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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.
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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
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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!!!!
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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.
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on 13 August 2013
To avoid disappointment, please note this book was previously published under the title THE GALLOWS BIRD. Swedish crime sensation and No. 1 international bestseller, Camilla Lackberg's fourth psychological thriller - for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. A woman is found dead, apparently the victim of a tragic car crash. It's the first in a spate of seemingly inexplicable accidents in Tanumshede and marks the end of a quiet winter for detective Patrik Hedström and his colleagues. At the same time a reality TV show is being shot in the town. As cameras shadow the stars' every move, relations with the locals are strained to breaking point. When a drunken party ends with a particularly unpopular contestant's murder, the cast and crew are obvious suspects. Could there be a killer in their midst? As the country tunes in, the bodies mount up. Under the intense glare of the media spotlight, Patrik faces his toughest investigation yet...

My wife read this about a month ago, and was quite insistent that I get to it. After all I had inflicted it on her. Suffice to say she didn't particularly enjoy it much; ok - not at all then! I've been avoiding it for a couple of weeks, in the hope I could delay it until May and count it as my Scandinavian read for the month which is one of my own personal reading challenges in 2013. One of the many things I love about my wife is her persistence!
This was a 390'ish page book where not very much seemed to happen at the beginning, other than we spend a lot of time with the chief investigator's family. In fact throughout the book we spend a lot of time with Hedstrom's wife, Erica and sister, Anna......who I'm guessing suffered some "event" in one of the author's previous books. Most of the time, I enjoy stories where detectives or investigators personal lives are shown to us. I need to see another side to them, apart from the job. It adds flesh to their bones and gives them substance. Here it bored me unfortunately.
After maybe the halfway point the pace picked up a bit and there were some interesting developments. The investigation into the car crash victim developed with other similar cases uncovered. I did guess the identity of the killer early, and as I'm no Sherlock Holmes perhaps it wasn't concealed as cunningly as the author thought it had been. Conversely, it could have been her intention to telegraph the culprit to the reader. She did cleverly link the two crimes of reality show murder victim and drunk driver together.
The supporting cast of police investigators were on the whole likeable and fairly believable. Perhaps my favourite was Gosta. Initially jaded and uninterested, counting down the days until he could get out on the golf course; he became invigorated and brought his A-game to the investigation. Maybe his transformation stretched the bounds of credibility a little bit, but as I liked him I'll buy this one.
There were a couple more downsides to the book in my opinion. I felt the minor back story with the chief of police, Mellberg was clichéd and predictable. The ending where she served up a hook for her next book was annoying, irritating and blatantly unsubtle and patronising to an intelligent readership.
I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, despite the gripes mentioned above. I do have another book of hers to read, The Drowning. It won't be something I'll be rushing to in a hurry. As a further sidenote, my 2012 edition states that the author was the 9th best-selling author in Europe in the previous year. She must have a very big family, I reckon.
2 from 5
I bought this new for my wife earlier this year from Buzzard Books in my hometown. Perhaps I need help when shopping for my wife?
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A year or so ago, I was pretty much ready to give up on Nordic crime. Harry Hole was too drunken, Salander was too weird, and frankly the whole genre seemed too angst-ridden and downright miserable to be enjoyable...and I say that as someone hardened by years of dealing with drunks and screwed-up mavericks - all fictional, of course! At the time of my disillusionment, a fellow Amazon reviewer tried to get me to read Läckberg, promising that she was different. Finally, I've followed that advice - and I'm so glad I did! Patrik Hedström is that rare and precious creature - a sober, likeable, intelligent detective who works within the rules and has a happy home life. And in this story he proves that that can be considerably more interesting and much more enjoyable than reading yet one more description of binge-drinking, hangovers and cowboy policing.

When Patrik is called to the scene of a fatal car accident, it looks like a straightforward case of drunken driving. But the woman driver was teetotal and Patrik suspects that there may be more to the accident than meets the eye. Meantime the town has been invaded by a reality TV show starring a group of C-List celebs whose claim to fame is that they are willing to get outrageously drunk, party all night and have sex as often as they can, and all with the cameras rolling. This is problem enough, but when one of the celebs turns up dead in a bin, Patrik has two cases to deal with. So it's lucky there's a new member of the team - Hanna, an experienced and efficient officer has transferred to the district - especially since more deaths are on the way...

Well written, and well translated by Steven T Murray, this is an intriguing police procedural with a dark and complex plot and a satisfying conclusion. Although Patrik is the lead character, we get to know the members of his team too and their interactions add an extra layer of depth to the story. The picture Läckberg paints of contemporary Sweden is as misery-laden and angst-filled as the most ardent Nordic fan could desire, but is lightened by Patrik's family life as he and Erica prepare for their forthcoming wedding. Although there's clearly a running story in the background about Patrik and Erica's relationship, this book works well as a standalone for anyone who, like me, hasn't read the previous ones in the series - an omission I now intend to rectify. Recommended.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Open Road.
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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.
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This novel and Hidden Child, it's successor can almost be read as one storyline, they follow so closely after one another. I would certainly recommend buying both and reading them as one novel.
Camilla Lackberg has created an enjoyable series of well plotted almost-procedurals, with some occasional insight into Swedish society and history.
I suppose that you might put this series at the lighter end of the Scandinavian crime genre, but they are distinguished by very well developed characterisation.
The cast of Tanumschede police station have grown into a well observed and rounded group of characters, and the slightly cartoon elements found in Bertil and Gosta in the first couple of novels have been developed into more sympathetic traits.
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on 16 January 2014
I was really looking forward to getting stuck into a (what was for me) new crime writer. I have to say I was very let down. The actual crime in the book came about halfway - there were no real 'hooks' or suspense to keep me that interested. I found the reality show idea boring and it took me a while to get the characters straight in my head.
I understand the main protaganists have been in other books but I felt Lackberg assumed too much that I knew their background story - the sister depressed because of what? We're not told and then bingo! She goes for a walk and is all ok again? mmmm.
I guessed the whole thing very early on I'm afraid - it was glaringly obvious to me.
Overall I found it clunky, boring and predictable.
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on 15 February 2012
This was the first Camilla Lackberg book I've read and I was definitely disappointed with it. Perhaps it is a matter of knowing the characters better and reading her books in chronological order but by about half way through (or even earlier) you know who the killer is and as a result the books' build up seems slow and redundant. I wasn't that impressed with the subplots either, all the reality tv characters were irrelevant, with lackluster dialogue and no character development. The only red herring worth noting was the fact the killer was so obvious (as was the "twist" surrounding killer) that you couldn't help but think it must be someone else! I didn't hate it but I wouldn't recommend it and I wont be reading anymore of her books.
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