on 7 March 2011
This is the fourth novel featuring detective Patrik Hedstrom of
the Tanumshede Police,and is arguably the best to date.
Hedstrom considers that there is more than meets the eye to the
death of a woman in a single vehicle accident.Meanwhile Patrik's
partner,Erica,is preparing for their wedding,and a reality programme
is being filmed in the town.When one of the participants is murdered,
it soon seems that a serial killer may be on the loose.
Lackberg's novels are based in 'small-town'Sweden,and more than ever
she portrays this as far from paradise.Set against the moral,likeable,
sensitive and industrious Patrik,are inhabitants whose chief concern
is themselves ,and whose prejudices are laid bare.
An enjoyable,well-plotted,fluently translated, read.
on 21 April 2012
I have just bought this book having mistaken it for a 'new' Camilla Lackberg-only to find that it is merely a re-named re-issue of 'The Gallows Bird'-which I bought from Amazon a few months ago. I've given 4 stars because I do like the book-what I don't like is wasting £7.99 on a book I already have-be warned!!!!
Fjallbaca, Sweden, the home of Detective Patrik Hedstrom, is about to receive it's first group of Reality TV stars. A local entrepreneur has arranged this group of unconventional people to live and be televised in his home town, expecting a lot of good PR and finances to make this an excellent adventure.
At the same time Patrik has received a call about a body found in a car. Just as he is to go out the front door, his new policewoman shows up. She is pretty and blonde and very energetic, her goal is to become Chief in a large city. At the scene Patrik feels something is off but can't quite place it. A local woman, with a strong smell of alcohol is dead behind the wheel of the car. As the investigation moves on, Patrik's 'gut feeling' is born out. His boss, Mellberg, the man who does nothing, finds a new outside life and Patrik proceeds with his investigation the way it should be done.
At home, Patrik and Erica are planning their wedding, or, at least, they are planning to be married. Erica's sister, Anna, and her two children live with them. Anna has had a tragic event take place and is deep in depression. The one unusual event that takes place that jars Anna out of her depression is so far fetched that it is not believable.
As the Reality TV series amps up, many unpleasant events occur, and another body is discovered. Patrik is the man of the hour, and one of the best detectives in a series. He has a sixth sense when something is not right, and he goes to great lengths to follow up on every lead. He and Erica are the personification of a real couple, loving, supportive, and tired, all the time. A new baby, Maja has brightened their lives, and left them exhausted. A true representation of the life of new parents.
Camilla Lackberg has given us another excellent novel. Lots of twists and turns, and ethical dilemmas to discuss.
Recommended. prisrob 10-19-13
This novel is the fourth outing in English for Camilla Lackberg's likeable and intelligent detective Patrik Hedstrom. What makes him stand out from so many other fictional detectives is that he doesn't drink excessively and that he has a happy home life. One slight foible is that his driving isn't up to much though! In this story, once again set against the idyllic backdrop of Fjallbacha, the Swedish fishing village turned summer holiday resort, Hedstrom has two deaths to investigate. The first appears to be a fatal single vehicle accident caused by the driver's excessive consumption of the alcohol, the second, is the murder of one of the contestants in a reality TV show being filmed locally. There are lots of strands to weave together in this story; of the investigation itself, the TV show, Hedstrom's forthcoming marriage, and also a sideline featuring Hedstrom's irksome boss Mellberg, and Lackberg manages it all very well in short manageable sections. The plot is complex, with plenty of red herrings, but it is easy to follow even although the dramatic final resolution seems a bit unlikely. I like the way Lackberg writes in a clean, simple style but which nevertheless allows her to examine the motivations of her characters. For me, Lackberg's stories don't have quite the edge or suspense of Stieg Larsson, but they are satisfying and enjoyable and I shall definitely be looking out for the next book in the series.
on 3 December 2014
Fjallbacka, the small swedish fishing village on the west coast, which has been put well on the literary map thanks to Camilla takes on a whole new meaning in this novel as modernity in the guise of reality TV comes to town and illustrates the remoteness and quiet yet threatening nature of some of its inhabitants.
This device is used throughout the novel to illustrate the outside coming in to this closed network of people and landscape and further enhances the story lines which carry on from the previous three novels. Domestic bliss in the form of Erica and Patrick and not so much domestic bliss with her sister Anna. But it’s the TV show that shocks and worries most and excites some -
“Oh it’s going to be so much fun seeing you on TV, and our little town of course. I never would have imagined that wed be nationwide celebrities here in Tanumshede.”
The culture shock that the investigation and the murders together with the home lives of the main characters really go well despite at totally opposite ends of the scale. The TV show angle might make you groan in disappointed anticipation but a smile and an expression of pleasant surprise will soon replace it as the novel unfolds.
on 26 April 2012
Having read all of the Camilla Lackberg "Hedstrom" series it saddens me that Ms Lackberg seems to be taking less and less effort with each book.I don't know if the Police in Sweden are particularly dim but the average veteran of Police procedurals will have worked out who "did it" very,very quickly..certainly a lot quicker than Fjallbacka's finest who make Inspector Clouseau look like Sherlock Holmes.
