The Boy in the Suitcase, by Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis
Published by Soho Crime, 4th September 2012 (first published 1st January 2008)
Genres: Mystery, thriller, Nordic noir
Source: Purchased (second-hand)
Trigger warnings: violence, human trafficking, domestic violence
Nina Borg is a Red Cross nurse living in Copenhagen with her family. She is dedicated to her work and to helping people in need. So, when her old friend Karin calls her in a panic and asks for her help, she cannot say no. Karin gives Nina the key to a storage locker at the station and asks her to retrieve the contents. Nina was in no way expecting what she finds. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy, drugged and naked.
Determined to find out the identity and story of this little boy, Nina is quickly dragged into her most dangerous mission yet. Who would do this to a small child? Should she hand the case over to the authorities? Or will they simply return the boy to those who have sold him into whatever is happening here?
Obviously, this book covers quite a harrowing topic, but what a read! I read it almost straight through, I just could not put it down! The short chapters helped to give the book a really good, fast pace. And the story is so gripping that I just had to find out the outcome.
That being said, I did have a bit of a hard time getting into the book. The first few chapters introduce a lot of characters and it was difficult to work out who was who and how everyone was connected. Once it got going, though, I was hooked!
I enjoyed that the main protagonists of this story are women. Often in these kinds of crime thrillers, the main character is some washed-up male detective. But Nina is a strong woman, although flawed and battling her own demons. Despite all her own struggles, she is determined to help this little boy and defend him with her life. Another strong woman is the little boy’s mother. Despite multiple people dismissing her story and her desperation, she refuses to give up her search to find her son.
The ending was very dramatic and managed to bring together all the characters. I enjoyed that the very end of the book sets up what I imagine will be the next instalment in the series. I would be interested in reading more of these books in the future.
My rating: 4/5