Title: Stockholm South: Siege
Authors: Karl Eidem and Jale Poljarevius
Published on: 9 December 2021 (translated version)
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
It started as just another ordinary day for Inspector Hannah Kaufman. On her way to work, she was called to a possible scene of crime – there were reports of shots fired at a local children’s hospital. On reaching the place, Hannah is made the commanding officer. A group of armed men have entered Stockholm South Children’s hospital and held children, parents and hospital staff hostage. Their demand is to release 39 prisoners soon or they will start killing one child every hour.
Meanwhile, a journalist looking for her ‘moment of fame’ learns of the attack at the hospital and rushes to the scene. She illegally crosses the police cordon and sets up a live recording session. As the clock starts ticking, Hannah and her team hear shots fired inside the hospital. Minutes later, one of the terrorists drop a package wrapped in white sheet at the hospital gate. They have started killing the hostages and their first victim is a young boy.
As body count starts to increase, Hannah and her team are torn between saving innocent lives and catching the terrorists red-handed.
Stockholm South: Seige is one of the most disturbing thrillers I have read so far. This was certainly a very difficult story to read and digest. I just hope this doesn’t give me nightmares for long. Killing of innocent children – they literally just pick a random kid and shoot! The torture and the trauma is just too much.
The story starts with a man keeping an eye on two nurses – they are immigrant-sisters. The next scene is Hannah’s just another ordinary day scenario. Inspector Hannah suffers from Hashimoto’s Syndrome and some days are difficult than the rest; thankfully, she’s woken up feeling better today. But things take a turn for worse as soon as she is on her way to work. She’s called to a possible scene of crime – reports of shots being fired at Stockholm South Children’s hospital. When she arrives at the scene, she’s told this might be a possible terrorist attack.
Soon, the cops receive a message from the terrorists: they want 39 prisoners released and travel arrangements made to transport them to a different country. On failing to do so ASAP, they will start killing one child every hour. As Hannah and her team start making plans, the clock starts ticking. They hear two shots fired – a few minutes later, a child’s body wrapped in a white sheet is placed at the hospital gate by one of the terrorists.
A wannabe-famous journalist is on the scene filming it live. When she posts the video online, things turn take for a worse. People want the police to take action ASAP, the terrorists are angry (as well as happy) at the new-found fame. But the journalist takes a step too far. She has an insider at the police department ( a dirty cop) from whom she receives a juicy piece of news – the cops have an insider at the hospital who is helping them set up an ambush. When she reveals this on her video, the terrorists up their game – this also means the body count is set to rise.
There are mentions of the Beslan School siege. How things went wrong during the ambush and stuff like that – and also, a connection between that and the Stockholm South hospital siege. I usually stay away from reading disturbing thrillers like these – there was no mention of killings in the blurb. Had I known the story contains gruesome murder of innocent children, I wouldn’t have picked this book.
A lot of loose ends as the story ends and we readers are left to conclude a side-story or two on our own. The major action (the police ambush) happens in the latter part of the book (at around 80% through) and from them, things end very quickly. I wish the author had elaborated the ambush rather than describe in detail the horrific killings of innocent hostages.
Overall, this was an okay read. Like I said, not the kind of books I usually choose. This book was initially written in Swedish and has recently translated to English – a pretty good translation job, I must say. Stockholm South: Siege is the first book in Inspector Hannah Kaufman series. I don’t think I will be picking up next in the series – unless it is less disturbing than this one!
I received an ARC from Saga Egmont and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.