Cell 8

Roslund, Anders & Börge Helström. Cell 8. Silver Oak. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9781402787157. $24.95. F
This confusing, murky, and totally compelling stunner from the authors of 3 Seconds centers on a hopelessly romantic Swedish cop with a catastrophically disabled wife. No wait, it chronicles an American murderer on death row in Ohio. Hang on—it’s about a reanimated corpse that rises to kill again! Actually, it’s all this and more. While most thrillers are constructed so that two disparate stories collide, here the multiple threads are so distinct that for the first 90 pages they can only be considered parallel stories. By page 91, however, they are inextricably bound. The authors keep readers wondering who the protagonist actually is, or if perhaps the villain is the same guy. Is it the vigilante lounge singer who goes batshit within 48 hours of his arrest? The hippopotamus rider from 1971? Or a cop, for instance Swedish Detective Superintendant Ewert Grens, the unlikeliest singing detective since Cop Rock? The continual roll and thrum of the plot teases readers onward; before you know it, five minutes of bedtime reading have turned into an insomniac episode straight out of The Twilight Zone. Well written, even strangely believable, the experience is slightly disorienting, akin to watching your favorite TV show but with different actors portraying the usual characters.
So…why should dudes read it? It’s like a torte; the layers are all good but so different. Great ride.

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This review appeared in Books for Dudes at Library Journal on February 21, 2012. The galley was shredded on March 29, 2012.

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