This is the third installation of the Patrik Hedstrom series, which could also validly be called the Erica or Fjallbacka series I suppose. That might be jumping the gun a bit I suppose, bear with me!
Camilla Lackberg is a Swedish author, whose novels are set in the rural seaside town of Fjallbacka. This novel, like the previous two, is a thriller in the guise of a detective whodunnit story. I wouldn’t call this a slow-burner as such, nor is it a fast-paced action thriller: I think its a medium-burner, if you’ll excuse my tongue-in-cheek expression.
The action kicks off with the discovery of a child’s body, who it turns out had been murdered. We are gradually introduced to a wide variety of characters, all very impressively drawn and believable, and most of whom you would have to consider suspects! While the whodunnit plot takes main stage, it all happens against the backdrop of small-town Swedish life in Fjallbacka, and for me this backdrop is just as enjoyable to delve into as the murder mystery. As I say, the characterization is superb, especially Erica and Patrik whom we first meet in The Ice Princess, as well as some prime murder suspects I won’t mention by name.
Camilla really weaves her story web masterfully in this one – I really felt like a puppet being manipulated by a master in the way she drips in new suspects and evidence as the story progresses.
The really notable device she uses in this novel is the use of a secondary story, which is only fed to us a couple of pages at a time, at long intervals. Without giving anything away, this story takes place in the past, but is completely relevant to the story set in current times. It reminded me of Jo Nesbo’s use of a similar device in The Devil’s Star.
This sub-story is perfectly timed, in that it reveals the killer’s motive or madness, at just the right rate. In fact its not at any one particular moment when you realise who the killer is – that’s the beauty of this book. Its a gradual realisation who it must be – I had guessed correctly well before the end, and I suspect Camilla wrote it deliberately to be so, which is quite incredible, as knowing the killer’s identity actually enhances the climax to the book.
Well recommended overall, possibly you might want to read The Ice Princess first to get a feel for some of the characters.