This is the first novel of Sara Blædel featuring her detective Louise Rick to be translated into English. Call Me Princess (original title Kald mig prinsesse) was originally published in it's native Denmark in 2005 and is the second in the ongoing series involving Louise. Other, as yet untranslated titles include -
1. Green Dust (Grønt støv 2004)
3. Only One Life (Kun ét liv 2007)
4. Never Free Again (Aldrig mere fri 2008)
5. Goddess of Revenge (Hævnens Gudinde 2009)
6. Angel of Death (Dødsenglen 2010)
The story involves around online dating and the search for a serial rapist who is selecting his victims through an online dating service. Louise's partner, best friend Camilla and her son also feature in the story and add a bit of background to Louise. The novel is a fairly easy read and makes me keen to read her next in the series.
Although based in Copenhagen, the book could be set in any mid-sized / large city. There is little in the book to suggest that the book is particularly Danish.
2011 has provoded us with a wealth of Danish crime fiction with BBC's hit import [...], Jussi Adler-Olsen's [...] and Sissel-Jo Gazan's [...]. Later in 2011 two further Danish authors add to the smörgåsbord - Lene Kaaberbøl's [...] and Mikkel Birkegaard's [...].
Call Me Princess is translated into American English - which I find slightly offputting as when I read "downtown precinct" and otehr Americanisms, I tended to forget that the book was set in Denmark. Only until a page or so later when a Danish street name would appear.
Roll on the next one please Sara!
UPDATE - DECEMBER 2012 - A word of warning. This book has been issued in the UK as an ebook with the title BLUE BLOOD and will be available in the UK in paperback using this title in spring 2013. If you have read or bought CALL ME PRINCESS, please avoid the UK version (BLUE BLOOD) of it.
on 5 October 2011
This astonishing novel is preoccupied with two of the most important issues of our times: online dating and physical assaults against women.
The facts in this case take place in modern day Copenhagen. Detective Louise Rick is getting ready to go home after a hard day's work, when she receives a call that puts her plans for a nice evening with her companion into hold. A woman lies in a hospital bed injured after she's been battered and raped and she's willing to testify about who was the person behind the attack. Things though do not turn out to be so simple, since the unfortunate woman, cannot really remember the face of the man, while the name he has given her is not his real one either. Suzanne, who lives in an apartment, just under her own mother's home, seems to be at a loss. The shock she's going through is quite severe and she wants badly to get over it and move on with her life, but at the same time she knows that if she doesn't see that man behind bars she will never have peace of mind again. She also knows that now is the time to move away from her mother and the negative influence she has on her being. Rick, who from the very first moment monitors Suzanne closely, soon comes to realize that the mother is the one who inflicts the most pain on the woman's psyche, and is determined to help her out any way she can.
However, while these events take place, the perpetrator hits again, and this time the things get completely out of control, as his new victim, a woman called Christina ends up dead. As the two parallel cases begin to unfold the investigators soon find out that both of the women met their future rapist in some internet dating websites. In a world where people seem to be withdrawing into their own selves all the time and becoming more and more lonely, websites like that are supposed to offer a way out for those seeking their life's partner, but at the same time they give the opportunity to some twisted souls to make true some of their most danger fantasies; and it's exactly that world that Rick needs to infiltrate in order to achieve her goals.
The author is not only preoccupied with the crimes but also with the personal life of her heroine. Rick seems to be a solid, strong woman; however she's full of small weaknesses and big insecurities. For the past few months she's been living with her boyfriend, a fact that she likes and dislikes at the same time; every now and then she thinks that she should at last have a kid, especially when she's hanging out with her best friend's son, but the idea also scares the shit out of her; and finally she's trying to have some stability in her life, some set rules and practices, but of course that's impossible since she's married with the job. An all and all complex character, hers is.
The world that Blaedel presents to as is somehow bleak, but not worst from our everyday reality. Right here, in these pages, we meet people trapped in their personal little boxes, sinful souls, women dressed in melancholy. Every single one of them seems to be looking for something to hold on to; either that is a brief love affair, a good old family or just a relationship. Internet for some of them is the solution, for some others the problem. But loneliness remains.
This is a novel that talks about crime, but also about the undercurrents of society, and as such it can be read by anyone, no matter if he's a fan of the genre or not. Where are we heading? That seems to be the question in the author's mind, but the answer is not to be found anywhere in the text, since it lies deep within each one of us.
Call me Princess is a great story about modern day life, written by a great writer, who seems to be able to look with a clear eye in the darkness that lurks in the heart of man. Well done.
Sara Blædel's second crime novel (and the first one to be translated into English) about detective Louise Rick is a grim story about net dating that goes terribly wrong.
The Copenhagen police are notified of a violent rape where the woman met her apparently charming and attentive suitor on the Internet. The identity of the rapist cannot be traced but it turns out that he has previously used the same method and left deeply traumatised women in his wake. After yet another rape where the young victim choked to death on her own vomit, the police intensify their investigation and Louise Rick must play a dangerous game and use untraditional methods to get close to the dangerous perpetrator.
This is an exciting and very well-written book in a straight forward language that flows so well that it is hard to stop. The combination of traditional police work with Louise's private life is really well done and her sometimes complicated friendship with journalist Camilla Lind is also portrayed very realistically throughout the series - which, by the way, gets better and better for every instalment.
on 14 February 2012
This is the first English translation of the Louise Rick series by Danish bestseller Sara Blaedel. It is a clever and twisty police procedural, and also a great introduction to the Louise Rick character, who is far from perfect, and therefore all the more fascinating.
on 2 August 2012
There is very little of Copenhagen in this book , very little of what makes scandi thrillers thrilling ,very little of any thing really . The plot is a page turner [ I began to flick towards the end ] and so I was rather disappointed . The actual story of the serial rapeist internet dater is maybe ok for an afternoon read by the pool , but this certainly isnt a story of complexity and as a fan of danish The Killing / the bridge etc I had been expecting much much more .