Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Red Address Book – Sofia Lundberg

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

When she was a child her father bought her a beautiful red address book and Doris faithfully kept a note of the addresses of those who crossed her path throughout her life. At the grand old age of ninety-six it is sad but perhaps not wholly unsurprising that many of the names in the book are crossed out with the word ‘dead’ written against them.

The Red Address Book
tells the story of one woman’s rich life honing in on some of the names and addresses held within the address book.

Doris lives in Stockholm and her only living family is Jenny, her Grand-Niece and her family, who live in America. Doris is not doing so well and has devoted some of her waking hours to penning the story of her life to Jenny, to keep those names in the address book alive.

I loved this book, the tone spot on for an elderly woman who has lived, loved and made good choices, and bad, and learn to live with them. I know I sound old myself but it is simply so refreshing to read books about people of this generation before everyone had to be a victim of something or another. Here we have some of those old-fashioned qualities that if I were Prime Minister I would insist were some sort of rite to becoming a fully-fledged adult. Doris has lived. After the death of her father she was more or less pushed out of the home by her mother to go and earn some money as a maid. Did Doris dwell on this rejection for the rest of her life? Did she hell! She recognised the hurt it caused at the time, and moved on treating it as a passing incident in her life, her springboard to becoming a living mannequin in Paris, rather than a hurt to be nursed for her remaining eighty odd years. During the course of the book we see Doris face a multitude of situations as she criss-crosses between countries, lives through a war, heartbreak and more and each one is faced square on, no matter what.

In conjunction with these adventures, Doris is portrayed as a ‘real’ woman, she is unwilling to do exactly what she is told by her caregivers and hospital staff, if it doesn’t make sense to her. After all this is a woman who has mastered skype to keep in touch with her family, she does not need to be told when to go to sleep as if she was a child! But at the same time she is accepting that her end is coming near and so is portrayed as a mixture of toughness and vulnerability or in other words like a real woman who has lived a full life.

I did have a lump in my throat towards the closure of this book although I’m pleased to report that it didn’t have the feeling of overtly playing with the emotions and nor did we have the stereotypical cantankerous elderly woman instead we have a thoughtful piece that will invariably cause its reader to recall many of the paths that have crossed their own, briefly or otherwise, and for whom few will be recorded in our lives particularly with the demise of written records.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publisher HarperCollins UK and the Sofia Lundberg who allowed me to experience some of the highs and lows of Doris’s life by allowing providing me with a copy of The Red Address Book. This review is my unbiased thanks to them.

First Published UK: 8 January 2019
Publisher: The Borough Press
No of Pages: 305
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Us Against You – Fredrik Backman

Contemporary Fiction
5*s

Last year I read a book about hockey. I made the point that I don’t like hockey but I did love the book called at that time The Scandal but now better known as Beartown. I will leave you booklovers to imagine my excitement when I heard there was to be a follow-up book and even greater pleasure when I was able to turn the pages of Us Against You.

We are back in Beartown primarily to see how a town that lives for its hockey is getting on after the shocking events in the first book. Do not read this book if you haven’t read the first one because you will be missing out on a very special experience indeed.

“The greater the mistake and the worse the consequences, the more pride we stand to lose if we back down. So no one does.”

I’ll be honest, there isn’t one big event in Us Against You and because of that it confirmed to me that Fredrik Backman’s strength is in his characters. Beartown might be small but it is full of characters of all descriptions and yet this author has loving created many of them so well that you will be drawn to those that maybe in real life you simply wouldn’t take the time to get to know. Of course the delight for me was meeting up with some old favourites.

Top of the list is Peter Anderssen the General Manager of Beartown Hockey team who has held onto his position until now but there are moves afoot to only have one hockey team in the region and that honour looks like being conferred on Hed – so it is the Bulls against he Bears. In the way that life often goes, the instant drawing up of direct competition means that hatred spreads in its wake as passions are roused to even higher levels.

“The worst thing we know about other people is that we’re dependent upon them. That their actions affect our lives. Not just the people we like, but all the rest of them: the idiots.”

