cover image Leona: The Die Is Cast

Leona: The Die Is Cast

Jenny Rogneby. Other Press, $16.95 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-59051-882-3

Dysfunction in many unsavory forms haunts every page of Swedish author Rogneby’s disturbing first novel and series launch. Police officer Leona Lindberg, a 34-year-old loner who chafes at working within Stockholm’s Violent Crimes Division, investigates a bizarre bank robbery carried out by a naked and bloody seven-year-old girl. Leona’s abuse-plagued childhood parallels that of the young robber, as the reader learns in painful detail from the first-person accounts of the girl’s victimization. Meanwhile, Leona must deal with her severely ill son, a strained marriage, and a vicious gambling addiction. Too many heavy-handed hints at psychological disturbance, such as Leona’s urge to straighten pictures on the wall and pencils on her desk, telegraph her obsessive-compulsive plunge into disaster. Rogneby, an investigator in Stockholm’s police department, brings authenticity to this hard-boiled tale, but ironies piled on bitter ironies in Leona’s tangled career don’t make it easy to suspend disbelief. Agent: Elisabet Brännström, Bonnier Rights (Sweden). (Aug.)