The Swede

The Swede

by Robert Karjel
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers
Published on July 7th 2015
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover Source: Library
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A Swedish security agent is summoned to interrogate a terror suspect in this sophisticated, fast-paced thriller—but the prisoner isn't the only one with something to hide. At a remote military base in the Indian Ocean, the CIA is trying to get a prisoner to confess. But the detainee, a suspect in an terror attack in the United States, refuses to talk.

Ernst Grip, a Swedish security officer, has no idea why he's been dispatched to New York City. The FBI agent he meets on arrival, Shauna Friedman, seems to know a little too much about him. And when he arrives at his real destination, the American authorities have just one question: Is their terror suspect a Swedish citizen?

Ernst Grip is a man leading a double life.  His superiors don’t know why he has insisted on becoming part of the bodyguards for the Swedish Royal Family.  They know he likes the extensive vacation time but they don’t know what he is doing with his time off.  They think he is wasting his skills guarding Princesses on the French Riviera.

He is sent to New York to meet with law enforcement officials.  No one knows what these people want with a representative of the Swedish Security Force.  He is told to enter on a tourist visa and then taken on a mysterious trip with an unknown destination.

Once on the tiny island of Diego Garcia he is told to talk to a prisoner.  Find out if he is Swedish.

There are three stories going on in this book.

  • A group of people who survived the tsunami in Thailand decide to use their missing person status to their advantage
  • What does Ernst Grip do in his weeks off duty?
  • Who is the man in the cell?

The three stories weave around each other and eventually tie together.  My only reservation about the book is that one of the main pieces of evidence that ties it all together isn’t satisfactorily explained.  I understand what happened but I’d like to know more about how it happened.  I can’t be more specific without major spoilers so I’m turning the text white. Don’t look if you are in a reader that doesn’t show different text colors. Highlight the rest of the paragraph if you’ve read the book. –  How did N get Ernst’s bag?  I get that there was major chaos after the tsunami but who was in charge of that?  Where was it found?  —

I heard of this book in the article A Thriller with a Bisexual Male Hero? American readers can’t handle it. The point of the article is that some reviewers were upset that nothing on the book jacket or blurb says that the hero of the book is in a relationship with a man.  That made me decide to read it.  I think that it is a bit spoilery to know that ahead of time.  His attraction to men is a slow realization on the part of the character.  Letting that build naturally would have been an interesting to see without knowing about it.  But, if the author is writing about it then it must be ok to talk about.  It is getting more publicity for the book too.  I wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise. (And no, the fact that he is with a man isn’t the whole answer to what the main character is hiding.)

This also fits into my goal to read more translated fiction.  I seem to be ending up with many Swedish books.