After the Monsoon: An Ernst Grip Novel by Robert Karjel

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

After the MonsoonAfter the Monsoon is an engrossing, intense, and suspenseful multi-layered thriller set in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. From the tension-filled opening chapter, to the escalating conflict, and the palpable sense of dread sustained throughout the story, readers will be kept on the edge of their seats until the final page. The tale includes a number of illegal activities, such as piracy, terrorism, money laundering, torture, and espionage. Readers get a close look into the inner workings of organizations in charge of preventing these nefarious activities.

Imagine your life changing dramatically in the blink of an eye. This is exactly what happens to a Swedish family sailing around the world when their boat is hijacked by Somalia pirates in the Indian Ocean. The family is held hostage on a remote island, and the pirates demand payment for their release. Living conditions are deplorable, and the family’s bad situation worsens when their son runs low on his antiseizure medication. How long can they survive their inhumane treatment? Will the ransom be paid? Is there any chance of rescue?

While the kidnapped family is trying to endure their time in captivity, Ernst Grip, a member of the Swedish Security Police, is assigned the responsibility of investigating the death of a Swedish lieutenant on a shooting range in the small African nation of Djibouti. Is the lieutenant’s demise due to an accident or murder? It is up to Grip to determine the truth. Soon after Grip arrives in Djibouti, he is informed by the Swedish military that the case has already been solved. Grip doubts the findings and pursues his own investigation. However, he frequently uses controversial methods in his quest to make his own judgment about the shooting. As times goes by, not only does the case become more convoluted, but also Grip unwittingly gets drawn into the drama surrounding the hostage situation.

Robert Karjel has done an outstanding job of penning an intricately plotted novel one wants to read in its entirety without taking a break. He has created complex and nuanced characters, and the motivations behind their actions are understandable and plausible. He has also achieved the perfect balance between action and relevant backstory, along with skillfully interweaving multiple story lines. Many of the surprising twists and turns will keep readers anticipating what will happen next. After the Monsoon was translated from Swedish into English and is the first book in the Ernst Grip series. Readers who enjoy this book will be eagerly awaiting the next one.