Blurb: Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens of THREE SECONDS returns in a riveting mystery that centers on perhaps the most controversial subject in the modern criminal justice system: the death penalty.
In Ohio, seventeen-year-old John Meyer Frey rots on Death Row for the brutal murder of his girlfriend. The victim’s father hungers for revenge, while a prison guard is torn by compassion for the young man. When Frey unexpectedly dies of heart disease before he either receives his just punishment or achieves redemption, the wheels of justice grind to a halt.
Six years later, on a ferry between Finland and Sweden, a singer named John Schwarz viciously attacks a drunken lout harassing a woman, leaving the man in a coma. The Stockholm police arrest Schwarz for aggravated assault, but when Grens learns that the assailant has been living in Sweden under a false identity, he begins to suspect that something darker and more complex underlies the incident. Following his intuition, Grens launches an investigation that spans from Sweden to the United States and reveals a startling connection between the Frey and Schwarz cases.
Featuring a multilayered plot with a killer twist, CELL 8 takes readers on a gripping, page-turning journey that explores the devastating repercussions of the death penalty as well as the fallout from the conflicting desires for public justice and private retribution.
I liked this book much better than Box 21. Like many Nordic crime novels, this one focused on more than just the individual crime: in this case, the focus was on the death penalty. Interestingly, while the same characters as appeared in Box 21 didn’t seem to care about the broader ramifications of allowing criminal activity to continue without any attempt to investigate or prosecute it, this book was all about the broader ramifications of investigating a relatively minor crime–aggravated assault–with the result that a man was put to death.
I’m not going to delve into the issue of dozens of unnamed women being sold as sex slaves not being worth saving while a single (admittedly innocent) man being executed has the entire country of Sweden in an uproar, but I do think it’s worth mentioning.
The interpersonal relationships are much more developed in this book than in Box 21. Not so much that it’s intrusive, but it does provide the reader with psychological and emotional insight into all of the investigators, which I felt was missing in Box 21.
So definitely there has been improvement in this series. I’m curious to read the next book.
My rating: 4 stars