Monday, February 2, 2015

Guest Review: Into a Raging Blaze

Summary: Andreas Norman, a former diplomat in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was deeply involved in counter-terrorism work and Sweden’s role in the Arab Spring. In his debut novel, Into a Raging Blaze, Norman uses his insider knowledge to create a mesmerizing espionage thriller that reverberates with authenticity.

In September 2011, things are going well for Carina Dymek. The intelligent, determined young woman has expertly carried out her duties as EU Coordinator for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A promotion is likely any day now.

She’s moved past her divorce and found true love in the arms of Jamal Badawi, an Egyptian-Swedish national. And she’s been chosen to represent Sweden at an international meeting in Brussels on joint security policy. But she gets far more than she bargained for at the conference, when a nervous-looking man who only identifies himself as “Jean” approaches her during the lunch break outside and presses a USB storage device into her hand with little explanation. Carina is shocked and disturbed by what the contents of the letter reveal: High-level plans for a new pan-European intelligence service, bound by few if any national laws or international rules of conduct in its surveillance, arrest, and interrogation protocols. And its objectives are equally questionable, with a clear agenda to curb foreign immigration into the EU, and freely violate civil rights for the sake of pre-empting Arab terrorism.

When Carina dutifully presents the documents to her superiors at the MFA, they are not happy. Before long Carina is suspended, escorted from the building by security, and under investigation by SAPO, Sweden’s Intelligence Agency. Initially SAPO agent Bente Jensen–another strong, resourceful woman–focuses on the question of how a rank-and-file MFA employee obtained this ticking time bomb of intelligence.

The stakes rise for both Carina and Bente when the British MI6 muscles in to Sweden, intent on affecting a quick resolution to the situation–and by any means necessary. They’re particularly interested in Dymek’s connection to Badawi, whom they know to be the nephew of a Muslim Brotherhood leader under numerous counterterrorism investigations. MI6 wants Badawi’s uncle, and they want to be sure anyone with information about the secret intelligence service is definitively silenced. So when they learn of Carina’s relationship with Jamal, they see a possible opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. In the tradition of the classics works of espionage fiction, this gripping debut novel captures the ways in which spies and diplomats are occasionally swept up into the grinding gears of international intelligence operations–often with devastating human costs. - Quercus

It seems like Booking Pap Pap has been reading and writing reviews more than I have been lately. His latest review is INTO A RAGING BLAZE  by Andreas Norman which has received two starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal. I think he found it an interesting read! Here are his thoughts:

Carina Dymek, a young analyst in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is in Brussels participating in a work session concerning the European Union’s relationship with the Arab nations when she is approached by a stranger who gives her a memory stick containing a leaked top-secret report.

On her return to Stockholm, Carina innocently passes the information on to her superiors at the foreign ministry and to Jamal Badawi, a Swedish civil servant who also happens to be Carina’s boyfriend. Carina doesn’t realize she has passed on classified information that puts her under suspicion. She soon is being investigated by Bente Jensen, an agent for Swedish Security Forces.

In an effort to find the stranger and clear her name, Carina solicits the help of a few programmer friends to aid in the hunt. When the intelligence services intercept their online chats and then learns that Carina’s boyfriend is an Egyptian-Swedish national with family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, they soon conclude that an attack is being planned for the next European summit. The title words of the book, INTO A RAGING BLAZE, is a line found in an Arab poem book possessed by Jamal that adds fuel to the fire. Carina and Jamal become caught up in an international case and their lives are changed forever.

The book is well written with Carina and Bente depicted as two strong female characters. The translation from the Swedish is well done and flows smoothly.

INTO A RAGING BLAZE is a political spy thriller with a plausible plot that is entertaining, but the contemporary issue of security versus privacy is the dominant theme throughout the book. Swedish author Andreas Norman depicts the United States and Britain as the bullies in the novel emphasizing the importance of security at any cost. The novel portrays a realistic scenario of how an innocent act can be construed as a threat to a country’s safety.

I recommend INTO A RAGING BLAZE to those who enjoy a fast paced spy novel.

Thanks to Booking Pap Pap for is review and thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Beth F said...

Go Booking Pap Pap! I don't read a lot of political spy thrillers, but Mr. BFR sometimes likes them.

bermudaonion said...

I do enjoy a fast paced novels, especially these days when I can't seem to focus on any one thing for very long.