We therefore have Peter’s wife Kira still struggling for her time to shine in her career, his daughter Maya and his son Leo. We see the old hockey coach and the boys who played hockey who mainly switched teams to Hed. Interesting to see how that plays out over a summer when hockey isn’t played, it’s planned. Switch scenes to the five uncles sat in the Bearskin pub where Ramona is still a steady presence in a changing world.

“At some point almost everyone makes a choice. Some of us don’t even notice it happening, most don’t get to plan it in advance, but there’s always a moment when we take one path instead of another, which has consequences for the rest of our lives. It determines the people we will become, in other people’s eyes as well as our own.”

Enter the snakelike politician Richard Theo who decides to use hockey although he seems to like the sport just as much as I do to win. Winning is more important to Richard than anything else it seems and his snaky dealings could make him a pantomime villain but again, the author has given him just enough depth that I was able to resist hissing every time he appeared.

“Lies are simple; truth is difficult.”

I loved this book, perhaps not quite as much as The Scandal but a great deal. I think these books are among the most quotable of modern books, there are truisms that are expertly woven into a story that will have you experiencing tragedy one moment and wondering at the strength of character of another the next. Everyone in Beartown has a story to tell and Fredrick Backman tells it to us with the love of his creation illuminating the world even when its facing destruction.

I’d like to thank the publishers Penguin UK for allowing me to read a copy of Us Against You ahead of publication on 14 June 2018. A beautiful read of ordinary lives which had me cycling through the entire range of emotions. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 14 June 2018
Publisher: Penguin UK
No of Pages: 448
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Girl in the Woods – Camilla Läckberg

Crime Fiction
4*s

Camilla Läckberg has provided this reader with another meaty read in this the tenth in the Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck. This story is lengthy and involved. Readers won’t be able to stop themselves remembering some real-life crimes, especially those involving child-killers with the most obvious inspiration being drawn from Anne Perry and her friend Pauline Rieper, not a comfortable subject at all.

The main story is that set in the present day of the disappearance of four-year old Nea Berg from the same farm that another four-year old child went missing from thirty years before. Then Marie and her best friend Helen were accused of murder at the tender age of just thirteen. This is therefore in true Camilla Läckberg style a crime in the past with parallels in the present.

What makes the disappearance of Nea Berg all the more chilling is that Marie Wall had returned to Fjällbacka in her role as Ingrid Bergman in a new film. Marie had used the crime she was accused of thirty years ago to help propel her into Hollywood stardom, and it had worked but she had not set foot back in the small Swedish town since she left all those years before. Helen meanwhile had married a local man aged eighteen and lived a quiet life now mother to a teenage son she is fearful that Marie’s return will encourage the story to come to life again.

The chapters each cover many viewpoints each including scenes at the police station as our old favourites interview witnesses, pour over forensic reports and the ever dependable station chief Bertil Mellberg gives television interviews and interferes in Patrik Hedström’s handling of the case. As always it was great to catch up with everyone in Fjällbacka’s Police force and it does provide some much needed light relief in this dark and disturbing tale.

Erica already had a book in the pipeline about Stella Strand and her two accused killers and so when parallels are drawn between the crimes she is on hand with her notes so far, and the interviews she continues to hold with key people from the time.

Interspersed with the current investigations and happenings are chapters on The Stella Case giving the reader insights that haven’t necessarily been discovered, including those thoughts of the lead investigator. Intriguingly there is also a far older tale to be told that of Elin Jonsdotter in Bohuslän in 1671, what relevance this strand has remains a mystery for much of the book. If all that wasn’t enough the author includes another strand about Syrian refugees.

I enjoyed this greatly although I was reminded why I normally save these novels as holiday reads; The Girl in the Woods is a whopping 592 pages long and packed full of information which doesn’t necessarily lend itself to short bursts of reading. For the first time in this series I did have moments where I wondered if the author had been slightly over-ambitious in the amount of different strands that run through the book, not that it was confusing, far from it, but the read felt far darker overall than the previous books in the series, and they were hardly laugh a minute reads. However, if you are a fan, as I am, there is much to feast on not only while you are reading this book but there are bigger themes and philosophical questions to ponder long after you finish the last page.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to HarperCollins UK who allowed me to read advance copy of The Girl in the Woods before publication on 22 February 2018. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 22 February 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins
No of Pages: 592
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Books in Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series

The Ice Princess (2002)
The Preacher (2004)
The Stonecutter (2005)
The Gallows Bird (2006)
The Hidden Child (2007)
The Drowning (2008)
The Lost Boy (2013)
Buried Angels (2014)
The Ice Child (2016)

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Scandal – Fredrik Backman

Crime Fiction
5*s

Is a book more rewarding if you spent the first section wondering whether or not to put it aside for something that doesn’t revolve around a sport that you have no interest in, only to find yourself completely drawn into the both the story and writing style? Whatever the answer, this is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year despite the uncertain start.

