By: Emelie Schepp
Series: Jana Berzelius #1
Publication Date: 6/14/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
When a high-ranking head of the migration board is found shot to death in his living room, there is no shortage of suspects, including his wife. But no one expects to find the mysterious child-sized handprint in the childless home.
Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius steps in to lead the investigation. Young and brilliant but emotionally cold, Berzelius, like her famous prosecutor father, won't be swayed by the hysterical widow or intimidated by the threatening letters the victim had tried to hide. Jana is steely, aloof, impenetrable. That is, until the boy…
A few days later on a nearby deserted shoreline, the body of a preteen boy is discovered, and with him, the murder weapon that killed him and the original victim. Berzelius is drawn more deeply into the case for as she attends his autopsy, she recognizes something strangely familiar in his small, scarred, heroin-riddled body. Cut deep into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking and trigger in her a flash of memory of her own dark, fear-ridden past. Her connection to this boy has been carved with deliberation and malice that penetrate to her very core.
Now, to protect her own hidden past, she must find the suspect behind these murders, before the police do.
International bestselling author Emelie Schepp introduces us to the enigmatic, unforgettable Jana Berzelius in this first novel of a chilling trilogy.
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A special thank you to Mira and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Swedish author, Emelie Schepp delivers her US debut, MARKED FOR LIFE, the first in the crime trilogy, (Jana Berzelius #1).
A prosecutor leading a high-profile investigation- for a dark chilling multi-layered twisty plot leading into a human-trafficking operation, and the protagonist’s own intriguing mysterious personal past.
Both subtle and grisly, a delicious Nordic noir. The author delivers complexity and inner turmoil, exemplified by Jana’s character and the bone-chilling Scandinavian setting.
Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius grew up in a household where emotions were kept at a distance. With a retired prosecutor father, who would never congratulate his daughter on a successful court case. Jana was accustomed to his taciturnity.
Even her mother Margaretha, who was warm and loving during her childhood, seemed to prefer to clean the house rather than play games with her. At age thirty she treated her parents with the same unemotional respect with which they had raised her.
Jana is called by her superior to assist on an investigation. A woman had been detailed after she called the police to report finding her husband Hans Juhlén dead. The official in charge of migration asylum issues in Norrkoping. Shot. Murdered. Age fifty-nine. They had been married since age eighteen. The wife says she did not killer her husband, only found him. Forensic experts say the murder took place in the home.
Mia Bolander (rivals) was not thrilled to be working with Jana (the one with no personality, stiff, formal, arrogant diva upperclass girl. Jana was old money, while Mia with her working-class background was mortgaged. Now working on the case Henrick Levin, Mia, and Jana.
From clues of threatening letters, messages, cash, and fingerprints belonging to a child whose body turns up a few days later. The couple did not have children.
His work had made him vulnerable. The decision process for asylum was difficult and he did not like turning seekers away. People were desperate and not everyone qualified. Threats, revenge, blackmail? Had he gotten to close?
During the case, we receive flashbacks from Jana's childhood. Strange dreams she had been experiencing- like nightmares. Was the case bringing back repressed memories? Her scar. Adopted. Four letters. Six numbers. Shipping containers. Innocent children.
A girl, a boy, and a woman. A mission. A boy is found. A scar. Child trafficking. A Mirror. Who is looking for the lost children?
Her own dark past? Carving by a child’s hand. Letters carved in the skin. A stolen childhood, murdered parents.
Refugees, drugs, money, smugglers? First Hans Juhlen, then the boy and last Thomas Rydberg. Mass graves at sea.
To protect her own hidden past, Jana must find the suspect behind these murders, before the police does. She had been told she had fallen down onto a rail track in the underground and hit her head so hard she lost her memory.
Jana Berzelius has not told anyone that she woke up at a hospital without any memories when she was nine years old.
Memories or fantasies? Images and fragments through dreams. She has to know who she really is, while searching for the truth of the boy.
“From a crushed child you can carve out a deadly weapon. A soldier without any feelings, without anything to lose, is the most dangerous there is.”
The Scandinavian crime fiction or Nordic noir, is compelling --from dark secrets and hidden hatreds.
Comprising crime fiction with common characteristics, of cop procedures, an engrossing mystery, suspense and forensics, the author explores the dark, morally complex mood, of Jana. Her identity- delving into her own childhood, making the intensity high and personal. Fascinating, and unique. Staying one step ahead of the police.
Marked For Life is an intriguing beginning to the dark, enigmatic and absorbing Jana Berzelius trilogy. Looking forward to the next!
Also listened to the Audiobook (Harlequin Audio), narrated by Christine Lakin for an engaging performance!
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About the Author
Achievements: Won the 1998 New Drama Prize "Meetings". Marked for life became the sixth best-selling e-book in 2014, the year's best-selling audio book in 2015 and was nominated the same year to the Great Audiobook Prize. White trail has also been nominated to the Great Audiobook price determined in Stockholm in March 2016. The series of prosecutors Jana Berzelius is sold to twenty-five countries around the world.
Other: Has written two screenplays.
A little more:
Emelie Schepp was born in 1979 and grew up in Motala. She has worked for many years as a project manager in the advertising industry.
The written word has always been close to her heart and in 1998 she won first prize in the Östergötland Theatre's drama prize "Meetings". Since then she has written two feature screenplays and two crime novels set in Norrkoping. Marked for life became her first book in 2013 that she first gave out self-published, and with over 40,000 copies sold Schepp ranked as Sweden's leading private publisher. Marked for life is the first part in the series about prosecutors Jana Berzelius. The book became a sensation and today has sold close to 200,000 copies. Marked for life became Sweden's sixth best-selling e-book in 2014 (Swedish bookstore), the year's best-selling audio book in 2015 (Swedish Bookstore) and was nominated for the Swedish Audiobook Prize. Sequel White tracks released in May 2015 and has long topped the sales charts. Even the White tracks have been nominated to the Great Audiobook Prize. The series of Jana Berzelius is sold to twenty-five countries around the world. Read More