LIZA MARKLUND

Swedish journalist, publisher and writer, whose crime fiction novels featuring newspaper journalist Annika Bengtzon have become international bestsellers.

Biography

Eva Elisabeth “Liza” Marklund was born in 1962 in the small village of Pålmark near Piteå and the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden. She grew up in the middle of the forest and spent most of her time reading books and writing down her own fantasies. When she was 16 years old she left home to work as a waitress and chambermaid in Piteå. Eventually she went to journalism school and started to write for Swedish tabloids and to work as an editor for both print and television news. She also produced documentaries for television and became the co-owner of Sweden’s third largest publishing house. She has written eleven crime fiction novels featuring the newspaper journalist Annika Bengtzon, and also co-authored two documentary novels with Maria Eriksson. Her series about Annika Bengtzon soon established her as a bestseller worldwide and she became the first female commercially successful crime writer in Sweden.

Books

The novels featuring Annika Bengtzon were not written in the chronological order of the events depicted in the heroine’s life. Starting with The Bomber, in which Annika is already a deft professional, the story then moves back in time several years, to the start of her career and the meeting with her future husband Thomas. By the fifth installment, Red Wolf, the reader is back in the present. Books 6, 7 and 8 comprise a trilogy, with recurring characters and themes, and plots linked to each other. The best reading order is as follows:

Exposed
2011
Translated by Neil Smith
Also published as Studio 69 (2003)
Original title: Studio sex (1999)
Trainee journalist Annika Bengtzon has a temporary job at Sweden’s biggest tabloid newspaper. She’s desperate for this to be her big break, although manning the tip-off phoneline isn’t quite what she had in mind. Until a caller tells her that the naked body of a young woman has been found in a nearby cemetery.
As she pieces together details of the young woman’s life, Annika stumbles across video footage that places the main suspect hundreds of miles from the crime scene, right at the time of the murder. Are the police looking for the wrong man?


Vanished
2012
Also published as Paradise (2004)
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Paradiset (2000)
At a derelict port in Stockholm, two brutally murdered men are found by a security guard. In the same area a young woman, Aida, is on the run from a deranged gunman.
Meanwhile, journalist Annika Bengtzon is approached by a woman wanting her story published in the Evening Post. She claims to have founded an organization to erase people’s pasts and giving vulnerable individuals a completely new identity. Annika helps Aida to get in touch with the foundation. But as she begins to investigate this woman’s story, more bodies turn up and she finds herself getting dangerously close to the truth – that all is not as it seems…


Prime Time
2006
Translated by Ingrid Eng-Rundlow
Original title: Prime Time (2002)
On Midsummer´s Eve, thirteen people are due to film a prime time TV series, but in the morning, the brightest star in Swedish television is found shot dead in a mobile control room.
Newspaper reporter Annika Bengtzon is drawn into the investigation where she soon learns that one of the suspects is her best friend. As events unfold her personal life starts to take a turn for the worse. Meanwhile, there’s a murderer on the loose – and a terrifying drama about to take place in the public eye.


The Bomber
2011
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Sprängaren (1998)
Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is woken by a phonecall in the early hours of a wintry December morning. An explosion has ripped apart Stockholm’s new Olympic Stadium. And a victim has been blown to pieces. As Annika delves into the details of the bombing and the background of the victim, there is a second explosion. These chilling crimes could be her biggest news story yet. When her police source reveals they are hot on the heels of the bomber, Annika is guaranteed an exclusive with her name on it. But she is uncovering too much, and soon finds herself the target of a deranged serial killer…


Red Wolf
2010
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Den röda vargen (2003)
Reporter Annika Bengtzon is working on the story of a devastating crime when she hears that a journalist investigating the same incident has been killed. It appears to be a hit-and-run accident.
Several brutal killings follow – all linked by handwritten letters sent to the victims’ relatives. When Annika unravels a connection with the story she’s writing, she is thrown on to the trail of a deadly psychopath. Caught in a frenzied spiral of secrets and violence, Annika finds herself and her marriage at breaking point. Will her refusal to stop pursuing the truth eventually destroy her?


Last Will
2012
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Nobels testament (2006)
In the midst of a harsh Scandinavian winter, a member of the Nobel Prize committee is gunned down in the city of Stockholm. Reporter Annika Bengtzon, who made eye contact with the killer just seconds before the shots were fired, is the key witness. With her marriage falling to pieces and her job on the line, Annika quickly finds herself in the middle of a violent story of terror and death, the roots of which date back centuries. The research all leads her to the same man: a rich and famous industrialist responsible for one of the world’s most coveted gifts, who died a tragic and mysterious death. If Annika wants to learn the truth, she risks uncovering secrets that some will do anything to protect.


Lifetime
2013
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Livstid (2007)
The most famous police officer in Sweden is found murdered in his bed. His four-year-old son is missing. His wife is suspected of killing both of them. No one believes her when she says she is innocent. No one except for news reporter Annika Bengtzon. Her personal life in turmoil, she turns all her energies to her work, investigating the life of the murdered man. But if his wife is innocent, where is their son? And will the truth be uncovered in time to find him…before it’s too late?


The Long Shadow
2013
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: En plats i solen (2008)
A violent robbery, a family murdered, and a daughter missing. Reporter Annika Bengtzon is assigned to cover the story for the Evening Post. But when she arrives in Spain she discovers there was a third child – a teenage daughter – who is unaccounted for.Annika makes it her mission to find the missing girl. But as she delves into the mystery she becomes embroiled in a far darker side of Spanish life than she’d envisioned, as she begins to piece together a terrifying story of violence, abuse and murder.


Borderline
2014
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Du gamla, du fria (2011)
One afternoon, a young woman is found dead behind a nursery school in a Stockholm suburb. She is the fourth victim with the same characteristics: a young mother, stabbed from behind. In the editorial offices of the Evening Post they sense a serial killer, but Annika dismisses it as a wild fantasy. Meanwhile, her husband Thomas is attending an international conference in Nairobi, Kenya. During a reconnaissance trip to the Somali border the entire delegation of seven European envoys is kidnapped. As the murder spree in Stockholm continues, Annika is dragged into a violent hostage situation, where  the kidnappers begin to execute the hostages, one by one.


Without a Trace
2015
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Lyckliga gatan (2013)
Ingemar Lerberg had it all: successful businessman, politician, husband, father. Until he is found, brutally beaten and left for dead, in his mansion in a fashionable district of Stockholm. His wife, Nora, is missing. With no alternative, his children are taken into care. Journalist Annika Bengtzon is assigned to the case. As she delves into the horrifying details of this family’s fate, she grapples too with the change in her own. With her new boyfriend she must patch together a family from their respective children and stepchildren, and find a way for them all to live harmoniously.
Family matters above all else, but all is never as it seems. Behind the scenes, darkness lies.


The Final Word
2016
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Järnblod (2015)
As a journalist, Annika Bengtzon has always been at the front line of criminal reporting, alongside the investigating officers. And now a court case that she’s been reporting on – the savage murder of a homeless man – has begun to attract a lot of attention. With the stakes rising by the day, Annika is once again flung to the heart of a complex case.But nagging at the back of her mind is her sister’s mysterious absence. After a series of anxious text messages, she’s not heard another word. In the midst of a tense public situation, Annika’s own complicated past looks set to rear its head.