No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Review of The Boy in The Suit Case

Book by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

Review by Rose Booker

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

What would you do if you found a boy in a suitcase? What if your friend led you to the locker where the suitcase was found? What if said friend was later found dead? What is one poor Red Cross nurse to do! Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis explore these and many more intriguing questions in their novel, The Boy in the Suit Case.

This novel is a wonderfully dark Scandinavian thriller about Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse with a bad habit of doing good deeds. When her old friend, Karin, suddenly leaves her a token to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, poor Nina is plunged into her most daring good deed yet. Once she opens the locker, she finds a suitcase containing a small boy: naked, drugged, but alive.

What pulled me into the story was the style of the prose. The novel is tightly written and presented in a series of brief vignettes told through the eyes of the various characters. Each one serves as a puzzle piece, a clue, to why the boy was left in the suitcase. This structure adds to the suspense and the feeling of anxious confusion as each character plays their part. By the time Nina opens the suitcase, we are sure of only one thing: that child and Nina are in danger.

For the casual reader, the transitions between vignettes may seem sharp and sudden, only announced by the chapter-like breaks in the text and nothing else. However, this adds to the tone of the novel and by the third vignette I hardly noticed the transitions. In fact I began to read faster because of them – seeing each one build upon the other or fill in the gaps of the jig-saw puzzle that is this mystery.

I highly recommend this book to all those who love thrillers, mysteries, and high literature and to those who love a good puzzlers.

This review first appeared on Writers Advice, Hooked on Books page.

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