Fjallbacka sign sweden
writing

Favourite Swedish Crime Title

The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg

The Blurb –

Bohuslan village sweden fjallbacka

A new author is lauded by the residents of not only Fjallbacka, but also Sweden. “Why did he write the book?” the journalist asks. Christian says it was a story he had to write.  Was it something hidden in the past that has compelled him to write a story? Can it be truth or fiction, and why does he look like a haunted man, when his dreams have finally come true? When one of the author’s closest friends goes missing, Detective Patrik Hedstrom has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian become a disturbing reality.  But with the victims themselves concealing evidence, and telling Patrick nothing that will help him identify the culprit will they die before the secret is revealed?  Is there silence driven by fear or guilt?

The Drowning

Characters

To those of us who have read Camilla Lackberg’s crime fiction series, set in Fjallbacka, Sweden on the Bohuslan coast, the characters are like old friends, so familiar and comforting. They are all so similar to real people that we have met in our individual lives, with the exception of Christian.

His tragic childhood and adolescence is told over the course of the book, and ultimately the secrets are revealed in the most unexpected way. It might be easy for experienced Lackberg fans to detect the clues the author sprinkles throughout the book, but nevertheless, I feel this story satisfies her regular readers far more than others in the Erica Falck series.

Monument to stone cutters sweden bohuslan coast
The Stone Cutter Monument – title in the Erica Falck Series by Camilla Lackberg

I tend to find in this book, Erica’s character herself, is sometimes a little too perfect, akin to one you might find in a soap opera. Yet, it is here that you will find that Erica settles more into the background, and Patrick’s voice becomes the more prominent than in earlier novels.

Setting

Despite the melodrama of Erica and her sister being simultaneously pregnant, I enjoyed this novel and reacquainted myself with the Bohuslan coastal communities described in the story.

Visiting them and walking around the streets of towns like Fjallbacka and Hunnebostrand was such a joy for me as it brought the stories to life.

smogen

Theme

More importantly, the novel also touches on aspects of bullying, prejudice jealousy, and the all too common ostracism of anyone who is perceived by society to be ‘different.’ Those at the fringe of society and their sufferings can be and often are, invisible, even to the benevolent agencies that are purported to help them.

As the cover suggests, there are grave consequences to selfishness and jealousy, disguised as sibling rivalry, and the story highlights how we as adults, often dismiss the vulnerability of a child’s ego and mental state when exposed to stress.

Erica Falck Series

This is the fifth book in the Erica Falck series, previous titles include: The Ice Princess, The Preacher, The Stone Cutter, The Gallow’s Bird, The Hidden Child, The Drowning, and The Lost Boy. If interested in the writer, you can find out more about Camilla Lackberg.

A friend playing one of the author’s dead characters

* Tip:
Although they are stand-alone books, do try to read the series in order, not as I did, missing the novel titled “The Hidden Child.” For, as Murphy’s law dictates, the novel you next read will contain a spoiler for the one you just skipped. It may only be one sentence but that words might relate to a central theme! Ponder about that before you dig in and read them out of order.

The Verdict

The Good: Suspenseful story-building to the final climactic end.

The Bad: Slightly predictable plot. Soap opera-type details of the main character’s personal lives. But they are like old shoes, they fit easily and are comfortable to wear!

The Ugly: Tragic consequences of child abuse, bullying and jealousy highlighted in this book.

A Home by the Sea