The Demon of Dakar
Review: Kjell Eriksson crafts a complex tale of international drug trade, illegal aliens, single parenting, greed and murder in The Demon of Dakar, the third mystery featuring Uppsala Police Inspector Ann Littell.
Much of the story revolves around the activities of two restaurants, Alhambra and Dakar, which are owned by drug lords Slobodan Andersson and his partner Armas. But it all begins with the Alavez brothers, Manuel, Angel and Patrico, whose simple meager lives in Mexico are now in ruin. After crossing from Mexico into California and waiting for someone to hire them for the day, they are approached by two men, the "tall one" Armas and the "fat one" Slobodan Anderson. All the brothers had to do was carry a bag from one place to another–overseas. Manuel refused, but his younger brothers, especially Patrico, who was always prepared to go just a little further to see what was concealed behind the next curve, hill or street corner, jumped at the chance to make more money with less work. So it was that Angel and Patrico began their lives as international drug runners. They were told if the drugs were delivered and if they were caught, they would still be given $10,000 for their efforts. Angel was killed while trying to escape arrest in San Sebastian, Spain. Patrico was arrested at the airport between Spain and Germany and was sentenced to fifteen years in a prison in Sweden. As the oldest, Manuel felt responsible for his brothers, even though they, too, could have said "No", but he felt he should have done something to stop them. Now, he is going to the Swedish prison to visit his young brother and get the full story of what has happened.
When an almost naked body is discovered in the local river, Inspector Ann Lindell and her brain squad are given the case. The man had been killed before entering the water by a slash across his throat. On one arm a patch of skin had been cut out. Lindell suspects that a tattoo has been removed. She cam think of only two reasons for the deletion: to make the identification more difficult or that the tattoo could be a direct link to the murderer. The dead man is finally identified as Armas, a known drug traffiker. Does his death have anything to do with Manuel Alavez who has recently arrived in Sweden? If so, why was his tattoo cut off his arm? The mystery of Armas' life is as questionable as is his death.
The multiple stories in The Demon of Dakar are woven together with such finesse and realism that, despite the complexity of the plot, which definitely has the potential to confuse but somewhat inexplicably and agreeably doesn't, the reader is riveted to the words on pages. Little is as it seems here and just as peripheral characters are caught up in the what happens at the restaurants and the subsequent investigation of the murder, so does the reader. For those unfamiliar with Swedish police procedurals, The Demon of Dakar would serve as a terrific introduction.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Demon of Dakar.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a trade paperback edition of The Demon of Dakar for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Demon of Dakar: Uppsala, Sweden
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The Demon of Dakar by Kjell Eriksson — An Ann Lindell mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $14.95