The Sword of Justice: An Evert Bäckström Novel

Leif GW Persson, trans. from the Swedish by Neil Smith. Black Lizard, $16.95 trade paper (720p) ISBN 978-1-101-87295-6
Det. Supt. Evert Bäckström receives the best news of his life at the start of Persson’s riotous third novel featuring the outrageous, libidinous, thoroughly contemptible, yet oddly magnetic Swedish policeman (after He Who Kills the Dragon): his greatest personal and professional enemy, Thomas Eriksson (aka the “Muslim mafia’s favorite lawyer,” according to one evening paper), has been murdered. Bäckström is pleased to visit the crime scene, Eriksson’s opulent country villa, where someone bashed in the victim’s head with a blunt instrument. He’s less happy about investigating the many suspects in the case, which hinges on a Pinocchio-shaped Fabergé music box made as a gift for the son of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, a priceless object that later fell into the hands of Winston Churchill and eventually Vladimir Putin. In the end, Bäckström, whose only friend was his deceased goldfish, Egon, muddles into a crime-solving epiphany. Persson hilariously skewers contemporary police work and society’s corrupted demands on the profession in, as he calls it in an author’s note, this “wicked tale for grown-up children.” Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (June)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 06/05/2018
Genre: Fiction
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