Returning to her hometown after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life. Erica conceives a memoir about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their lost friendship.
While her interest grows to an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about the small town with a deeply disturbing past.
©2010 Camilla Lackberg (P)2010 HighBridge Company
“Läckberg skillfully details how horrific secrets are never completely buried and how silence can kill the soul.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This excellent thriller is a must-read for fans of Scandinavian crime literature and will especially appeal to those who enjoy Asa Larsson’s Rebecka Martinsson novels.” (Booklist)
“Chilly, deceptive, and lucid, just like the icy environment it describes.” (The Literary Review)
The story was was an original take on a pervasive societal problem.
I liked the setting which was the reason I chose the book.
The narrator sounded like an older British gentleman so did all the characters. Since many of the characters were female and blonde it was hard to imagine them as anything but old and dowdy with this narrator. I was frequently confused about who was talking.
I will look for this author again but not this narrator.
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
You will read many reviews about the bad narration for this book. It is true that the choice of narrator was unfortunate, so to listen to this book successfully, I decided to ignore the quality of the narration and concentrate on the story. I am so glad I did, because the audio book was wonderful. I found it easy to get immersed in the story. I even made up reasons to go out on errands so that I could listen to more of this compelling mystery during my drive. I absolutely love dark Scandinavian mysteries (Stieg Larrson, Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, etc.), especially if the setting is during Winter. Camilla Lackberg has now been added to my regular listening schedule. Her characters are so well developed that after only a few paragraphs, I found myself thinking "I know someone just like that" -- but, the author made them funnier. In particular, I fell in love with the main characters, Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck. The small coastal Swedish town sounds so charming that I looked it up the internet to see if you could travel there easily. When I read this was the first book by this young author, I was surprised because her talent matches some of the very best mystery writing that have been around a long time. She has done an outstanding job of writing a well-paced, exciting story. I hope she has a very long career and all her books get translated.
Had I not already purchased the three mysteries in this series on Audible, I would have chosen to read them instead of listening to them.
This reader has a condescending attitude toward most of the characters, especially the women. He gives many characters a vaguely Cockney accent that is very distracting. He tortures all the names, in an attempt to make them sound more Swedish, I suppose (they don't). The main character he calls alternately Portrick, Pyortrick, Pyoyrtrick, Pyorthrick. I thought the character had an exotic ancestry until I got my hands on the book and discovered his name is Patrik.
The narrator was monotonous to listen to and I finally gave up and read it on my Kindle. He reads very, very slowly. I use Audible.com downloads when I run and the performance was so slow I had to speed it up. It was like listening to a chipmunk read! I'm a huge fan of Scandanavian mysteries - Larsson, Mankel, Nesbo, etc., and looked forward to trying Lackberg. She's a little simplistic and not my favorite.
This was an interesting story with some novel ideas and approaches. It kept me engaged for the most part. It was not clear who the killer was and it took a while to figure out all the characters and sub-plots but it was a good read with unpredictable twists and turns. I especially liked the 'maid/mother' character and her relationship with her 'employer'. It was refreshing when she was finally able to speak her 'truth'.
I liked the reader's accent and manner of speech.
Yes. Held my attention and I think of it often since finished both it and The Preacher.
Just finding the body. A very different murder approach.
A more appropriate narrator would have made this a 3-star audiobook, but the writing was just not of a 4 or 5 star quality. It certainly compares badly to those of other Scandinavian writers like Henning Mankell or Jo Nesbo.
I would not recommend that anyone purchase the book / audiobook for themselves. It is the sort of book that you might read/listen to if you are on vacation and find it left behind by someone else. As an audiobook, it did the job of entertaining me while driving, but it took me months to get through and I never felt the need to listen beyond a 20 minute drive. Although the author was able to competently sustain suspense, I spent much of the time rolling my eyes at the clumsy and clichéd descriptions and dialogue. And it is difficult not to constantly think of how good it could have been in the hands of a deeper and more imaginative writer.
The performance was perfectly competent, but he was a poor choice of narrator. A younger man or a woman would have been more appropriate, as the main protagonists were a 30-something man and woman. The narrator was unable to read the dialogue in a way that was not distracting. The younger male characters were all indistinguishable from the old men.
It was not good enough that I looked forward to listening to it, but not bad enough that I would have rather sat in silence or listened to an NPR pledge-break while driving.
This is an interesting book with a fairly compelling mystery. The main character was OK, but I found her silence in the face of actual physical abuse by her brother-in-law completely implausible and infuriating (especially since one of her best friends is an attorney, another is a policeman, and she already suspects this guy of abusing her sister...) One of the false notes in an otherwise fine character. Same complaint regarding Annika, the otherwise sensible clerk at the police station who seems incapable of standing up for herself against flagrant sexual harassment by her incompetent boss, Mehlberg. These inconsistencies are like sour notes in a piece of music. That being said, it was still a good listen, and helped pass the time whenever I was stuck in traffic.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
This is Camilla Läckberg's first mystery originally published in Sweden in 2002. It starts out with the discovery of a body of a woman, an apparent suicide, discovered in a bath tub in an unheated house in a former fishing village, now a tourist goal called Fjällbacka. One of the first people on the scene, Erica Falck, was once a close friend of the deceased woman. Because Erica is an author, specializing in the biographies of famous Swedish female authors, she is asked by the dead woman's parents to write about the woman's life. However, as Erica learns about her old friend's secrets she starts to look deeper into what happened that drove them apart as young girls.
The story begins with a bit of a bang but starts to drag a bit about a quarter of the way in. I don't think the characters of the police officers were particularly compelling (or even very interesting). A second death gives the story more impetus and although the answers to some mysteries are quite obvious, the ending is satisfactory.
And that's it for the story, now for the audible part. David Thorn's voice is strongly British and male. His way of voicing female characters is to make them sound breathy and bland. He occasionally will apply some accent, but usually he doesn't. While I might find him a good narrator for another type of book-- one with fewer female characters or one where there is no need for accents, I definitely don't think I would try to listen to him read another Scandinavian set mystery.
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