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The Andalucian Friend

Cover of The Andalucian Friend

The Andalucian Friend

A Novel
Borrow Borrow
A Monumental International Crime Thriller That Brad Thor Calls "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets The Sopranos."
Enemies Are Everywhere

When Sophie Brinkmann—nurse, widow, single mother—meets Hector Guzman, her life is uneventful. She likes his quiet charm and easy smile; she likes the way he welcomes her into his family. She quickly learns, though, that his smooth façade masks something much more sinister.
Guzman is the head of a powerful international crime ring with a reach into drugs and weapons that extends from Europe to South America. His interests are under siege by a ruthless German syndicate who will stop at nothing to stake their claim. But the Guzmans are fighters and will go to war to protect what's rightfully theirs. The conflict quickly escalates to become a deadly turf war between the rival organizations that includes an itinerant arms dealer, a deeply disturbed detective, a vicious hit man, and a wily police chief. Sophie, too, is unwittingly caught in the middle. She must summon everything within her to navigate this intricate web of moral ambiguity, deadly obsession, and craven gamesmanship.
The Andalucian Friend is a powerhouse of a novel—turbo-charged, action-packed, highly sophisticated, and epic in scope—and announces Alexander Söderberg as the most exciting new voice in thrillers in a generation.
A Monumental International Crime Thriller That Brad Thor Calls "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets The Sopranos."
Enemies Are Everywhere

When Sophie Brinkmann—nurse, widow, single mother—meets Hector Guzman, her life is uneventful. She likes his quiet charm and easy smile; she likes the way he welcomes her into his family. She quickly learns, though, that his smooth façade masks something much more sinister.
Guzman is the head of a powerful international crime ring with a reach into drugs and weapons that extends from Europe to South America. His interests are under siege by a ruthless German syndicate who will stop at nothing to stake their claim. But the Guzmans are fighters and will go to war to protect what's rightfully theirs. The conflict quickly escalates to become a deadly turf war between the rival organizations that includes an itinerant arms dealer, a deeply disturbed detective, a vicious hit man, and a wily police chief. Sophie, too, is unwittingly caught in the middle. She must summon everything within her to navigate this intricate web of moral ambiguity, deadly obsession, and craven gamesmanship.
The Andalucian Friend is a powerhouse of a novel—turbo-charged, action-packed, highly sophisticated, and epic in scope—and announces Alexander Söderberg as the most exciting new voice in thrillers in a generation.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    1

    There was something about her that made some people say she didn't look like a nurse, and she could never figure out if this was a compliment or an insult. She had long, dark hair and a pair of green eyes that sometimes gave the impression that she was about to burst out laughing. She wasn't; that was just the way she looked, as if she had been born with a smile in her eyes.

    She went down the stairs, which creaked beneath her feet. The house —a fairly small, yellow wooden villa built in 1911, with leaded windows, shiny old parquet floors, and a garden that could have been bigger —was her place on this earth, she realized that the first time she saw it.

    The kitchen window was open to the still spring evening. The smell coming through the window was more summer than spring. Summer wasn't supposed to arrive for several weeks, but the heat had come early and not wanted to leave. Now it was just hanging there, heavy and completely still. She was grateful for it, needed it, enjoyed being able to have her windows and doors open —being able to move freely between outside and in.

    There was the sound of a moped in the distance, a thrush was singing in a tree —other birds too, but she didn't know their names.

    Sophie got out the china and set the table for two, with the best plates, nicest cutlery, and the finest glasses, avoiding the workaday as best she could. She knew she would be eating alone, seeing as Albert ate when he was hungry, which seldom coincided with her timing. She heard his steps on the stairs —sneakers on old oak wood; a bit too heavy, a bit too hard —Albert wasn't bothered by the noise he was making. She smiled at him as he came into the kitchen; he smiled back boyishly, yanked open the fridge door, and stood there for far too long, staring at the contents.

    "Shut the fridge, Albert."

    He stood where he was; she ate for a while, idly leafing through a newspaper, then she looked up, said the same thing again, this time with a hint of irritation in her voice.

    "I can't move . . . ," he whispered theatrically.

    She laughed, not so much at his dry sense of humor but more because he was just funny, which made her happy . . . proud, even.

    "How was your day?" she asked.

    She could see he was close to laughter. She recognized the signs, he always thought his own jokes were funny. Albert took a bottle of mineral water from the fridge, slammed the door, and jumped up onto the kitchen counter. The carbon dioxide hissed as he unscrewed the top.