At the beginning of the book we hear shots but soon the action switches to a game of ice hockey. Now I wasn’t a fan of the straightforward hockey on proper ground being much smaller than my peers, no good at running and it was freezing cold, doing the same on ice only has peril written all over it as far as I’m concerned. But through the game we get to meet all the inhabitants of Beartown a small town in Sweden whose whole identity seems to be wrapped up in the game. Man, woman or child, if you live in Beartown then the fortune of your dwelling place depends on the success of the various teams ordered by age, if a little muddied by aptitude.

Those shots I mentioned kept me wondering as the action switched from the ice to the town and back again as young boys were ready to make their mark against the opponents whilst others failed in their efforts. Beartown Ice Hockey team are about to play in the semi-finals, and they want to win.

This book is full of diverse characters albeit a set that are united by their love of the game, or what it can mean for Beartown, a town that has been a long time in the decline. We see the board members sponsors, the coach, the General Manager, the fathers, mothers and sisters of the players as well as the team themselves. We even know a great deal about the woman who cleans the ice rink, the changing rooms and the offices for the club. Everyone is involved in some way or another. But the focus of the book isn’t about the game, or not directly, it’s about something that happened after a game and the consequences on all involved.

As I mentioned at the start of this review, I really wasn’t sure that this was a book for me and yet the writing was at pared down yet eloquent, holding so many truths of life that I wished I had read it when I was younger and still had some of the important thoughts that were shared.

Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanise our enemy…

The writing style alone had me convinced, with phrases and messages carried through from one scene to another – when the book got tough, and it does, the stylistic flair kept the momentum going forward while the reader comes to terms with what has been revealed. There are issues galore and normally when I write that in a review I’m not being complimentary because it can feel as if the author is leaping from bandwagon to bandwagon. That isn’t the case with The Scandal where the issues in the book are tightly linked to the players on a personal level. The author hasn’t offered up platitudes or worst case scenarios, instead the author has a nuanced take and provides what I felt was a balanced path, best of all leaving the reader to come to his or her own opinions.

This is a story of friendship between males and females, yes despite the kernel of the action being a boys ice hockey team, there are some females who are also central to the story. It is also the story of those other major relationships of being a parent, a sibling, or a partner, of being loved and loving others. Most of all this is a tale of how loyalties can be divided and sometimes sitting on the fence isn’t an option. It is in fact a remarkable book that had me in tears more than once.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Penguin UK who allowed me to read a copy of The Scandal or Beartown if you are a US reader. This review is my unbiased thanks to them and to Fredrik Backman for a remarkable story which I’d love to tell you more about, but it really does have to be read and admired with little or no idea what you will find within its pages. I suspect readers will take away different messages. I feel that this is a book that we should see on school book lists and book clubs across the world.

First Published UK: 10 August 2017
Publisher:  Penguin
No. of Pages:  432
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2017

The Ice Child – Camilla Läckberg

Crime Fiction
4*s

The Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series of which this is book 9, are set in the small fishing town of Fjällbacka are Scandi-noir books which whilst full of murder, fortunately from my point of view on the whole avoid the more stark violence of this genre’s reputation. Camilla Läckberg’s stories tend to link past crimes to a current investigation and The Ice Child is no different in that respect. Whilst Erica is writing another true-crime book about an infamous husband killer, Laila is in prison convicted but has steadfastly refused to talk about the crimes she has committed. Patrik is involved in the re-appearance of a teenage girl who went missing from a nearby riding stables four months ago. Tragically her surprise reappearance does not end well.

I think this is a series that to get the best from it, you need to have read the earlier books. The back-stories of the various police officers in Fjällbacka are ever-present as is that of Erica’s sister Anna who in short is forever facing some trauma or another. Luckily in this episode she is let off rather tamely with a fairly run of the mill relationship issue.

