|The Boy in the Suitcase|
In The Boy in the Suitcase, a well meaning nurse named Nina Borg is pulled into a tangled crime gone wrong when an old friend asks her for an odd favor. The friend tells her to go to the train station, open a specific locker, and take what she finds inside. In the locker is an old suitcase. And, as you can guess from the title, a boy--drugged--is inside the suitcase. Nina is about to turn the boy over to the police to help reconnect him with his family when she sees a very large and very angry man trying to kick the hell out of the locker she just emptied. Kaaberbøl and Friis rapidly introduce us to the boy's mother, Sigeta; Jan Marquart, the man who bought the boy; and Jučas, the boy's kidnapper. Kaaberbøl and Friis let their various narrators tell the story, revealing why Mikas was kidnapped and how he came to be in the suitcase and how the notorious "simple plan" spiraled out of control all due to a seagull hitting a plan and delaying it.
The authors work together very, very well and the book reads like the work of a single author with a distinct voice. The characters are wonderfully drawn, even if I mentally stumbled over how to pronounce some of the names and locations. Nina, in particular, is a very interesting crusader. She's the sort of do-gooder who will actually pick up stakes and go to Darfur or Tblisi or other site of human suffering and actually do something about it. Unfortunately, her family pays the price for her absence. At one point, Nina comments that her husband Morten resents it. Morten is outraged by the news, of course, but doesn't do anything more than talk. Nina actually acts. It's an interesting dilemma, to see a person torn between two sets of equally important ideals. (The feminist in me would like to point out that this wouldn't be such a crisis if Nina were a man.)
The book ends with a coda that makes it clear that Nina's adventures in making things right is only the beginning. I'll have to keep an eye open for the next installment.