The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

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The Swimmer - book cover

Deceit, desperation and death. Some facts must never see the light of day.

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The players - Mahmoud and Klara

Best Thriller -  The Swimmer 3

Paris, France
“ ‘Wait,’ he said to Klara.
    He took off his backpack, bent down, and pretended to rummage in it while looking over his shoulder. The blond girl was moving in a wide arc in the same direction as them. On the opposite wall, he saw a man of about thirty-five moving in a similar pattern. He seemed to fit the profile. Physically fit, loose cargo pants. Ski jacket and a duffel bag. Bluetooth headset in his ear. Most likely an American. So there were two at least. He couldn’t see any more.
    ‘There are two of them at least,’ he whispered to Klara without looking at her.
    ‘A blond girl with a ponytail in a dark blue Canada Goose jacket. And a guy wearing cargo pants and a grayish red ski jacket. Baseball cap. Both of them have headsets in their ears. Pretend you’re stretching, while I fiddle with the backpack.’
    Klara did as he said. Stretched, and took the opportunity to scout the terminal.
    ‘I see them,’ she said. ‘I recognise the girl. She was in my apartment.’
    Her voice was strained. Her face tightened.
     ‘Focus, Klara,’ whispered Mahmoud. ‘Focus. It’s all about technique. There is no emotion here, you understand? No feelings. In and out of the taxi. That’s the plan.’
    Karla nodded calmly, collecting herself.
    ‘Good. Here we go,’ Mahmoud said, and stood up.
    The street outside the station was chaotic, full of smoke and cars and business travellers crossing at random pulling suitcases and families with backpacks and maps and crying children. At least there was no queue for the taxis. They walked up to the first one with determined steps.”

Best Thriller -  The Swimmer 4

Brussels, Belgium
“The vibrating phone deep in Klara’s coat pocket cut through her fatigue like a laser. This week – full of reports, team meetings, endless hours in airless meeting rooms, lunches on her feet, and late nights at the computer – fell to the side. The only bright spot this week had been the hours spent today with Cyril in her apartment. She was still tingling.
    This wasn’t the first time they’d stolen a couple of hours in the middle of the day and taken separate taxis to her place to have sex. No need to deny it. That’s how it was. And in the beginning, that had been the whole point. The forbidden. Sneaking off from her high performance life, getting him to sneak off from his. A little shabby somehow, a little dirty, but still harmless. A game where no one got hurt. And it paid off to be cautious. Gossip was devastating in the European Parliament. A Swedish adviser and a French parliamentarian would be gossip gold.
    Her heart racing, she grabbed hold of the phone in her pocket. Maybe his dinner ended early? Maybe he was on his way over?”