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The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol

The Boy in the Suitcase (edition 2012)

by Lene Kaaberbol, Agnete Friis

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6975013,645 (3.62)78
Title:The Boy in the Suitcase
Authors:Lene Kaaberbol
Other authors:Agnete Friis
Info:Soho Crime (2012), Paperback, 317 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl



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English (43)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I had a tough time with this one. I will skip the "what it's about" part as that can be read in other posts. Although I liked the story idea it took quite a few chapters for it to get going. Too many character introduction chapters and it took a bit to understand how they connected. And too many names starting with the letter "J" was confusing because of their odd spellings. I realize the names reflect the countries in which the story takes place, but I'm sure they have names that start with other letters. It would have made it easier to distinguish who was who and remember them.

I also did not care for the main character Nina. The fact that she couldn't stop herself from "helping" people(and I think "helping" was in her mind only) was compulsive self gratification not empathy. If there was some sort of feelings expressed towards the boy in the suitcase I would have felt some tension & sympathy to her character. Saving the boy was self-serving and Nina seemed rather manic. Could be that was intentional. I could have stood it if she was a minor character but she was not the type of main character I enjoy, much too shallow.

I didn't get the intended sympathy for Nina as I imagine the author intended. I felt no need to root for her. I felt sympathy for her in the way it struck me that she was mentally ill. The need for attention to be seen by all with her good deeds to others--yet ignores her own family (not enough self-gratification derived from it.)So not my type of main character.

Now, I can read books where the main character is unlikeable, if he/she is meant to be that way--a bad guy's story. But Nina was not a character I could connect with in any way. I kept thinking --some one, please-- save the kid from that woman! She can't even connect emotionally with her own kids, the boy won't survive her, let alone the bad guys.

At the end of this book there is a chapter for a second book continuing with Nina as the MC. I don't think I could read it and get much enjoyment from my MC bent on destroying her family to fulfill her own need. I'd like to see a book by these authors with Sagita in the lead, the kidnapped boys mother.

I gave it 3 stars because, as I said the story idea was good & lots of twists and turns, and it did eventually come together in the end. I also really enjoyed Sagita. In fact, I would have liked the story better if it was mainly told from Sagita's point of view. Her character had emotions and was believable, I felt something for her. There was the real story for me. She went from injured, confused and helpless to "I will kill you if you hurt my son." Her character had emotional depth and she is why I finished the book.

Sagita would be a better character for a second book, Nina--not so much. I don't think I could read the second one with Nina as the MC knowing the train wreck was coming. ( )
  CindyAmrhein | May 20, 2014 |
I have very mixed feelings about The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol. On one hand, I did find this to be an intense and rather dark thriller, but on the other hand, the lead character Nina (or ninny as I like to call her) was just so unbelievable that the whole book just felt wrong.

A three-year old Lithuanian boy goes missing and his single mother tries desperately to put the pieces together and find her son. Meanwhile, in Denmark, a nurse named Nina Borg finds a small, naked boy in a suitcase. Nina is a Red Cross Nurse, used to dealing with emergency situations and so should be have been quick to respond to the situation she found herself in. Instead of calling the police and ensuring the boy was healthy and safe, she dithers around, driving aimlessly in her car while she decides what to do. Even when she realizes the type of people that she has rescued this child from, she still doesn’t contact the authorities. In fact she makes one bad decision after another and her absolute disregard and neglect toward her own husband and children drove me crazy. I realize that the plot hinged on Nina’s reluctance to call the police, but it was so illogical that I just couldn’t buy into this story.

It’s unfortunate that this plot device ruined the story for me, but since the series continues on with Nina as the main character, I doubt that I will be reading any more of these books. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Apr 17, 2014 |
Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg becomes involved in an international kidnapping when she agrees to do a favor for a friend. All she has to do is pick up a suitcase from a locker. Nina's world changes when she opens the suitcase and finds a naked and unconscious boy. Meanwhile in Lithuania, the boy's mother is desperate to find her missing son. When the police move too slowly for her comfort, she takes matters into her own hands.

