I read mysteries for three things: strong plot, complex character development, and evocation of place. This book fails on all three fronts. While it is an interesting exploration of the myriad ways that women crack and break under the stress of rigid patriarchal systems, the parallel plot lines--one from the past and the main one in the present--are not equal. The characters from the past are flat and stereotypical, while those in the present are better developed but unbelievably dense! Even our hero, the erstwhile detective Patric, "forgets" things that are essential to good police work and misses something in an interview he listens to again and again that the reader catches immediately. Worst to my thinking, is the failure to make Fjällbacka come alive, as Lackberg did with much better success in The Ice Princess. Except for a couple of brief scenes, this story could have happened anywhere (which may be Lackberg's point, but still, Fjällbacka is too colorful and interesting not to play a role in the story).
The reader is frankly terrible. Thorn would be fine if he would just read in a normal voice, but he gives all the characters fake British accents, randomly assigning Cockneyesque, Scottish, and even vaguely Australianesque accents to distinguish among the characters, which polishes off the tendency of the book (especially the storyline from the past) to caricature. The mystery is interesting enough to read as part of the growing body of Swedish mysteries (I finished it, grudgingly), but I would recommend reading this one in print, so you can skim over the slower parts and do your own "voices."
The reading or listening experience is, of course, subjective. For me, regardless of the quality and interest of the writing, if I cannot stay with the narration of a book I will consign it to the "money lost" bin. This is one of those. Nothing against Mr. Thorn who may be a wonderful man and actor, but his pitch, cadence and delivery are completely ill-suited for a suspense/crime novel like this. Just way too far over the top.
The story was very hard to follow. There were too many different scenarios going on and the author did not do a good job of making the connections between the various plots. At times is was hard to know which plot the author was writing about because only pronouns were used. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
The narrator was very good.
I get the switching back and forth on the stories within the story, but the transitions were a bit awkward. I mean, there was no indication of going to another scene by way of a small delay. The narrator seemed like he didn't even take a breath when moving to the next scene so I found myself rewinding a bit quite often to figure out what was going on or to see if I had missed something.
I loved this book. What a complex cast of characters. The ability to have one mystery span decades was brilliant. It was nearly impossible to see the connections till almost the end. the collateral damage to lives and families in mean time was fascinating. I was amazed that the author was able to all of the different stories into one.
The book was good but it was hard to follow the story at times. One of the main characters changed her name. The reader does not know this until the end, making the story difficult to understand.
Got the first 3 books in this series through a 3-in-2 sale. The first was OK but the 2nd and 3rd books were a disappointment. Far too much psychodrama, poor editing, female characters that are either unstable, insecure, etc., detectives who are like the three stooges. Guess I'm not buying the rest of the series..