    "Everyone's mad," he said, taking a sip. Albert started to tell her about his day in small fragments as they occurred to him. She listened and smiled as he made fun of the teachers and other people. She could see he enjoyed being amusing, then suddenly he was done. Sophie could never figure out when this was going to happen; he would just stop, as if he had gotten fed up with himself and his sense of humor. And she felt like reaching out to him to ask him to stay, carry on being funny, carry on being human, friendly, and mean at the same time. But that wasn't how it worked. She'd tried before and it had gone wrong, so she let him go.

    He disappeared into the hall. A short silence; maybe he was changing his shoes.

    "You owe me a thousand kronor," he said.

    "What for?"

    "The cleaning lady came today."

    "Don't say 'cleaning lady.'"

    She heard the zip of his jacket.

    "So what should I say?"

    She didn't know. He was on his way out through the door.

    "Kiss, kiss, Mom," he said, his tone...
About the Author-
  • ALEXANDER SÖDERBERG has worked as a screenwriter for Swedish television. His work includes the TV adaptations of Camilla Läckberg's and Åke Edwardsson's novels. He lives in the countryside in the south of Sweden with his wife and children. THE ANDALUCIAN FRIEND is his first novel.

Reviews-
  • USA Today

    "Epic... The Andalucian Friend is a crime novel that mixes familial drama -- the Guzman crime family is drawing comparisons to Mario Puzo's Corleones -- gang wars, the illegal gun trade, break-the-rules cops and unspeakable violence...The scope of this novel is sometimes astounding and always fascinating."

  • Los Angeles Times "Scandinavian crime fiction finds a new voice in Alexander Söderberg. . . .[a] dark, intricate debut novel."
  • The Wall Street Journal
    "[A] tense, accomplished debut. . . . Complex but swift, well-written and often grisly. . . . There are enough aspects left unresolved to look forward to at least two more books of deadly peril, with new danger at every turn."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Takes up Stieg Larsson's mantle in icy, brutal style. . . . This adrenalized debut leads you into a European drug ring and introduces an unlikely heroine who's caught in the crossfire."
  • The New York Times Book Review "An enjoyably offbeat thriller about rival gangs fighting over an international drug-smuggling route. . . . [Söderberg] writes with feeling about the crushing psychological stress felt by both cops and criminals."
  • Mystery Scene "A timely thriller [that] adds some gritty saturated color to the minimal black-and-white palette of Nordic noir. . . . Intriguing."
  • Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Black List "
    "Imagine The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets The Sopranos, then crank up the intrigue and rip off the knob. Alexander Söderberg has penned an awesome thriller you won't want to miss."
  • Scott Smith, author of The Ruins "One of the many wonderful things about Alexander Söderberg's novel, The Andalucian Friend, is how it upsets our expectations. His cops act like gangsters, while his gangsters (some of them) attain a startling sort of nobility. Söderberg has created an entertaining, engaging, and wonderfully bloody-minded world. He's a great storyteller. It's that simple."
  • Chris Pavone, author of The Expats "The international cast is packed with compelling bad guys, the plot is intricate and urgent, and the dialogue is tense and true and sometimes even funny. A joy-ride of a read."
  • Booklist (starred review) "Get ready for another round of hype in which one more heavily promoted Scandinavian thriller will be touted as 'the next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.' It's a shame, really, because this gripping crime novel, the first in a trilogy, deserves to stand completely on its own. Yes, it's set largely in Stockholm, and, yes, it stars a woman of remarkable strength and resiliency, but Soderberg, a veteran screenwriter, is a very different kind of writer than investigative journalist Larsson; this novel is much faster paced than Dragon Tattoo, and while the multiple characters are richly complex, the narrative rumbles ever forward without Larsson's emphasis on backstory and research techniques. When we first meet Sophie Brinkman, an unassuming nurse and single mother, she seems the polar opposite of Lisbeth Salander. That changes slowly but inexorably after Sophie gets to know one of her patients, the suave Hector Guzman, a charming family man but also--as Sophie eventually discovers--the head of an international crime ring. (Comparisons to the Corleone family are also inevitable and not entirely unjustified.) Soon enough, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a gang war as Guzman's family battles a rival Russian contingent. Throw in a gaggle of rogue cops and Sophie's old boyfriend, who turns up out of nowhere with a history of his own, and you have a multistranded plot that holds together as exquisitely as finely wound silk. But, as with the Larsson trilogy, it's the woman at the center who sparks the engine. By novel's end, Sophie has realized that 'she was bigger than she had dared to see.' We see it, too, and are ready to follow her anywhere."
  • BookPage "A tale of cutthroat mob bosses. . . . Söderberg writes exceptionally well-drawn and sympathetic characters . . . and has the chops to move a story along with the best of them."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review)
    "Excellent. . . . [A] jam-packed plot."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Söderberg is masterful."
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The Andalucian Friend
The Andalucian Friend
A Novel
Alexander Soderberg
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