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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
From Luke G. Dahl, author of Daddy’s Curse 1 and 2, comes the first of a new 3-part series centered on the Gangs of Stockholm. Like his other books, this one is also non-fiction, the memoir of a young man, Eric, adopted by a good Swedish family who want only the best for their children, and who, by all accounts, provided a positive environment for Eric and his sister. The Eric we meet when the story opens is a polite, well-behaved teen who one day stands up for a bullied classmate. Unfortunately, the bullies Eric takes on are part of a gang. His Good Samaritan act opens the door to a life Eric never anticipated. His efforts to raise dollars extorted by the high school gang end up involving him with a truly dangerous criminal gang. By the time he is an adult, Eric has become a drug mule, a cocaine user and a murderer sought by Stockholm police.
Gangs of Stockholm: A Fallen Angel is a not-so-nice coming of age story. Throughout Eric’s early descent into crime, he’s so charmingly naive that one almost wants to bop him over the head to wake him up. He’s so focused on being more like the heroes he admires in movies that he cannot see the reality of what he’s getting himself into. In that respect, Eric is similar to so many teens who will identify with his insecurities, rationale and motivations. It is, perhaps, for those teens that Dahl has written this book: if they read it, and I hope they do, they will see how easily a good kid can go bad. Dahl found writing this memoir “nerve-wracking” and “meaningful” and hopes it will “impact someone else’s life in a positive way”. I don’t see how it couldn’t! His style is what I call “sparse”, meaning it’s uncluttered, giving enough detail to keep the plot line clear and characters realistic while the story moves along at a rapid pace. Dahl makes it very easy for teen readers to get into the story and stay interested. I am a fan of Luke G. Dahl’s work. This is the third book of his that I’ve read and reviewed and I look forward to reading the others as he writes them. Well done!