Interspersed between the back story of Erica’s visits to the prison to meet with Laila who frustratingly is still holding back on what happened decades before and the ongoing investigation into missing girls across Sweden are some excerpts of Laila’s thoughts. I do enjoy this kind of device where we the reader, get to know more about the crimes than the investigator. In this case in Camilla Läckberg’s recognisable style these short excerpts openly beg the reader to ask the questions which move the storyline along.

I started this post by saying on the whole the gruesome factor is lower down the scale than many in this genre, be warned though, this is no cosy mystery and there were some descriptions in both timelines that were shocking for the twisted thinking behind the crimes committed. It is no longer enough to simply be stabbed it would seem, now bodies must be mutilated, abuse must be extreme and everyone in the vicinity of a crime must be vigilant in case they are somehow caught up in the murderous spree. The latter certainly is part of what helps to keep the tension high in this book with the reader on the lookout not only for the killer but anxious about anyone who may fit the profile and with many scenes set at the riding stables there are a few to choose from.

I love the myriad of characters in these books, especially the interaction between the police and their trusty receptionist heart-warming, especially as some of them are seriously annoying, mentioning no names – Bertil, but they are a ‘work-family’ which add a lighter side to offset the horror in the past and the present.

It is relatively rarely that I get not only the name of the killer but the whydunit too but I did manage to outsmart the author this time getting full marks for both parts which in no way dented my enthusiasm for the book. As always I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode, The Girl in the Woods, which surely must be out soon?

The Ice Child was my twenty-sixth read in the Mount TBR challenge, having been purchased in November 2016.
mount-tbr-2017

 

 

First Published UK: 10 March 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
No. of Pages:  432
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Books in Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series

The Ice Princess (2002)
The Preacher (2004)
The Stonecutter (2005)
The Gallows Bird (2006)
The Hidden Child (2007)
The Drowning (2008)
The Lost Boy (2013)
Buried Angels (2014)

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Ice Beneath Her – Camilla Grebe

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Set in Sweden this psychological thriller is one that will chill you as much as thrill you.

“You never know friend or foe, ’til the ice beneath gives way.”

A woman is found dead, her head separated from her body with her eyes staring towards the doorway. The police force recall a case ten years previously where another victim, a man was found in similar circumstances. Are the cases linked? And where is Jesper Orre the owner of the house where the unknown woman was found?

This book is told from the viewpoint of Emma Boham, a sales assistant who works at Clothes & More, police officer Peter and Hanne a psychological profiler. All three have issues of one kind or another and these add a whole other dimension to the story as we are treated to all their back-stories that enables the reader to understand their actions in the present.

Emma Boham is the fiancé of Jesper Orre and her story starts in the past, working forwards to the discovery of the woman’s body. Jesper insisted that their relationship was kept a secret and we hear the stress of being the CEO at Clothes & More as told to Emma, these aren’t helped by malicious and frequent media articles attacking him as a person and the harsh working conditions imposed on the staff. Through Emma we get to see the business from not only her perspective but those of her colleagues with black marks being displayed on the calendar for infringement of the rules.

Peter’s story is one of loneliness and isolation, a man who has long-standing commitment issues and a teenage son who he doesn’t engage with although still being infrequently in touch with his mother. Of course we don’t just learn about Peter but also the investigation into the murder but with the pressure on to get results and no idea who the woman it is safe to say the investigation is struggling, which is why they turn to psychological profiler Henne.

I found Henne’s story the saddest of all of the three narrators. Trapped into a marriage with an authoritarian man she is also suffering with emergent dementia but she’s keen to help out especially when she was involved in the similar case ten years previously. Her love of the Innuits is evident throughout her narration and links neatly to the quote above that led to the title of this book.

I was really drawn into this story immediately, I am a lover of character led crime fiction and there were plenty of characters, aside from the main narrators to puzzle over, to sympathise with whilst occasionally being frustrated by their inability to move out of their destructive lives.

With many of the chapters ending on a revelation and then moving to another narrator and a whole new line to explore this is a book that begs its reader to read just a little bit more and of course before you know it, you’re racing towards the finishing line with heart pounding as all the pieces fall rapidly into place. I did have an inkling on one of the key players but as in the best of this type of book, guessing the person is one thing, identifying the real motive is something else entirely so close but no cigar on that score!

