19 December, 2012

#BookReview :: The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) by Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis

Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can't say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive. 

Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy's are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

The story starts with Nina Borg dragging out a heavy suitcase from public locker in the train station to her car in the parking lot, where she proceeds to check the contents. She gets the shock of her life when she finds a young naked boy in it – alive! All because she had received the information and request from her friend, Karin, from during her nursing school days. The mystery unfolds as the search for the boys identity leads Nina to discover that her friend Karin has been murdered. The cross country journey to solve this mystery of a little boy who doesn’t speak a language that Nina understands, will take its readers for a mighty bumpy ride.

The author style of narration is different, in the sense that, the book had a slow start. We were introduced to a lot of characters and their immediate situations at the beginning. While the first chapter dealt with the discovery of the boy in the suitcase, we are left to wonder how and why each character is involved in the plot in the subsequent chapters. The author has put in great details about the surrounding and the people and as such the book may seem a little slow to some people. For me it was an opportunity to know more and in a way to travel around Denmark. So, obviously I did enjoy the details. But at the same time I have to mention that at no point of reading the novel did I feel a ‘drag’, on the contrary, the book demanded and had my complete attention.

While the characters in general are well developed, I am not so sure about the protagonist Nina Borg.  Sometimes she seemed a bit contradictory and yet maybe it was her quirks that made her all the more real to me. I think I’ll wait and read more Nina Borg books before forming a complete opinion about her. But yes, I absolutely loved Sigita and I so felt for her.

While reading The Caller by Karin Fossum, I distinctly remember wondering what the Scandinavian Authors eat and breathe because they have the creepiest imagination ever! Well, my question has a bigger WHAT in it now since Lene Kaaberbøl has certainly managed to keep up the tradition and has come up with a story that almost gave me goose bumps! This is in fact the second novel this year that I have read twice in quick succession.

It seems that when it comes to Mystery/Thrillers – Scandanavian Authors are a must read – so of course I encourage you to pick up this one and give it a try.


  1. most amusing plot ! loved the review ..

  2. It must have something to do with the weather that Scandinavian writers have "creepy" imaginations. I know my stories tend to go dark on stormy days.