Celebrated Stockholm crime reporter Annika Bengtzon, still recovering from being held hostage by a mad killer in The Bomber (2001), ties the murder of a reporter in a northern Swedish town to a secret radical group from the late '60s. This thriller was first published in Sweden in 2003.
Following her near-death experience, Annika hears singing voices in her head when she's under stress. But in defiance of her bosses, who think she sees terrorist plots in everything, she presses forward in her investigation of the killing. The slain journalist was writing about the radicals' blowing up of a fighter plane on a nearby air base 30 years ago. Reconvened, they are killing others who might expose them, including a young boy the guilt-ridden Annika talked into being a witness. Her most shocking finding is that the group, which goes by names like Red Wolf and Yellow Dragon, includes the female minister of culture. Boasting a likable, strong-willed heroine, this novel is skillfully plotted and scores points in exposing the shadowy connections between politics, media and commerce. But Marklund could have made more of the affair between Annika's husband Thomas and the comely co-member of a group investigating threats against politicians; as handled, both it and the custody battle of her friend Anne are gratuitous subplots.
Things get too talky down the home stretch. Still, this is a solid thriller from a Swedish novelist looking for a breakout in the United States.