I really loved the setting which is mainly in Stockholm and the cold dark weather complete with snow played the perfect part in this drama that chilled me to the bone.

I haven’t read any of Camilla Grebe’s previous books which she co-wrote with Asa Träff, but the first, Some Kind of Peace is on my wishlist now!

I’d like to thank Bonnier Publishing for giving me an advance copy of The Ice Beneath Her and this unbiased review is my thank you to them. I can’t however finish this review without mentioning the brilliance of the translation by Elizabeth Clark Wessel which was so good I wouldn’t have known that this book wasn’t originally written in English.

First Published UK: 8 September 2016
Publisher: Bonnier Publishing
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2016, Book Review, Books I have read

Buried Angels – Camilla Läckberg #20booksofsummer

Book 4

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

Well book 4 of my 20 Books of Summer 2016 challenge was another sure fire winner and another opportunity for me to catch up with a much admired and enjoyable series.

This is the eighth in the Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck series set in Fjällbacka on the west coast of Sweden and once again I was reminded quite why I love these tales which often link past crimes to present ones. The characters that I feel I have grown to know over the last few years, are all present in this novel and as well as being hooked by the plot I enjoyed catching up with the developments at Fjällbacka police station and of course their personal lives too.

In Buried Angels Erica is keen to find more about an old unsolved mystery where an entire family bar one year old Ebba disappeared from an island. The family was that of the resident headmaster Runes who had opened a school where strict discipline and outside activity to tame the teenage boys was the order of the day. Many of the boys came from wealthy families and Runes ruled both the school and his family; one that consisted of three children from his first marriage as well as his second wife Innes and their daughter Ebba.

Erica’s interest is reawakened when following a bereavement, Ebba moves back to the island to claim her inheritance with her husband Tobias. The pair set about carrying out a restoration project with the aim of opening up the property as a small hotel. Erica is excited about meeting Ebba, she’s sure she will welcome a book to reinvestigate what happened there all those years before but before she can arrange a meeting a fire breaks out on the island, and it looks like arson.

This story is also politically focused with a party called ‘Friends of Sweden’ featuring heavily the in the storyline. They are making moves to halt immigration into Sweden and the author paints a picture of this powerful group of people moving towards to making this a realty. But the past is never far away with some of the schoolchildren who attended Runes school back in 1974 now adults, included in this group is Jewish Josef, who is determined that the part Sweden played in World War Two is not forgotten and to ensure it isn’t, he is planning a new centre to hold all the evidence.

As well as these strands we also follow the life of Dagmar from the time she was a small child living in Fjällbacka in 1908. The first excerpt has her stood in a courtyard as the police arrived to arrest her parents. These short excerpts continue right up to the books conclusion, when their significance becomes clear.

You can always depend on Camilla Läckberg to pull many seemingly disparate strands of a story together and this book does this with dexterity as the past, present and the hopes for the future are gradually entwined closer together for the explosive finale.

The plot and pace are well-judged whereby the reader can absorb the details of the complex plot without feeling that the story drags at any point. Furthermore once again the translator, Tina Nunnally has done a fantastic job so that except for the names, I would never have realised I was reading a book not originally written in English.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

Contemporary Fiction 4*s
Contemporary Fiction
4*s

I am one of those readers who loves books about books, preferably books about books I’ve read and not just those that I should have done, so I was overjoyed to receive a copy of this book from Random House UK Vintage Publishing following reading a wonderful review of this book by Lady Fancifull.

Amy Harris and Sara Lindqvist have exchanged letters for over two years, a habit that started with their shared love of books, some of which are included for our pleasure, and following redundancy from her job in a book store in Sweden, Amy decides that Sara should visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa.

The story starts with Sara sat waiting in the nearby town of Hope, for Amy to pick her up. While she waits she sits and reads Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl, until eventually a local resident takes pity on her and arranges for her to be taken to Broken Wheel. Once there she receives the news that she’s arrived on the day of Amy’s funeral. The welcoming residents assure her that Amy would have wanted her to stay anyway and so she does.

