Exposed – Liza Marklund

Last time around, I wasn’t that impressed by this author. However, I decided to give her another chance. Partly this was because I discovered this was the second book written, but was set as the first of the series. In short, it was the true start.

And start is what Annika Bengtzon, the central character, does. She wants to be a journalist and joins a newspaper as an intern. Her big break comes with her getting to cover the story of the murder of a young girl, found naked in a cemetery. And off this character goes, in all the ways you would expect a novice journalist to go: she makes some daft moves, and some clever moves, and is caught up in the office politics of her work environment.

In a sense, the main frustration is that she is not a policeman, and so is not leading the investigation. That is a different perspective, but at times it was not engrossing enough for me. That having been said, it’s a fairly comprehensive portrait of the central character, and one you cannot help feeling sympathetic towards.

The story draws in some political intrigue, too. That part probably deserved a book on its own, but the author kept it down to the basics, and used it as a rather obvious red herring.

The plot has one obvious twist that, surprisingly, doesn’t take too much out of the value of the read. However, the ending sort of arrived with a stutter, and rather let down the tension that at one point threatened to build up. On the plus side, although there are plenty of loose ends – perhaps the author’s message about their absence in real life – the author does explain in a postscript, the source of her inspiration for some of the book’s events.

Overall, I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to spend any more time with this character. While I might be sympathetic to her troubles, the job of investigative reporter is not one that – for me – either intrigues or captivates. If, however, that does not trouble you, and you are looking for a well drawn leading lady, then you might get a lot more out of the book than I did.

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