Leona Lindberg returns to wreak her peculiar havoc.
In the second installment of her adventures, Leona, a detective in the Violent Crimes Division of the Stockholm Police, continues her pursuit of a life outside all social conventions. In her first adventure (Leona: The Die Is Cast, 2017), she became aware that a conventional life was not for her and that nothing should be allowed to stand between her and her vision of freedom. That story then detailed her efforts to secure the kind of money she needed to step away from her life, an effort that cost her marriage, nearly cost her job, and contributed to the death of her son. Undeterred by these setbacks, Leona is back on her quest. But residual complications dog her steps now: She owes money to the gangster Armand; her relationships with her ex-husband and her daughter are frayed; she has been instructed to seek therapy (Leona! Therapy!); and her new boss, Alexandra, has assigned her the interrogation of a terrorist suspect. Leona's repayment scheme is quite ingenious: She runs a seminar in police practices and attitudes for midlevel career criminals, instructing them in ways to avoid detection and arrest. She is an excellent pedagogue, and her analyses of social issues as they impact criminals are fresh and acute. But the seminars alone can't generate the kind of money Leona needs, so using the attendees as a recruiting base, she puts together a gang and trains them for a truly major score. Meanwhile, the terrorist suspect is giving her fits, Armand has upped the pressure, and her boss's bosses are demanding answers. Much mayhem ensues. As a character, Leona asks a lot of the reader. She is savvy, decisive, and resourceful, in many ways admirable, but she is also relentlessly selfish, willing to inflict pain and misery to get what she wants. Her goal, which is a sort of socially dissociated island paradise, seems petty and ignoble. She differs from typical noir antiheroes—she's not a disappointed idealist but rather an amoral pragmatist. But never mind. This installment is more completely plotted and more involving than the first, and if Leona seems a little inhuman, well that's Leona being Leona.
Leona's back! Lock the henhouse!