I love books!
First time author, Camilla Lackberg, that audible suggested as a good Scandanavian author, this one being from Sweden. The book was a methodical police procedural and actaully reminded me of another Swedish author, Henning Mankell, in how the story was developed. It also reminded me a little bit of Canadian auhor, Louise Penny, who sets all of her stories in the same small town outside of Montreal, Lackberg in a small Swedish town, where everyone knows each other. At times it seemed to plod along as the author builds the story and the characters. It turned into a real "whodunit" novel where over the course of the book there seem to be several people that could have committed the crime and, of course, in the end none of them are it. In fact, the culprit turns out to be someone you wouldn't have guessed. But as the book moves along the story picks up its pace and it is easy to get through. I enjoyed the book and will give the author another go.
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."
Only made it half way through. If I heard that woman complain one more time about her marriage, lot in life, and twin children I was going to harm the computer. This is an Oprah-Book-Club wanna-be. It is not a thriller, mystery, or police/medical murder story. Don't waste your time or money.