cover image The Dying Game

The Dying Game

Asa Avdic, trans. from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Penguin, $16 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-14-313179-3

Agatha Christie meets George Orwell in journalist Avdic’s unsettling first novel, set in Sweden in 2037. A coup has led to a state of martial law and the country’s transformation into a protectorate under the aegis of an international entity known as the Union of Friendship. Anna Francis, a bureaucrat, is estranged from her family and tempted by an unusual job offer from a high official called the Chairman. The Chairman explains that the secret RAN Project is short-handed and that a psychological exercise has been devised to identify a suitable new member of the team: prospective candidates are to be transported to a remote island, along with Anna, who will pretend to have been murdered, so that she can covertly observe their reactions to the unexpected trauma. Things don’t go as planned, and Anna soon has a real murder to deal with. Avdic not only constructs a fascinating and original plot but makes her imagined reality chillingly plausible. [em]Agent: Astri von Arbin Ahlander, Ahlander Agency. (Aug.) [/em]