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A densely populated and spirited novel based on an actual heist. And helicopters.

The polyglot nature of present-day Sweden is ably represented in this imaginative re-creation of the 2009 robbery of a currency counting house. The caper is the handiwork of Zoran Petrovic, a Montenegrin living in Sweden; Michel Maloof, of Lebanese descent; Sami Farhan, who grew up in Sweden with Middle Eastern parents; and to a lesser extent Niklas Nordgren, whose parents emigrated from Poland, all of whom are to some extent inhabitants of Sweden's criminal underworld. They are pointed by a shadowy "old man" toward Alexandra Svensson, an employee of G4S, a currency and security management company that is the daily repository of literally hundreds of millions of kronor. While Maloof romances Svensson and receives vital inside information, he, Farhan, and Petrovic slowly evolve a plan to land a team of thieves on the roof of the G4S building and rob the counting room. Along the way they enlist the services of a large number of people, including Nordgren, their explosives expert, and the American helicopter pilot Jack Kluger. There are setbacks and small triumphs, and when the whole plot comes to the attention of Caroline Thurn, a task force leader in Sweden's Police Authority, the race is on: Can Thurn unravel the clues and intercept the thieves before the heist takes place? There are a lot of moving parts in the scheme, and when it creaks into action on a September night there's no certainty the machine will function as designed, and the minute-by-minute unfolding of the plot elements is deftly and suspensefully presented. It takes a while to get to know the characters, and the many minor actors can be hard to manage, but everyone, good guys or not so good, achieves a decent humanity and earns a measure of affection by the end. How closely the novel resembles historical reality is happily never revealed.

Despite a slow buildup, a satisfying read.

Pub Date: May 28th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-59051-950-9
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Other Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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