Monday, June 24, 2013

Review of Exposed by Liza Marklund (2011, Corgi; 1999, Swedish)

Annika Bengtzon is a trainee journalist working as a summer intern at one of Sweden’s largest tabloid newspapers.  She’d like to be sourcing and reporting stories, but instead has been assigned to the tip-off phone, trying to weed out the genuine items of interest from pranksters and crazies and passing them onto the news desk.  When a caller rings in to report that the body of a naked woman is lying in a nearby cemetery she senses the chance to move from office lackey to reporter.  She manages to persuade her boss to let her follow up on the tip and sets off to investigate.  The tip proves to be true and Annika quickly starts to source facts about the woman and the police investigation, determinedly tracking down leads and making a nuisance of herself.  When a government minister is named as a prime suspect in the case she knows that something is not quite right.  But why would a minister sooner be a murder suspect rather than revealing the reality about where he was and what he was doing?  Annika knows that she potentially has a much bigger story, but forces are conspiring to ensure that she doesn’t get the chance to discover the truth.

Exposed is a very readable investigative journalist procedural set in Stockholm.  It follows the travails of rookie reporter Annika Bengtzon as she investigates the death of a local sex club worker and seeks to secure a permanent post with a tabloid newspaper.  Annika is a well realised, complex character who is determined to succeed, but has a habit of undermining her own efforts through instinctive, but poorly judged actions.  The story rattles along at a quick clip and the central plot is engaging, with Marklund threading the story with a number of subplots and rivalries and alliances between characters.  The telling is a little melodramatic at times and there are two twists at the end, one concerning Annika, the other another central character, neither of which were needed nor rang true.  Nevertheless, Exposed is an entertaining read that introduces a character whose life is as messed up as those on whom she reports for the tabloid press.

1 comment:

TracyK said...

Thanks for this good and useful review. I have been of two minds about reading this series, based on reviews I have read recently. Still not sure. I am sure I will try one eventually.