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Lackberg's excellent third novel set in the west coast village of Fjallbacka, like its predecessors The Ice Princess and The Preacher, strips conventional veneers from her achingly complex characters. Alternating parallel narratives embroil readers first in the present-day murder by drowning of little Sara Klinga, then in the rise and fall many decades earlier of Agnes Stjernkvist, a venomous schemer who lusts after honest stonecutter Anders Andersson. Investigating Sara's death is series lead Det. Patrik Hedstrom, now an exhausted new father, whose partner, Erica, is suffering through a desperate postpartum depression. Lackberg gradually tightens the disparate narrative strands noose-like around her numerous remorselessly dissected characters, her signature reversal revealing shocking and poignant truths about the residents of Fjallbacka, where she herself was born. With at least nine more novels waiting for English translation and the Swedish TV series Fjallbacka Murders in the works, Lackberg has rapidly become one of the most profitable native authors in Sweden's history. Agent: Joakim Hansson, Nordin Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Lackberg's third novel is her longest, a nearly 500-page crime thriller that digs deep into the history of the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka. When a young girl's body is pulled out of the harbor, author and new mother Erica immediately is drawn into the story. Her partner, Patrick, is the police detective assigned to the case, and she is friends with the girl's mother. Driven by her friendship as well as fears for her baby, Erica can't leave the case alone. With only thoroughly confusing clues (Why was the dead girl's mouth filled with ash?) and few real suspects (even the nasty neighbors aren't good candidates), Patrick struggles with lazy and inept colleagues and an even remoter-than-usual boss. Lackberg interweaves the modern-day criminal investigation and the story of a young, rich girl from the early twentieth century. As the novel careers to dramatic endings for both modern-day and historical stories, readers will wonder whether there really is such a thing as justice for anyone. Those who have read Lackberg's The Ice Princess (2010) and The Preacher (2011) will be familiar with her series characters, Erica and Patrick, but new readers won't have a hard time jumping in. A perfectly plotted and paced mystery bolstered by strong, realistic characters makes this a must-read for all followers of Scandinavian crime fiction.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2010 Booklist
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In this third series outing (after The Preacher), Det. Patrick Hedstr^m and his girlfriend Ericka Falck, who live in Fjallbacka, Sweden, are now the new parents of a baby girl. Erica is upset when the young daughter of her friend Charlotte dies in an accidental drowning. However, it soon turns out that the child's death was murder. Patrick is put in charge of the investigation, which eventually leads to some very unsettling truths about Charlotte's family. In an alternate story line, which begins in 1923, a young woman from a well-to-do family is forced into marriage with the local stonecutter. As the story progresses, she strikes out at those closest to her in terrifying ways. Verdict Readers of Lackberg's two previous books will not be disappointed. The author keeps the interest high in both plots and ties the two together in a disturbing conclusion. A must-read for fans of Scandinavian mysteries by such authors as Hakan Nesser, Ake Edwardson, Kjell Eriksson, and Arnaldur Indridason. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/12.]-Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.