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Studio Sex (Annika Bengtzon Thriller) Mass Market Paperback – October 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Demonstrating that literary tastes abroad do not necessarily coincide with those of American readers, this second volume of a projected trilogy of thrillers a bestseller in Europe plods dutifully from start to finish. This installment is a prequel to the first volume, The Bomber (released in the U.S. last spring), which followed the adventures of Swedish journalist Annika Bengtzon. Eight years before her Bomber adventures, Annika is a novice reporter for the fictional Stockholm tabloid, Kvellspressen. Assigned to screening crank phone calls on the tip line in hopes of getting an occasional valid news break, Annika receives an anonymous tip about the nude corpse of a young girl in a public park. Sent with a photographer and an experienced reporter to follow up, she is rewarded with the admiration of her editors for her reporting but falls victim to the envy of the regular staff for her success. As the plot develops, the focus of the investigation shifts from the victim's lover, the owner of the upscale sex club where she worked, to an important government minister who keeps a secret apartment near the park. Delving into the bureaucrat's alibi, Annika discovers that he is somehow involved in the coverup of the reappearance of a missing archive that could shake the foundation of the ruling Social Democrats. Annika dons a G-string and goes undercover; a murky diary details sexual obsession; but repetition and minutiae weaken a plot fairly begging for resolution. The novel's pacing leaves much to be desired for American readers used to snappier action, and Marklund fails to supply substance in the form of serious character development or literary styling.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Despite the titillating title, there's no sex to speak of in Marklund's second thriller featuring Swedish reporter Annika Bengtzon. The events in this book precede those in The Bomber [My 1 01], which introduced Annika as a successful newspaper editor. Here we see her eight years earlier, working as a summer intern at the same Stockholm paper. A young stripper's body is found in a city park, and as Annika and her colleagues investigate, they discover some strange links between the murder, high-ranking Swedish officials, and an illegal espionage operation long since disbanded. Meanwhile, Annika is struggling with a clingy boyfriend and learning the ins and outs of reporting in a competitive environment. These struggles are more compelling than the crimes she is investigating, and the action tends to move at a snail's pace until the rushed climax. However, fans of The Bomber will enjoy a second dose of spunky Annika and the realistic newsroom scenes. An author's note gives helpful background information on Swedish politics and the real-life inspiration for the story. Carrie Bissey
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Annika Bengtzon Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star; 1st edition (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743417879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743417877
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Janica on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It was for the very reasons PW and Booklist critiqued this book that I loved it. I'm not an avid mystery reader because I usually find mysteries shallow and contrived. Ok, it doesn't have any sex to speak of, and it doesn't race from start to finish, but Annika, the young reporter, is a very real character, not some exotic stereotype. I loved the scenes of her eating mushrooms with her grandmother, and felt like I was catching a glimpse of Sweden through the birch trees. I found myself looking forward to picking it up and reading. At times Annika reminded me of Smilla in Smilla's Sense of Snow, both women possessing a cool detachment that's seasoned with a heaping dash of empathy. I will definitely be reading Marklund's next book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on November 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Intern reporter Annika Bengtzon gets a call on the 'Creepy Calls' line and angles for a role in reporting the story. To her surprise, she gets the assignment and soon finds herself in the midst of the investigation. Through a combination of luck and hard work, Annika gains some insights into the case--tracking down facts that give her newspaper several scoops--but the case is more complicated that she first believes. Somehow a longstanding government corruption case is involved, and the competitive press starts pointing the finger at Annika--insisting that she was running planted news.
Set in Sweden and written by Swedish author Liza Marklund, STUDIO SEX feels European with a concern for international happenings that may seem, well, foreign to U.S. readers. Political intrigues play a role, and U.S. readers may be surprised by the apparent lack of privacy and protection that government officials are accorded. Marklund's insights into human reaction to death--the obsessive grief of many who barely knew the victim yet are now seeking a connection with her--ring true. Annika's battle with journalistic ethics--balancing respect for the dead and their families against the public's right to information--reflects the larger story.
The fundamental story of Studio Sex is that of the growing maturation of Annika as she battles her own demons and tries to get at the truth behind the death of the haunted victim. Marklund's paragraph introductions, showing a young woman's descent into sexual domination and abuse add a texture to the novel--a texture that strengthens rather than distracting from the story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A summer hire at the Stockholm tabloid Kvellspressen, Annika Bengtzon desperately wants to become a permanent reporter on the newspaper. Currently, Annika listens to crank calls on the paper's tip line in hopes of obtaining a legitimate story. One call Annika takes provides the locale of a naked raped dead girl.

Not expecting much from the tip as these usually turn out to be pranks, her editor sends Annika with a photographer to investigate. Instead Annika provides a strong story that earns her accolades from her boss. She continues her inquiries into the life of the victim as she feels that this story is her ticket to a permanent job with the newspaper. However, the case takes an absurd twist from the lover being the suspect to a high government official as a more likely murder candidate. As she follows that detour, Annika begins to uncover a cover-up conspiracy that if exposed could destroy Sweden's current ruling party's grip on the government.

STUDIO SEX, the prequel to THE BOMBER, is an engaging investigative tale that reads somewhat more like an amateur sleuth story because of the heroine's lack of experience. The story line provides plenty of insight into life in Sweden in various ways, but Annika fails to come across as the Swedish Woodward-Bernstein and this is not All the President's Men. Still the novel provides an intriguing conspiracy tale with the required sexual scenes, and a thorough look at Sweden making for an overall fine reading experience.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda Oskam on December 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is tropically hot in Stockholm when the body of a young woman is found in a park. Annika Bengtzon, newspaper journalist with a temporary contract, is sent to the scene and tries to solve the case. The victim, Josefin Liljeberg, works in a nightclub, Studio Sex, which has the same name as an influential radio programme. Because Josephine is a striptease dancer the case is quickly regarded as a "typical murder of a hooker" until the minister of foreign trade comes into the picture as a suspect. In the end he even has to resign, but Annika is convinced that not he, but the owner of the nightclub, has committed the murder. Remains the question why the minister does not deny. Annika meets more and more people who have known Josefin, including her flatmate Patricia, and that only strengthens her belief that there is more to this case. Unfortunately most other people, including her colleagues at the newspaper, do not agree with her and in the end her temporary contract is not renewed and she has to leave the newspaper. But when Annika returns from a short holiday in Turkey she finds new evidence that proves that she was right after all. With this information she gets a job at the newspaper after all, but for this she has to pay a terribly high price in her personal life.

A typical Swedish thriller, very worthwhile reading.
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