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Hello all,

So I’m going to start with the most important thing and work my way backward. Did you taste those desserts Kim made???? Our scratch baker Kim made not one, not two, not three (I’m almost done) but four homemade little mini pies to choose from. If it were anyone else I would have called bullshit when she said she made the pie crusts too, but we know Kim and we know her desserts. Yum.

We started off with a little crossword puzzle and Kim and Amy tied for getting all of the answers. We drew a name and Kim won a copy of Daniel Silva’s Black Widow and a Crime Scene bookmark.

But we weren’t just there to eat and do puzzles, we discussed a book too. We talked about Marked for Life by Swedish author Emelie Schepp (chh-hu-wep – and you thought I couldn’t do it in an email). For those who already forgot what the book was about, it went something like this:

En sommardag 1991 vaknar nioåriga Jana Berzelius upp på ett sjukhus. Hon har inget minne av vem hon är eller var hon kommer ifrån. Tjugoett år senare får hon, som framgångsrik åklagare, uppdraget att leda förundersökningen i det uppmärksammade mordet på Hans Juhlén, verksamhetschef på Migrationsverket i Norrköping.

Oh, wait, you wanted it in English?

When the head of immigration is shot dead, suspects quickly emerge. But no one can account for the mysterious child-size fingerprints at the scene. Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius steps in to lead the investigation. Young and brilliant but emotionally cold, Berzelius, like her famous prosecutor father, is not swayed by the devious widow or threats of blackmail. She is steely, aloof, impenetrable. Until the boy… On a nearby shore, the drug-riddled body of a young teen is found along with a murder weapon. Reviewing his autopsy, Berzelius sees something hauntingly familiar… Carved deeply into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking—and trigger in her a flash of recognition from her own nightmarish childhood. Now, to protect herself and keep her dark past a secret, she must solve the crimes and find the depraved mastermind first…before the police do.

We got some mixed reviews on the book but a great discussion. I think we ALL agreed that it was full of some despicable people. Jana who was supposed to uphold the law but broke it for her own gain, Mia who was immature and jealous and stole from her partner and then paid him back with the same money, Jana’s Dad who had no affection whatsoever, the dead Immigration guy who tortured and brutalized helpless girls, the brother of the girl who blackmailed the Immigration guy and then used the money for himself, the getaway driver who put his cats in the freezer, Papa and Mama for obvious and oh so many reasons, and perhaps the worst of all was Henrik’s wife who wouldn’t let the poor man go to the gym!

The scores were as follows: Three 9s, two 8.5s, one 8, two 7.5s, four 7s, three 6s, one 5.5, two 5s and one 2.

Amy wanted Mama and Papa to die so she was satisfied and didn’t need to slap anyone.
Gail thought the characters had no depth.
Jennifer thought there were too many characters and they were flat.
Kim enjoyed it but it dragged in the middle.
Raj is tired of being cooped up in her house and hopes to be at the April meeting.
Chris thought the storyline was good but doesn’t like books with foreign, hard to pronounce names.
Lorraine thought the book was gritty and dark and needed a shower after reading.
Judy couldn’t put it down and there were enough dead bodies for her liking.
Pat thought it was entertaining and a good storyline, she thought Mia was immature.
Janine said it was engaging, she took 1 point away for the cats in the freezer part.
Bruce thought it was disjointed.
Cindy had a hard time keeping track of all the characters.
Dave didn’t like the cardboard characters and thought it was dark and boring.
Jay thought it was interesting but that it jumped and was disjointed. But it wasn’t awful.
Jeff had a hard time getting through it and it didn’t grab him.
Sharon K. couldn’t put it down and like the characters.
Kerry didn’t think the characters were flat, she liked that more time was spent on the plot.
Sharon L. loved the book and how evil Jana was, she was supposed to be good but was so bad.
Denise loved it and thought it was a gripping story with a chilling plot and complicated main character.
Dennis said ditto to Denise.

Some people plan to read the other books in the series. Marked for Revenge is already out and Marked for Death is due out in the US at the end of the year. For those who said they wouldn’t read another book in the series, fear not, Jo Nesbø has a new one too, ha.

All in all, Dave and I decided that Emelie Schepp and Alexander Skarsgard are the cutest things Sweden ever made and that the rest of the population seems dark and disturbed. Which works for me, because I like to read their dark and disturbing books.

Next month we’re reading The English Spy by Daniel Silva. Terri will lead and Pat will bring snacks. I’ll be tracking vampires in Transylvania but will be with you in spirit. If anyone has a wooden stake I can borrow, let me know. Now where did I put that garlic?

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