Review: Liza Marklund – Lifetime

LifetimePoor Annika Bengstrom. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse (house up in flames and husband off with another woman) her estranged ex is now fighting for custody of the kids. Of course it’s Annika’s mix of vulnerability and determination that makes her such as fascinating read and I was delighted when Liza Marklund’s latest book Lifetime came through my door. And as I’ve come to expect from Marklund you get much more than simple murder plot and it’s the diversions that you take in the story that make her books such an interesting read.

David Lindholm is a nationally renowned police officer who is found murdered in his apartment. His wife, Julia, who is found splattered with blood in the bathroom is arrested as the chief suspect. However the couple’s four-year-old son, Alexander, is missing and Julia claims that he was taken by ‘the other woman’. Soon Julia is indicted for murder and even her close friend, police officer Nina Hoffman, is convinced of her guilt. However, Annika, soon scents something amiss about the case. Despite his fame, David Lindholm had a nasty streak to his character and there are some anomalies in his past investigations. His serial philandering also appears to have produced a stalker who may hold the key to the case.

In Lifetime, we move away from the broad sweep of Last Will, which had as its backdrop the Nobel Prize ceremony. This time, we get what appears to be a domestic tragedy which although opens out to involve David’s job, the extent of the human tragedy is never lost. The turbulent domestic life of the victims mirrors Annika’s own problems. She is now homeless and looks for help in finding a temporary place to stay. And of course the people who might help, in particular her friend Anna, come remarkably short of the mark. Even in the direst situations, she manages to find the strength to keep working and digging away at a story. She’s far from perfect: her treatment of a junior colleague is cruel but Annika’s prickly defensiveness is part of her makeup. And her desperation is all to real – which includes agreeing to babysit her children at the house of her husband’s mistress.

There’s a lot in this book apart from the killings. Annika’s newspaper is facing staff cuts and it’s fascinating to read about the internal machinations, including the work of the union rep. There is also an interesting link to the last book and the continuation of the story of that novel’s killer. However, ultimately Annika is the reason, I suspect, a lot of people read Marklund’s books and I think she fast becoming one of my favourite characters in crime fiction.

Thanks to Transworld for the copy of my book. The translation was by Neil Smith.

12 thoughts on “Review: Liza Marklund – Lifetime

  1. Margot Kinberg

    Sarah – Excellent review, for which thanks. As though I weren’t already planning to read this, your review has made that an even more happy prospect. I couldn’t agree more about what makes Annika Bengtzon an appealing character. She is a strong person and good at her job, but she also has her ‘blind spots’ and vulnerabilities as we all do. It’s good to hear this one lives up to the high quality this series has established.


    1. Thanks Margot. Yes another excellent book. And I’m reading ‘The Hanging’ by Lotte and Soren Hammer which I’m enjoying too. So it’s a good reading week.


  2. I was just reading the section in Death in a Cold Climate on Liza Marklund … it was very interesting and I do want to sample her writing. I don’t think I have any of her books, but she in on my list to read. It almost sounds like there is too much personal stuff in the book, but I am still eager because I like to get different views of Scandinavian life.


  3. Oh! Every single time you talk about Liza Marklund I am utterly convinced that I would love her books. I really must get round to them soon. I love the way she seems to cover wider societal issues very well, apart from the main mystery plot.


  4. kathy d.

    Poor Annika Bengtzon! She has so many problems coming at her from all directions it’s hard not to sympathize. Her career is in jeopardy. Her spouse’s betrayal and treatment of her is abominable. Her house is gone. How will she cope? Code is what she does even if she meets lots of obstacles.
    She is an interesting character, more so than many cardboard protagonists. She has real problems.
    So, we fans can’t turn the pages fast enough in these books. Can’t wait to get this one from the library.


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  6. Sarah, glad you enjoyed this and it’s a great review. Do I need another new author on my wishlist? Probably not, but hey hoh, if I cross paths with her, I will end up buying! Thanks, I think.


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