Sophie Brinkmann, the beautiful, dark-haired Stockholm nurse at the crux of Swedish author Alexander Soderberg's tense, accomplished debut novel... The Andalucian Friend has a populous international cast of shady Swedish cops, vicious Spanish, German and Russian crooks, and the 'ordinary' citizens caught in between ... swift, well-written and often grisly saga...comes to a conclusion of sorts, there are enough aspects left unresolved to look forward to at least two more books of deadly peril, with new danger at every turn.
Soderberg, a former screenwriter from Sweden, has crafted his novel — the first in a projected trilogy — in a way that will be familiar to readers of the late Stieg Larsson: The ordinary meets the outre; mayhem ensues ...people — cops and gangsters — are all crooked, all mildly befuddled by Sophie’s inherent morality ... Soderberg has messily overpopulated his narrative with characters who are difficult to tell apart, and some of his dialogue strains for tough-guy cadence ...puts his cinematic background to good use, creating one tense scene after another and jump-cutting all the way to a climax that’s as bloody as something out of Njals Saga.
Sophie Brinkmann, nurse and single mother of teenager Albert, becomes caught up in a global turf war between organised crime syndicates when she falls for her patient Hector Guzman ... There's an enormous cast, a lot going on in the way of unreported hits-and-runs, house-breakings, shootings and kidnappings – the citizens in this version of Stockholm must be the least observant people on the planet – and some rather loose plotting, so it can be difficult to keep track of exactly what's happening and why. Moral expectations are inverted, too, to such a degree that, at the end, what should be a real tragedy lacks the poignancy required for a satisfactory conclusion.
The Andalucian Friend is a crime thriller, the first in a trilogy set mostly in Sweden. It tells the story of an escalating turf war on a global scale between several organized crime rings ...involves a complex main plot, with subplots not always artfully woven in, and a large cast of characters. The story is made more confusing by the blunt and jarring scene changes throughout ... The suspense builds and the pace quickens in the later half of the book as a good thriller should ...the ending does not necessarily leave the reader with a sense of good triumphing over evil. If you don’t mind a bit of ambiguity, Alexander Soderberg’s The Andalucian Friend is a worthwhile read.
There’s plenty of life in Scandinavian crime fiction, though the bodies pile up with especially terrifying speed in this book’s grim milieu ... The hero of Swedish author Söderberg’s debut, the first in a planned trilogy, is Sophie, a young widow who works as a nurse while raising her teenage son ... Stockholm police are investigating, but true to Söderberg’s peculiar, amoral universe, the cops are as filthy as the hardened criminals. So while Sophie is the novel’s focal point, she feels less like a full-blooded character than a mirror upon which Söderberg can project mockery of traditional concepts of good and evil ... Söderberg is masterful at upending the usual moral expectations for characters...closing chapters so deliberately reverse the stock conceits of vengeance, redemption and recovery that it flirts with satire. Söderberg’s innovations are tempered somewhat, though, by the bagginess of the plotting, overly thick with detail about smuggling schemes ... Much of this book feels like furniture arranging for the sequels, but there’s enough action and gallows humor in this overture to carry it along. A promising start to a trilogy.
Söderberg’s excellent debut, the first in a projected trilogy, chronicles a global turf war among Spanish drug runners, German gangsters, Russian hit men, and Swedish cops ... The jam-packed plot’s big-picture view of politics, business, and an international crime ring illustrates how being surrounded by violence affects individuals. While Sophie is an innocent, she is no pushover. Her inner resolve helps her maneuver in precarious situations. Fans of Nordic thrillers will find much to like.