In Bad Company by Viveca Sten

In Bad Company by Viveca Sten
Publisher: Self-Published/Amazon Crossing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sandhamn Island’s archipelago is a beautiful place to visit. For a mother on the run, it’s the only place to hide in a novel of escalating suspense by Viveca Sten, bestselling author of Still Waters.

Building a case against Andreis Kovač is a risky strategy for prosecutor Nora Linde. A violent key player in Stockholm’s drug trade and untouchable when it comes to financial crimes, he has the best defense money can buy. To topple Andreis’s empire, Nora’s working a different angle. It’s personal. Nora’s critical witness is Andreis’s wife, Mina—if she’ll testify.

Mina has suffered her husband’s rage too long. It’s nearly cost her her life. Still carrying the traumas of the Bosnian War, Andreis can be triggered like an explosive. He must be taken down. And as the trial looms, Mina and her infant son must disappear. The police have found her a safe place to hide on Runmarö Island in Sandhamn’s archipelago. But there’s no shelter from a man as powerful and merciless as Andreis. Especially when he’s being crossed.

His campaign of terror has just begun. He’s prepared to crush anyone who stands in his way: Mina, Nora, and everyone they know and love. Andreis is coming for them. This time, Nora is on the defense.

Prosecutor Nora Linde is trying to build a fraud case against Andreis Kovac and finding it difficult. When Kovac’s wife ends up in hospital – Kovac’s abuse finally more than she can successfully hide or explain away – Nora works hard to help the woman escape her abusive marriage. As Kovac and his rage spirals out of control, Thomas is drawn into the suspicious murder of one of Kovac’s longest standing friends. Can Nora and Thomas keep the innocent from being harmed before it’s too late?

I have been really enjoying this Scandinavian mystery series and found this latest addition to be a solid and well plotted read. There were a few different threads of the story that the author managed to weave together very well as the plot progressed. While I do feel readers new to this series should be able to pick this book up and enjoy it on it’s own merits, there is a fair bit of history between Nora and her family, and also Thomas and his marriage that might not be easily picked up until well into the book.

As this is the ninth book in the series some of the character’s backstory seems to be expected to be understood so I do feel some readers might feel a little lost initially. The plot though and everything connected to both the legal trial Nora is building as well as the murder Thomas is investigating is all very well explained and self contained in this book. Only a few aspects of Nora and Thomas’ private lives are a little less clearly defined for readers.

I felt there was a really good amount of tension and build up to this book. The stakes grow quite high – especially as Kovac clearly loses control over himself and his escalation had me feeling quite worried in a number of places. I was also pleased with the ending – I felt it was quite a satisfactory wrap up – though I do have to admit the epilogue threw me for a bit of a curve and while it didn’t quite feel like a cliffhanger I did jump immediately online to discover if the next (and I believe possibly final) book in the series carried this plotline on or if it was a new case for Nora and Thomas. Readers who hate any lose threads might want to make sure they have both this and the next book in the series before they begin to read, as I could understand if some readers might want to jump immediately into the next book after reading this epilogue.

A well written and tightly paced murder mystery this is a good Scandinavian noir style of legal and police procedural novel.

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