The Drowning

Another great read by Camilla Lackberg. The Drowning tells the story of childhood trauma carrying into adulthood in a strange way.

Excellent mystery with an unexpected twist.

Read November 2017

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Hidden Child

Hidden Child is Camilla Lackberg’s novel that follows The Stranger. I wasn’t crazy about the last novel but really hoped that Erika Falck would return and dive into her mother’s history. In the Hidden Child, Erika procrastinates her current novel to spend time going through her mother’s chest and journals. Inside, she had also discovered a Nazi medal.

While Erika is working, Patrik is on paternity leave from the police force but is having a hard time letting go of work. Its an interesting look into how their relationship needed to change when Erika started working again and how the transition to a stay-at-home-parent can be incredibly hard.

I really enjoyed this story, everything about wartime Sweden and how resistance fighters worked, to how a loss so severe can traumatize someone for the rest of their lives, and how the Neo Nazi movement is gaining a foothold in Sweden.

Read December 2015

*Side note: I learned that when traveling, I can get a temporary library card at another library. So handy!

The Stranger

Although another enjoyable Camilla Lackberg novel, in The Stranger I figured out who’d “done” it very early on and every additional clue just confirmed my guess. I don’t know if I’ve just read too many mysteries that I’m now more observant, and probably more jaded, or if this novel gave away too much too early.

Aside from the mysterious murders with the use of excessive alcohol and a cast of a reality show, I really enjoyed Erica diving into her childhood and how her mother’s history may have affected her parenting style. This doesn’t resolve itself by the end of this novel but Erica has determined to use her researching skills on her own family and I hope there’s another novel that continues that story thread.

Read September 2015

The Stonecutter

In The Stonecutter, Camilla Lackberg brings back Patrik Hedstrom and Erika Falck who have just had a daughter together. Erika deals with her new post partum life as best she can and befriends another mother. Unfortunately, it is her new friend’s daughter whose body is found in a fisherman’s net. As Patrik and Erika deal with their new parenthood and how emotional another child’s death can be, it is even more heart breaking when the post mortem reveals that the water in Sara’s lungs came from a bathtub.

Lackberg writes multiple sub-plots that run throughout the novel. The stonecutter, Anders, falls for the boss’s daughter Agnes over 80 years ago and tumultuous love affair has repercussions that Lackberg skillfully and slowly reveal to the reader. Patrik’s boss discover’s his paternal, although still very self centered, side when an offspring from a long forgotten affair turns up. Erika’s sister reunites with her horrifically abusive husband in hopes of saving the children. All the stories are united by parenthood and how much of what the adults are doing is for the children’s benefit. Each parent, in their own way, tries to make their children feel their love, sometimes in very disturbing and unhealthy ways.

Camilla Lackberg’s novels are a thrill to read and The Stonecutter was no exception. All the story lines and time periods fit together and make the novel flow. She is able to deal with very serious subjects of abuse, murder, greed while still keeping the main characters balanced and loving.

Read May 2015

The Lost Boy

The Lost Boy is the second Camilla Lackberg novel that I’ve read. Previously, The Ice Princess focused on Erica Falck who just moved back to Fjallbacka, Sweden and discovered a childhood friend dead.  Years later, Erica has married Detective Patrik Hedstrom and The Lost Boy is told from both their perspectives, as well as many other characters surrounding the death of Mats Sverin, Fjallbacka’s Financial Director.

Mats was brutally attacked months beforehand, and then after moving back to his childhood town, he is gunned down in his own apartment. Are these two events related? That’s what Patrik is trying to uncover. Meanwhile, Erica is home on maternity leave with her twins and is intrigued by the local lore about “Ghost Isle”, where Mats old high school girlfriend, Nathalie, is living.

Lackberg weaves multiple, seemingly unrelated story lines in and out, including an old story about a couple living on “Ghost Isle” in the 1870s. Like many other crime novels, underlying the current crime is a social layer of violence against women and how mothers can and will protect their children. Theres such a general denial about these attacks against women, that even the police are horrified when they read the personal files of women at a Goteborg woman’s shelter.

While some of The Lost Boy is difficult to read, the novel is full of truth. Society turns a blind eye to women in certain situations and Lackberg shines a light so we can view the truth in all its ugliness. I really enjoy Lackberg’s style and her stories. I recommend this to any crime novel lover.

Read January 2015.

The Ice Princess

The The Ice Princess, by Camilla Lackberg takes place in the small coastal town of Fjallbacka, Sweden. Erica Falck is thrown into small town relationships and histories in a bitter cold picturesque place. This very small town of her childhood is changing with the urban wealthy moving into vacation homes and changes even more when her childhood friend is found dead, frozen in her bath with her wrists slit.

No events in this novel stand alone, everything is tied to events of the past. When Alex’s body is found, Erica must examine her own relationship with her childhood friend and how childhoods can scar for a lifetime. Secrets are hidden under the surface and every thing and one are connected through them.

As a biographer, Erica uses the life of Alex to explore the crime and her own past. Its interesting to watch Erica come alive in her quest for a story. It seems unlike her, but with the help of the local police, she makes discoveries to unearth the story of Alex’s death. All of the characters have histories they would like to keep hidden and many of them have unexpected connections to the beautiful murder victim which Erica unravels slowly to find the murderer.

This was a beautifully told crime novel with unexpected turns. Recommended crime novel.

Read May 2014