Sara is a shy young woman who has never had a boyfriend and prefers books to people, she’s never travelled but she puts on her big girl pants and sets about getting to know the residents, those people so fondly described in Amy’s letters. Broken Wheel however is another matter, it is a town which has lost its heart, many of the shops are boarded up and while the residents are friendly and welcoming, it is clear that Amy was at the centre of the town and the wisdom and the support she lent to her neighbours. Sara isn’t quite sure what to do with herself so despite realising that this town isn’t populated by readers, she decides to open a book store with Amy’s books.

Along the way we get to meet the small town folk with their various foibles and along with them many sub-plots where we get to sympathise and hope for the best of ‘happy-ever-after’ outcomes for them all as fortunately all the truly undesirable characters have upped sticks and moved to more affluent areas, although a few difficult ones remain to keep things interesting.

Amy always seemed to know precisely what people wanted to hear. Caroline knew only what they should hear, and the two were very rarely the same thing.

This is a sweet story which had it not been for the inclusion of the books may have ended up on the wrong side of twee for my tastes. Sara decides to shelve the books in an original manner so that those entering the shop could find what they wanted starting with SEX, VIOLENCE AND WEAPONS some shelves got sub-headings such as reliable authors, those that can be depended on to produce good books time after time:

Reliable authors: Dick Francis, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer. Strictly speaking, Dan Brown also belonged here, she thought. He was so reliable that you got the exact same story every time. A kind, older mentor! Surely he won’t turn out to be the villain?

But the inclusion of a wide variety of books and some fun characters with more than a hint of similarity with the epistolary books of 84 Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that also have the common theme of books, although The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend isn’t entirely written in letters.

There is an awful lot to enjoy here and even though Sara seemed born of a different time and the ending thoroughly, yet beautifully expected this would make the perfect lighter read for any booklover. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is going to be published on 18 June 2015.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Lost Boy – Camilla Läckberg

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

The Lost Boy is the seventh book in this series by Camilla Läckberg featuring Patrik Hedström and his writer wife Erica Falck.

Erica has now had her twins after the cliff-hanger of The Drowning when Patrick is called to investigate a shooting. A man named Mats Sverin has been found shot in the back of the head yet early signs show him to have been well respected. Mats had recently returned to Fjällbacka, a coastal fishing village in Sweden, and the detectives working with Patrick wonder if the clues to his killing lie with secrets from his past.

Alongside this murder to solve there is the parallel tale of Graskar, known by the locals as Ghost Isle. The legend is set in the 1870’s. These interwoven excerpts detail one woman’s life as the wife as a lighthouse keeper there but the legend of the island lives on to the current times. Is it a coincidence that Nathalie who was Mats childhood sweetheart has returned to take up residence on Ghost Isle?

Camilla Läckberg’s books have some great characters with plenty to appreciate in the villager’s personal lives as well as the central murder. Although I wouldn’t say this was the best book in the series it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The previous books in this series are

The Ice Princess
The Preacher
The Stonecutter
The Stranger
The Hidden Child
The Drowning

Each book can be read as a stand-alone, I actually started with The Hidden Child which was a fantastic read, but to understand all the relationships between the villagers and the police, they are much better read in sequence.

Click the book cover to read my review of The Stonecutter

The Stonecutter

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Stonecutter – Camilla Läckberg

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

The Stonecutter is the third in the Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series which began with The Ice Princess (Patrick Hedstrom and Erica Falck, Book 1) and followed up by The Preacher (Patrick Hedstrom and Erica Falck, Book 2) Patrick takes the lead when the young daughter of a friend of Erica’s is found drowned, with accusations flying around Fjallbacka about who has committed this terrible crime. Recently having had a baby girl, Maja, the crime resonates even more deeply with Patrick.

I enjoy these books but I am constantly astounded by the clues that are ignored by the Police, they may get a result but it does seem more by luck than judgement. The story is interspersed with another story set in the late 1920’s about a girl, Agnes growing up in Fjallbacka, it is obvious these two stories are linked but the how and why is revealed slowly.

The plot is good, the writing moves along at a speed although the translation has problems with tenses in places these are minor and didn’t spoil the writing for me. I didn’t find this one as much as a mystery as some of the others I have read (I have also read books 5 & 6) but this one is still well worth a read.