Leona: The Die Is Cast begins as a traditional procedural police mystery. Leona is an investigator in Stockholm’s Violent Crime Division and has just been assigned a robbery investigation – an unusual robbery that involved a young girl of seven or eight who walked into a bank with a threatening audio recording. The bank hands over the money to protect the girl from the threatened violence against her.

Most of the story is told from Leona’s point of view, but occasionally Olivia, the young girl is heard from. We also get the point of view of a reporter who becomes a bit of thorn in Leona’s side. So far, so good…until we learn very early that Leona is the mastermind behind the robberies, so even though she does not know how Olivia is being mistreated, her abuse is the result of Leona’s action. Everything that happens is the result of Leona’s actions.

Leona’s life is falling apart. Her kids like their dad more than her, though she interprets that as they don’t love her which shows the kind of emotional maturity she has. She’s a gambling addict though she does not realize it, thinking it terribly clever when she tells her husband she’s a gambling addict. She is a horrible person, an anti-hero, and really, she is not very appealing.

That would all be fine, if she were remotely believable, but she is not. She’s not particularly clever, in fact, she’s obtuse and inept. Of course, things fall apart, but a lot of her troubles are her own stupidity. I am cool with an anti-hero, but Leona’s not just an anti-hero, she gets a child abused and neglected and leaves her in jeopardy. She makes several questionable choices, beyond criminality, many of them on impulse and most completely unnecessary. Then, just for fun, there’s the medium.

I was ready to quit when the medium walked in the room. I probably should have. However, I was curious how it would shake out. Well, it shook out in a completely unbelievable and ridiculous way and ends, of course, on a cliff hanger. I am curious how Rogneby will write Leona out of her mess, but only mildly so, because I don’t care much about Leona. I don’t really care anything about Leona, I just wonder what completely unlikely and unprofessional and silly ploy will be employed to get her out of her mess.

Leona: The Die Is Cast will be released on August 1st. I received an advance e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss.

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