Book Review: ‘The Friend: A Novel’ By Joakim Zander

It’s 2015 and Jacob Seiger arrives in Lebanon from Sweden and is about to start an internship at the Swedish embassy in Beirut. He’s really excited about this opportunity and has been given an apartment to stay in. At a party on the roof he meets Yassim and they are drawn to each other. They soon start a secret relationship (not knowing much about each other). Yassim leaves the country a lot for his job as a photographer. When a mysterious woman shows up in his apartment his life suddenly changes. She says Yassim is a terrorist and he must give her information. She has dirt on him and a compromising video.

Jacob is not sure who to trust and soon he and Yassim get closer and he tells him about the woman. Yassim confesses stuff to him and has him help get something out of the country for him. Jacob is soon on the run and his life in danger. He makes it out of the country and sets up a secret meeting in Brussels, that once again puts him and the people he is meeting in danger and on the run. It all leads to a showdown in Sweden and who is the good guys and who are the bad guys will be exposed.

A solid look at spies, espionage and life in the middle east. The settings help make the story from Lebanon to Brussels to Sweden. The characters are well-defined and you find yourself rooting for Jacob to get through everything in one piece. My first time reading a novel by Joakim Zander and I am hooked. Look forward to future books from him.

You can pick it up in stores on Tuesday, June 25th from Harper Paperbacks.

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