Zander’s latest page-turning political thriller weaves three interconnected stories into a hypertopical tale of international intrigue.
Young, hip, and in trouble, Yasmine Ajam fled her life in Bergort—a rough borough of Stockholm—to start over in New York City, falling into a lucrative gig as a trend spotter, keeping advertising agencies abreast of the next big thing. She has not spoken to her brother, Fadi, in more than three years when she gets the news: an email from a friend informing her that Fadi, radicalized by the Islamic State group in her absence, went to Syria and died in battle. But a month later, a second email arrives: Fadi has been spotted in Bergort—alive. Desperate to find him, she takes off for Bergort on the company dime only to discover the search is even more complicated than she could have imagined: the city is erupting in riots, and it’s increasingly clear that the violence on the streets is somehow connected to Fadi’s disappearance. Meanwhile, in London, Klara Walldéen—a familiar face to readers of Zander’s The Swimmer (2015)—has a new job as a human rights researcher, working on a report about the privatization of police, to be presented at an EU conference in Stockholm. But when her laptop is stolen and her secretive colleague is pushed in front of an oncoming train, Klara once again finds herself an unwitting participant in a conspiracy she doesn’t understand. It’s not until her path unexpectedly crashes into Yasmine’s that the mystery starts to come together, revealing something darker and more sinister than either of them could have imagined. Zander’s twisting, high-octane plot could not be more timely, but it’s the characters, all three of them, that bring this vivid novel to life.
Suspenseful and primed for Hollywood adaptation, this is escapist fiction at its best.