting point about the Swedish cover, Norman. Perhaps I should wait until you do the promised follow up post but I have to say I am not sure about the the way Liza Marklund is featured on all her Swedish front covers. Here, the Mao backdrop is indeed striking... but would the author be so prominently projected if she herself wasn't striking, too? The cover for Nobels Testamente shows Liza in a black evening dress looking back over her shoulder as she climbs the stairs in an ornate building, perhaps to an awards ceremony. In some contexts, showing the author entering an event featured in her own novel would add a layer of meaning... but it is not that kind of novel!

12:40 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

Interesting comment by Mediations.

I have also wondered about those Liza Marklund covers (she is also on most Danish covers). It is *not* common in Scandinavia, and of course that is because most writers are ordinary men or women whose faces would not sell books.

12:38 PM  

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