A tangle of criminal plotlines converge combustibly at a Stockholm hospital in this edgy thriller, the second the collaborators have published in English (The Beast, 2005).
As a child, Russian-born Lydia Grajauskas visits her father in a Swedish prison. Eleven years later she’s a sex slave, working with other immigrant girls and beaten regularly by her boss Dimitri. Police detective Ewert Grens visits his ex-fiancée Anni, barely alive in a convalescent facility. In the 25 years since mobster Jochum Lang put her in this condition, Ewert has simply been going through the motions of his life. Hilding Oldeus, drug addict and petty criminal, roams the streets, committing an array of offenses. Upon learning that Lang is about to be released, Ewert seeks the calming influence of Bengt Nordwall, veteran and family man, his mentor on the force. He tries unsuccessfully to get Hilding to turn state’s evidence against Lang and secure his retention. All these plot threads lead to Söder Hospital, where Lydia is taken after her latest beating. Her friend Alena uses the surrounding confusion to escape and try to implement the duo’s grand getaway plan. Pursued by Lang, Hilding also arrives at the hospital demanding drugs of his sister Lisa, who’s a doctor there. Then Lydia gets hold of a gun, takes a group of hospital staff hostage and demands to see Bengt. Further twists follow.
Fresh, slangy and moves at breakneck pace, though it loses some of its energy as it narrows its focus.