Saturday, 11 November 2017

Debut Spotlight: Asa Avdic

Today it's my pleasure to be shining the spotlight on Swedish journalist Asa Avdic and her debut novel The Dying Game as part of her UK blog tour.

Asa Avdic is a journalist who for years was a presenter for Swedish Public Service Radio and Television and is currently a host of Sweden’s biggest morning current events programme.

She lives with her family in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Dying Game is her first novel.

Oh, it’s really quite simple. I want you to play dead.’

On the remote island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a 48-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position. One of them is Anna Francis, a workaholic with a nine-year-old daughter she rarely sees, and a secret that haunts her. Her assignment is to stage her own death and then observe, from her hiding place inside the walls of the house, how the other candidates react to the news that a murderer is among them. Who will take control? Who will crack under pressure? 

But as soon as Anna steps on to the island she realises something isn’t quite right. And then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins…

If this sounds like a book that you'd like to read then I have a short extract below to whet your appetite.

The Dying Game

A s a Av d i c

Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

The next morning I left home before it was fully light out. A taxi picked me up on the sidewalk outside my apartment. Little snowflakes were dancing in the air as the taxi driver huffed and heaved my bags into the trunk. I was struck by the urge to turn around and take a picture of my building, as if I would be gone for a very long time.
The taxi driver drove out of the city and down to the large industrial wharves where the lake turned to sea; he wove around warehouses and stacks of containers before stopping at a pier with locked gates. He removed my bags from the trunk and placed them on the ground, but before I even had time to ask whether I was supposed to pay or sign a receipt he had hopped back into the taxi and driven off. I stood there alone, wondering what I should do, but then I saw a uniformed man approaching from the other side of the gate. Without a word, he unlocked the padlocks that fastened thick chains around the gates and let me in. As I looked around, I discovered that there was a surveillance camera mounted on one of the tall gateposts, and I assumed that was how they had learned of my arrival. The white snow had covered the ground like a thin layer of powdered sugar, and as we walked along the pier I turned around to look at my own footprints. They were already being covered by snow again.
Docked at the far end of the pier was a gray motorboat, military-style, and I recognized the thin silhouette of the secretary on the quay. Next to him stood a woman I assumed was the doctor, Katerina Ivanovitch. She was younger than me, younger than I’d expected, with blond hair in a simple bun and shiny dark eyes in an open face; she was wearing practical, casual clothing and had a backpack made of performance fabric hanging from one shoulder. Despite the raw, cold morning and the blurry dawn, she looked energetic, a Pioneer leader on her way to new adventures in the mountains, which made me even more conscious of the sleep- and stress-induced lines on my face. She shook my hand with a certain firmness when I introduced myself.
“Hi, Anna. My name is Katerina. Call me Katja.”
She looked me straight in the eye as we met, and the way she repeated my name as I introduced myself indicated that she was used to inspiring rapid confidence in strangers. A type of secret handshake for doctors, psychologists, and priests. I wondered what sort of hold they had on her, considering that she had accepted this assignment.
The secretary put out his cigarette on the quay and pulled his gray coat around him.
“Well, I suppose it’s time for us to go onboard, and we can hash out the details on the journey. It will take a few hours, so I suggest we try to get going as soon as possible.”

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