Danish author S.J. Gazan established herself as an international talent to watch with her debut thriller novel, The Dinosaur Feather. In addition to being named "Crime Novel of the Decade" by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, NPR's Maureen Corrigan called it her favorite mystery of 2013, and The Wall Street Journal's Tom Nolan placed it in his year-end top ten list.
Now, Gazan's much-anticipated follow-up is here, bringing back maverick policeman Soren Marhauge. In The Arc of the Swallow, a perilous investigation reveals a profit-motivated conspiracy involving the upper reaches of Big Pharma, government, and academia.
Biology Ph.D. candidate Marie Skov is devastated when, on the same day as her mother's death, her mentor Kristian Storm apparently kills himself. Storm had been facing academic dishonesty charges, as well as heated criticism of his research on a vaccine for African children--that suggested the vaccine was causing more harm than it was preventing.
Skov is skeptical that the death was a suicide. She knows Storm's research on the vaccine was sound, and learns that his on-site work in Guinea-Bissau was marred by intimidation, sabotaged data, and the suspicious death of another scientist. She also learns that in his final days, Storm felt he was being followed by a blue Ford with tinted windows.
Soon afterwards, a blue Ford with tinted windows parks across from Skov's home. The police have no interest in re-examining the official narrative. But Marhauge shares Skov's desire for answers, and defies his superiors to help her investigate. They receive unlikely help from a Nobel Prize-winning rival of Storm's, and find themselves on a perilous trail that leads to Big Pharma and the World Health Organization.
Interwoven in this thrilling storyline are deeply-moving portraits of Skov's troubled family and Marhauge's tenuous relationship with his girlfriend, another biologist. The result is a complex page-turner that establishes S.J. Gazan (herself a biologist) as a world-class author at the beginning of a formidable career.
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S.J. Gazan graduated from the University of Copenhagen with a graduate degree in biology. By incorporating science with murder, and recognizing the secrets and drama of everyday life, Sissel-Jo Gazan has found a unique style that makes her stand out on the Scandinavian crime writing scene.
Her debut work of crime fiction, The Dinosaur Feather, was awarded the 2008 Denmark Radio Literature Prize for Best Novel of the Year and went on to become an international bestseller. The Danish Broadcasting Corporation voted The Dinosaur Feather the Crime Novel of the Decade, and in January 2013, it was awarded the Literature Prize of the Ambassadors of the French-Speaking Countries. The Dinosaur Feather made the top 10 lists of 2014 for both The Wall Street Journal and NPR. It has been sold into more than a dozen countries. Gazan lives in Berlin with her husband and two children.
"Sissel-Jo Gazan has demonstrated that her acclaimed mystery The Dinosaur Feather was no fluke . . . The author has an uncanny knack for quickly drawing a reader into the minds of her characters: suffering their frustrations, laughing at their jokes, worrying during their crises. The domestic intrigues of Marie and her relatives, and of Soren and Anna, prove as engrossing as the criminal conspiracies at hand. Gradually, this excellent book's separate story-lines draw tight, and Soren's knitting-backwards proves not so different after all from the scientific method."―The Wall Street Journal
"[Gazan's] follow-up foray into the contentious world of health-care research is a smart and compelling thriller. Two well-developed and nicely integrated mystery plots and a set of lifelike characters make this a high-end thriller for readers of Jo Nesbø and of John le Carré's The Constant Gardener."―Booklist (Starred Review)
"Gazan's excellent sequel to 2013's The Dinosaur Feather draws the reader into the fiercely competitive, high-stakes world of medical research . . . Gazan skillfully introduces characters and cleverly resolves side stories as the action builds to a thrilling denouement."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A formidable mystery . . . Gazan keeps up the pace as she shifts the focus from one painfully dysfunctional family to another, until even the secrets of Søren's childhood are exposed. Among the latest crop of Scandinavian thriller writers, Gazan combines the broad scope of Jo Nesbø with the ability to focus as closely and remorselessly as Karin Fossum."―Kirkus Reviews
"A fast-paced story line involving the World Health Organization, the Nobel Prize committee, and the cutthroat world of academia. From Denmark to West Africa, Gazan takes readers on a roller-coaster ride . . . Less graphic than Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy but just as compelling, Gazan's novel breathes fresh life into the packed Scandinavian mystery genre."―Library Journal
"An amazingly suspenseful scientific thriller . . . you will be entertained, provoked, and educated along the way. One of the best [crime novels] I have read, and one you should treat yourself to."―Julia Lahme, Femina (Denmark)
"Sissel-Jo Gazan once again demonstrates the careful composition and genre skill that is needed to create a crime novel with more to offer . . . It has taken her five years to get there, and she scores highly on all the components that an entertaining and challenging crime novel should contain."―Politiken (Denmark)
"The author writes elegantly and with obvious warm insight into her fellow human beings. A family chronicle that evolves into a scientific thriller, and it goes down like ice cream on a hot summer's day."―Antennen (Denmark)
Praise for The Dinosaur Feather
"My best mystery of the year turns out to be yet another stunner from Scandinavia. I could be wrong (but I don't think I am) when I say that Gazan disposes of a murder victim here by an infernal means that no other mystery writer--not even the resourceful Dame Agatha--ever concocted."―Maureen Corrigan, NPR. "Favorite 10 Books of 2013."
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