The Boy in the Shadows, by Carl-Johan Vallgren


Translated from Swedish, this is a complex thriller with many interwoven plots. It takes place mostly in Stockholm, so the large number of Swedish place names and names of Swedish characters give it an additional complexity similar to reading a Russian novel in translation. Don’t let this deter you.

This is a gritty novel, descending into the worlds of heroin addicts, the police, international intelligence agencies, covert operations, Swedish PSYOPS, and the realm of the very rich. What does a wealthy Swedish family and voodoo have in common? Their family had sugar plantations in Haiti and their grand father fell in love with a black woman. Their child was biracial but the black characteristics did not show up until the grandchild was born in Stockholm.

Interweave the plot of Katz, a Jewish boy raised in a gritty neighborhood with an abusive alcoholic father. He is accused of the gristly murder of his teenage girlfriend. He is a heroin addict. He is selected, against all odds, to be trained in a special army intelligence unit, where he becomes allies with Klingberg, scion of the wealthy Stockholm family.

Their lives continue to intertwine through robberies, kidnapping and murders. The story will keep you reading late into the night.

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About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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