1) Anders Roslund's anticipating my question about the significance of the protagonist's name in the series of thrillers he writes with Börge Hellström. That protagonist is named Ewart Grens, he appears in such books as the Dagger Award-winning Three Seconds and the Cell 8, among others, and grens does apparently mean border in Swedish, as it does in other Germanic languages. I had assumed the name suggested, ironically or otherwise, that Grens is a bulwark against international crime in the books' borderless Baltic world, but Roslund chalked it up to Grens' actions that sometimes straddle the border between good and not good.
Note that Grens is not the stereotyped tough-guy cop who stops at nothing to get the job done, the cop so tough the law can't contain him, and so on. No, his misdeeds raise real moral questions. For an example, read Box 21.
2) Gianrico Carofiglio's insistence that he surprised when an enthusiastic Italian critic said his first novel, Involuntary Witness, was the best legal thriller ever written in Italy. "I never thought I wrote a legal thriller," he said. As successive novels did will commercially and critically, he said, he decided that "I write legal thrillers." The same was the case when readers would ask if his books were autobiographical. No, he said at first. Then, once the books turned out to be hits, yes.
3) Lene Kaaberbøl cowrote The Boy in the Suitcase with Agnete Friis. She also translated the novel from Danish into English. That's why I asked her if the book's reference to a brutal pimp as "the man with the serpent tattoo" was a message to Stieg Larsson ghost and to his English-language readers. No, she said, though she did appear to enjoy the suggestion. Intentional or not, it adds one more layer of meaning for readers, just as the multiple implications of Grens.
4) A Hendricks and tonic at the hotel bar costs $12.98.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011