The landline rings as Agneta is waving off her grandchildren. Just one word comes out of the receiver: ‘Geiger’.
For decades, Agneta has always known that this moment would come, but she is shaken. She knows what it means.
Retrieving her weapon from its hiding place, she attaches the silencer and creeps up behind her husband before pressing the barrel to his temple.
Then she squeezes the trigger and disappears – leaving behind her wallet and keys.
The extraordinary murder is not Sara Nowak’s case. But she was once close to those affected and, defying regulations, she joins the investigation. What Sara doesn’t know is that the mysterious codeword is just the first piece in the puzzle of an intricate and devastating plot fifty years in the making . . .
This book gently pulled me in with its sweet charade of grandparents spending time with their children and grandchildren. The father/grandfather Stellan, a legendary television presenter, showing an affinity for gardening as he presents his blooms to his daughter. While the mother/grandmother Agneta remains indoors.
To show such a normal family gathering meant that what came next completely pulled the rug from under my feet. As the children are packing up on the drive the phone rings and Agneta hears just one word Geiger. With her children and grandchildren just outside she attaches a silencer to a black Makarov pistol. Approaching her husband she then presses it to his head and squeezes the trigger.
Enter Sara Nowak a prostitution and trafficking investigator who should be nowhere near this case, but being a childhood friend she joins the team investigating Stellan’s murder.
What then follows is a highly complex political tale involving the Cold War and a family with some very dark secrets.
This is not my usual read but I was drawn to the story of an ordinary grandmother committing such an act. Being completely honest I would have much preferred it if it was more of a crime thriller as I’m afraid the espionage and Cold War was a bit lost on me and I found at times it got a bit too complicated. I will say though that the translation is fabulous and I can see this being a great read for fans of John le Carré.
About the author
Gustaf Skördeman was born in 1965 in Sweden and is a screenwriter, director and producer. Geiger, his thriller debut, is published in 24 countries, and film rights have been optioned by Monumental Pictures.
Translated by Ian Giles
Ian Giles translates all three Scandinavian languages into English, with a preference for works of suspense fiction and non-fiction. He is currently Chair of the Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association. In 2015, Ian was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger for his translation of Andreas Norman’s Into A Raging Blaze. Ian currently lives in Edinburgh.
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