I read a lot of predictable crime novels. This one went in directions I didn't expect. It was actually a 4-star book, but I deducted a half star because I found Nina Borg so unlikeable. There didn't seem to be any good reason for Nina not to immediately take the child to the police. Instead, she spends her time running all over Copenhagen trying to decide what to do next. For me, the real hero is the boy's mother, Sigita. As far as I'm concerned, she was the real investigator in this crime novel. If Sigita was the main character in the series, I'd continue reading it without a second thought. Since Nina Borg is the central character, I doubt I'll read another book in the series. There are too many other more tempting books out there. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Apr 14, 2014 |
It is a nice well written story, ik like change of perspective of the different characters. Verry well done. I would have liked a little more elaborate ending. It now gives me the feeling that it had to be finished because of deadlines of going over a page quota.

Still highly recommended. ( )
  fRiets | Feb 6, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book as a crime story, I enjoyed the writing and I loved trying to work out how all of the various families came together under the same circumstances. You could really tell one character from another, even though there were plenty of characters to go around and you sort of worked out their back stories as you read. I can't say that I thought said characters made the best decisions possible, given the situations they were in, but if the author didn't do some of that arranging, the plot wouldn't have moved around as it did. I was constantly curious throughout and was eager to discover what was really going on. Not sure how I feel about the ending, however. Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy crime novels with unusual twists.
  mirrani | Dec 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Nina Borg, the central character in this startling novel from Denmark, has convinced herself she’s the only person who can save the world and put things right. She seems to be going at the monumental task one small job at a time. In The Boy in the Suitcase, she takes on international trafficking in young children, though at the start of the story she hasn’t the faintest idea of the nature of the terrible crime she’s dealing with.

At first glance, Borg appears to be a modern feminist who has it all: a husband and three children, a roomy flat in Copenhagen, a fulfilling job as an International Red Cross nurse. But Borg, the idealist, is forever rushing off to the world’s hellholes to rescue the ill, the starving and the beleaguered. In the new book, the ghastly problem comes to her at home in Copenhagen.

When Borg does a favour for a friend, picking up a suitcase at the city’s main train station, she finds a three-year-old boy inside the suitcase, drugged, naked but very much alive. The plot that unfolds from this astounding discovery includes murder, big money and acts of remarkable cruelty to children and their mothers.

The two authors, Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis, tell the story from the viewpoints of a half-dozen people. These characters cover the moral range from the suffering mother of the boy in the suitcase to the man who put him there and the other guy who financed the casually inhuman activity. But the narrative never loses sight of Borg, the woman who manages to persist in protecting the kid in the suitcase even when she realizes she’s risking the loss of everything decent in her life.

Kaaberbol and Friis have had individual past successes in genres of much different sorts, best-selling fantasy novels for Kaaberbol, children’s books for Friis. Working together, they’ve come up with a novel of feminist crime fiction that has tremendous power. It’s a benefit to English-speaking readers that Kaaberbol provided the English translation, producing a highly appealing version of the original Danish book. Unlike other translations of Scandinavian crime novels, usually written by translators from England, this one is smooth, elegant and free of the usual tone-deaf English slang.
added by VivienneR | editThe Toronto Star, Jack Batten (Feb 25, 2012)
Novels about stolen children are emotionally hard for most readers to handle, and yet they are instantly compelling because so much is at stake: a child’s tender psyche or even life...But when a 3-year-old is forcibly taken from his anguished mother, as happens in this terrific Danish thriller, you know you’re in for a frantic read. Is this “fun”? Yes and no. What’s for sure is that, once you start reading, you can’t stop — it’s as if the poor kid’s life depends on your getting to the end as fast as possible......This series debut — translated with assurance by Kaaberbol — looks like another winning entry in the emotionally lacerating Scandinavian mystery sweepstakes.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kaaberbøl, Leneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friis, Agnetemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Friis, Agnetemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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The house sat on the brink of a cliff, with an unhindered view of the bay.
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original title: Drengen i kufferten
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Red Cross nurse Nina Borg is drawn into Copenhagen's brutal underworld when she becomes the unwitting caretaker of a three-year-old boy who may be a victim of child trafficking.

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