January, Fjällbacka. A semi-naked girl wanders through the woods in freezing cold weather. When she finally reaches the road, a car comes out of nowhere. It doesn’t manage to stop. By the time Detective Patrik Hedström receives word of the accident, the girl has already been identified. Four months ago she disappeared on her way home from the local riding school, and no one has seen her since. It quickly becomes clear that she has been subjected to unimaginably brutal treatment. And it’s likely she’s not the only one. Meanwhile, Patrik’s wife, crime writer Erica Falck, is looking into an old case – a family tragedy that led to a man’s death. His wife was convicted of murder, but Erica senses that something isn’t right. What is the woman hiding? As Erica digs deeper, the past starts to cast a shadow over the present and Patrik is forced to see his investigation in a whole new light.
I’ve already said plenty of times that Camilla Läckberg’s books are kind of like a happy place for me. I know this may sound weird given that there are plenty of gory crimes in Fjällbacka, but it’s the simple truth. And in this book, there was probably more blood than ever. It was definitely her most violent one. Still, every time I begin to read one of her novels, I forget everything else around me. She never fails to keep me inevitably addicted (even though I still have some complaints).
Don’t worry, if you haven’t read the previous books, I won’t spoil anything important. This is one of my favorite detective series, mainly because I’m so familiar with the characters. I love how you grow to love them all, even if that seemed impossible at first. The contrast between the crimes and Fjällbacka’s residents’ lives is probably what I like the most about these books. Because, even though the murders are gory and dark, you can always have fun with the dialogues and crazy situations. So yes, this is nordic noir but not depressing by any means.
This book presented, as usual, two parallel storylines. The present one featured the disappearance of various teenage girls and the sudden apparition of one of them whose eyes and tongue have been removed. Patrik and his team are pretty sure they’re dealing with some sort of psychopath and the worst of all is that this person seems to live very close to them. Meanwhile, Erica is writing a book about a woman called Laila and the mysterious murder and disappearance of her husband and children. This time, the flashbacks bring us back to the 60s and 70s and we get to discover Laila’s fascinating story…
I’m particularly happy because, in this book, Anna’s plot wasn’t overly dramatic like in some of the previous ones. Seriously, this woman can’t catch a break. If you’ve read the series, you already know what I’m talking about. There weren’t many personal storylines in The Ice Child but I didn’t mind because the mystery plot was what interested me the most. I had my suspicions, as usual, and I did guess some of them, but I’m afraid I was wrong about the most important revelation.
What I liked the most
The ending. Camilla did something here that she doesn’t usually do, and I loved how the story felt fresh and bold. Also, as usual, I loved reading the interactions between all the characters. The mystery was creepy and intriguing, and the plot was complex enough, just how it should be. And did I mention dark?
What I didn’t like that much
Again, Camilla’s writing often feels childish, especially when describing people’s feelings. As the rule says: show, don’t tell. This is something that has been bothering me since the beginning and she hasn’t gotten any better. Plus, there was a particular storyline that was solved in about two paragraphs like this: “Who would’ve thought that xxx would do xxx”? Rushed and abrupt.
An addictive and dark new installment that offers a compelling mystery and a fresh and satisfying ending.
Harper Collins, 2016