Leona – a heroine like no one else

Any means necessary by Jenny Rogneby

Jenny Rogneby´s second novel Any Means Necessary, the follow up to her debut novel Leona: the Die Is Cast, is released today and we meet Leona Lindberg once more. Leona is a smart and appreciated investigator at Stockholm’s Violent Crimes Division, but her private life is a complete mess. She is newly divorced, her little son is dead and as always she is in desperate need of money. Leona has an idea for a job to make some quick money, but the preparations are time-consuming and her time is running out. Her creditor, a gangster boss, pressures her to pay up, otherwise both she and her little daughter will be in great danger.

The plot

A man has tried to blow himself up outside the Parliament House in Stockholm, but miraculously survives. Leona is put on the case to find out if it was some kind of terrorist attack, if he has any accomplices or if he is a lone wolf with obscure personal motives. She can´t refuse, but Leona does not want the assignment, because she is totally absorbed by her own problems. But to her surprise she finds out that the man has demanded her and only her as his interrogator. Why?
The plot is twisted and has many surprising turns. The terrorist attack that opens the story isn’t too important, instead the author focuses on Leona´s relationship to the accused man – and her plans and actions to take care of her financial issues. As usual Leona is dealing with her problems in her own unconventional and unexpected ways. With one foot on each side of the law, Leona  breaks barriers, no policeman and certainly no policewoman should break.

The author

Jenny Rogneby was born in Ethiopia, but was given away for adoption when she was one year old. She grew up in a little town in northern Sweden and her musical talent made her start a career as a pop singer. Alongside her music career Jenny began studying  psychology, sociology and criminology at Stockholm University, and eventually she became a criminal investigator in the Stockholm City Police Department. Her work inspired her  to start writing crime fiction novels and to create the character Leona. Jenny herself says: “It is not the blood or the action that excites me most about the crime genre, it is how people deal with the ethical and moral questions that come from living on either side of the law. Where are their boundaries and how do they justify their actions to themselves and to others?”

I appreciate when writers have deep insights in the activities they are writing about and the fact that Leona has a similar job as Jenny once had gives an extra twist to the story. Jenny has also acknowledged that she likes to write about characters who breaks the norms of society – and that Leona certainly does. In the first novel, Leona – the Die is Cast, I really disliked her and still she isn´t a very likable protagonist, but her complicated character has become more interesting. She is smart and daring, but it is often hard to understand her unconventional – and sometimes fatal – choices and actions.