Not only is the "unmasking" at the end of the book no suprise to most who had sussed it near the beginning but all along the reader will find him/herself seeing the various "twists" and "suprises" several pages before Ms Lackberg "reveals" them,apologies to anyone thinking this was because of new-found psychic powers,it's purely down to lazy writng.
The whole tale is just so predictable,it reads like the script of a cheap tv movie with the main "mystery" being how any bunch of Cops in any town in the world that's not called Keystone could be so inept and myopic,chuck in a few gaping plot holes and cardboard and stereotypical characters and that's about the size of it.
Not only that,yes it gets worse,the series seems to be turning more and more into a Soap opera with the various loves and traumas of every member of staff belonging to "the world's dumbest Cop Shop" coming under the microscope whether their private lives have any bearing on the plot or not.In "The Stranger" the Receptionist is the latest character we learn more about for no particular reason.
A good half of this book is padding,pages on "Erica's wedding dress","Mellborg's budding romance","Dan and Anna" e.t.c. and the actual murder mystery,such as it is,could probably be banged out in 150 pages or so.
I'm not sure where Camila Lackberg is going with this series,and sometimes it seems as if she dosn't either.I've already got the next in the series,The Hidden Child,on my bookshelf so I will read it.If it's no better than this I'll be in no rush to buy any more of Ms Lackberg's books.
on 14 April 2012
I've read all the other books in this series to date and have come to the conclusion that the author has reached the end of saying anything interesting or, indeed, convincing, about the domestic setup of our rather cardboard cutout 'hero'; in fact, it's become something of a turnoff. Likewise Patrik's abilities as a detective ... if this is the best the local police station has to offer, then no wonder it takes so long to solve crimes. I get the distinct feeling that, after being tempted to 'co-write' a disastrous novel with James Paterson, the author is now clutching at straws and I genuinely believe she should ditch the Patrik series and try something new ... something she can develop into a more meaningful series without a surfeit of domestic non-crises padding the story out to attain more pages, too many of which have no plot-construction or developmental purpose. To be honest, I don't understand why Erica (his wife) hasn't kicked him out in favour of someone who cares; I don't anymore (sic) (see below).
And who among the Press gave the book all these wonderful reviews? It reinforces the widespread view that paid reviewers don't always read the books with which they're presented, and it's not fair on readers. This series has become a great disappointment, considering Lackberg can be a good writer. And as for the quality of the translation and proofing ... well, let's just say 'anymore' is not a single word, it's two ('any' and 'more', believe it or not) and there are too many instances of missing words and letters being dropped at the end of others (e.g. 'thought' appearing as 'though').
I was going to give this a three star rating but have reluctantly lowered it to two, simply because 1) I think readers paying for the product should be able to expect something of better quality; it hasn't been an easy decision to take, and 2) I see the publisher is sticking to the principle of fleecing readers buying the Kindle version ... there's absolutely no honest justification for this practice, and surely it's about time they learned to be less greedy ... even charging half the paperback price is too much considering what you get, or rather, don't.
Oh, look! I see a flying pig ...
on 23 July 2015
I loved this series of books from Camilla Lackberg's. The story lines are well worked out and almost believable! Well, if the plot(s) weren't a bit 'stretched' they'd be like real life and that's not a good read. The on-going story regarding Erica's family and background has left me wanting more. Moving on to the next book.
on 16 June 2012
A gentle narrative reflecting the lives of the good people in and around Fjällbacka. The cosy details of Detective Patrick Hedström domestic life with his partner,Erica; they're on a diet as their wedding day draws closer. Arrangements fall to Erica & her Sister, Anna, as Patrick is deeply involved in two separate murders which drag him across Southern Sweden looking for connections and a link between a car crash in Tanumshede that initially appears to be an unfortunate accident and a remembered case study from a training event that had some similarities.
As Patrick fails to maintain his work/life balance we are taken from domestic stress to all out emnity and murderous happenings on a reality TV show that has moved into Town. This second murder stretches the small detective team to its limits and the reader is at a loss to make sense of the expanding plot lines.
Lackberg is equally adept at reflecting on social aspects of Swedish life as she is in exposing the dark side of people's character and all of her books read well. She is able to hold the whole together so that the reader isn't left checking back to understand an earlier chapter.
The final drawing together of the various aspects of plot and motivations are done cleverly and without any tricks or smoking mirrors. You have a conclusion, an end to the mystery but maintain a desire to learn more about the cast. Happily CL continues to write and you can look forward to the next encounter where briefly you will be transposed to this sleepy spot where the latest darkness & malevolence disturbs, but can't reach you physically & add you to the list of victims.
I like Ms Lackberg's writing style. I hesitate to call it cozy as that has certain connotations in the crime/mystery genre so perhaps informal and inviting is a better description. It is pleasant to read about a detective who is happy and has a great home life as it is almost outwith the norm. In this book two crimes are investigated - the death of a local lesbian and the murder of a reality "star". I like the way the plot develops slowly as the police uncover not so many clues but information but it is a bit annoying that the reader doesn't get all the new information as it comes in and has to wait a bit for it to be revealed. That is, however, a minor niggle as this is an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to more in the series.