cover image The Swede

The Swede

Robert Karjel, trans. from the Swedish by Nancy Pick and Robert Karjel, read by Jeff Harding. Dreamscape Media, 9 CDs, 11 hrs., $59.99 ISBN 978-1-681-41168-2

In the first of Swedish author Karjel’s novels to appear in English, Ernst Grip, of Sweden’s security police, is sent on a mission to an American military base in Diego Garcia, a coral reef in the Indian Ocean, in 2008. His assignment is to interview a recalcitrant detainee known only as N and determine if he is a Swedish citizen. As Grip’s FBI contact, agent Shauna Friedman, explains, N is suspected of being conscripted by a wealthy American named Adderloy to rob a bank in Topeka, Kansas. Though the plot is unusually complex, reader Harding’s clear, appropriately dramatic rendition adds mightily to its accessibility and enjoyment. His presentation of the main characters is just as helpful. Ernst’s over-enunciated English mirrors his need for caution. Shauna’s voice, like the agent herself, is authoritative, uncompromising and unflappable. N, for good reason, sounds a bit like Ernst, though more taciturn, cynical, and hopeless. And Adderloy, the mastermind behind the robbery and its aftermath, apparently hails from the American Southwest. He is loud, arrogant, and demanding, and not the novel’s only example of America at its worst. A Harper hardcover. (July)