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Saturday 10 December 2016

‘Marked For Life’ by Emelie Schepp

Published by Harlequin,
25 August 2016.
ISBN 978-1-848-45517-7

Marked for Life is set in Sweden. It plots the work and life of Jana Berzelius, a public prosecutor in her mid-thirties who, despite having a highly successful professional career, cannot cope with normal contact with fellow human beings in her private life.

The story begins when Jana is asked to assist the police team investing the murder of Hans Juhlen, the head of the local migration board. The case is unusual.  Hans’s wife found him shot dead in his house, but the only evidence, recovered from a windowsill, is the handprint of a child.  Later a small boy is found drowned.  He is lying next to the gun that killed Hans.  Was it possible that a child of around ten had shot Hans?

In parallel with the description of the murder investigation, we are fed small, and not so small pieces of information about human trafficking. Most of these snippets describe the fate of a young girl and some of her contemporaries who have, at sometime in the past, been brought ashore in Sweden.  It makes very grim reading - more akin to what might happen in the country of some ruthless dictator, rather than in Scandinavia.

Because of the way the book is written it is difficult to describe the plot without giving away some of its key features, but the characters and personal lives of the police team are interesting, varied, and very well developed. As the book proceeds we come to understand precisely why Jana routinely shies away from all personal relationships - it is not a pleasant understanding. Whilst the writing is easy to read, it is not in any way a comfortable read. Marked For Life is one of the darkest books I have ever come across. It will appeal to lovers of Scandinavian noir.
Reviewer: Angela Crowther

Emelie Schepp was born 5 September 1979. She is an international bestselling Nordic crime author with a career in marketing, publicity and project management. Marked for Life is the first book in a chilling trilogy.
She lives with her husband and two children in Sweden.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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