Review: The Boy in the Suitcase

Recap: Nina Borg is one of those people who just can’t say no. So when her friend, Karin, with whom she hasn’t spoken in years, gives her a key to a public locker in a train station, Nina feels obligated to run this errand for Karin. But what she finds inside the locker is not your average luggage. It’s a suitcase with a young boy inside. Suddenly, Nina is forced to find out who this child is, where he came from, and how she can get him back where he belongs.

The Boy in the Suitcase is a Swedish crime thriller co-authored by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis, who tell the story from various perspectives. Included are chapters by Nina, by the men behind the kidnapping, and by the boy’s mother, Sigita. When Sigita learns that her missing son might have to do with another son she put up for adoption years ago, her mission to find the boy becomes frantic and furious.

Likethe movie Love Actually, the reader is waiting for the moment when each of the characters meet at the end. Why the boy was kidnapped and how he will be returned to the right person are the two things that keep the reader interested.

Analysis: Unfortunately, the “why” and “how” were the only things keeping me interested. The story takes place in a several European countries, making it difficult to keep track of where each of the characters is located and with whom they can and can’t communicate.

Not to mention, the multiple narrators; normally I’m a fan of several narrators, but with The Boy in the Suitcase, I found it confusing. The authors attempt to give backstory to each of the characters, but generally speaking, I didn’t feel as though it worked. Many of the small glimpses into the characters’ lives seemed irrelevant to the story. Either that or they weren’t enough to fully explain the character. The only character I cared about was the little boy’s mother. Like any mother in her situation, she’s frantic and I couldn’t help but feel for her.

Whereas the multiple narrators helped keep the book moving, the end seemed rushed. The middle built anticipation toward the end, but at parts, it seemed to drag. Once we learn the reason behind the kidnapping, the rest of the story happens very fast without much explanation.

MVP: Nina. There are a lot of things I hate about her and a few things I love about her. She puts this boy that she found before her own family and marriage, which is already in a state of disrepair. Although I understand her need to help him, it bothers me that she neglects to keep in touch with her husband about what’s going on. That being said, how she manages to find the boy’s mother and piece together the story is impressive and strong.

Get The Boy in the Suitcase in paperback for $9.38.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $1.99.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Review: The Boy in the Suitcase

  1. lisa

    If you don’t like following storylines that move through foreign countries, don’t read foreign books. BITS moves through a geographic region less than 1/3 the size of the US. It would be equivalent to a story moving through the midwest. I found myself getting an education on how the social issues of Eastern Europe slipped into Nordic countries following the collapse of communism in the region. Decent story set in an interesting & unusual geography without all the excruciating geographic details ( street names) of the Millennium series.

  2. Irene Olynyk

    I liked this book a lot more than I expected to when I first started reading it. The opening very short chapters if that is what they were, troubled me. I was nervous about remembering the different characters and the place they had in the story. After about a third of the book though, I forgot all about that and began to really enjoy the story and found it hard to put the book down! Sure, the plot did have some problems, but it kept this reader interested.

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