The Ice Princess - Patrik Hedstrom, Bk 1 Author:Camilla Lackberg, Steven T. Murray (Translator) In this electrifying tale of suspense from Camilla Läckberg, an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village. Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of Fjällbacka, Sweden, after her parents' deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her ... more »childhood best friend, Alex. It's Erica herself who finds Alex’s body -- suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life? Teaming up with police detective Patrik Hedström, Erica begins to uncover shocking events from Alex's childhood. As one horrifying fact after another comes to light, Erica and Patrik's curiosity gives way to obsession -- and their flirtation grows into uncontrollable attraction. But it's not long before one thing becomes very clear: a deadly secret is at stake, and there's someone out there who will do anything -- even commit murder -- to protect it.« less
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After the death of her parents, biographer Erica Falck finds herself back in her hometown of Fjällbacka, Sweden. Simultaneously trying to go through her parents' things and finish work on her fifth book, Erica is finding both tasks distasteful. When her childhood friend is found with her wrists slashed in a frozen bath, Erica begins writing a memoir about her beautiful but remote friend in which she intends to answer questions about their lost friendship.
While Falck is conducting her own investigation, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own leads on the woman's death. It is only when Erica and Patrik begin working together that the truth begins to emerge about the small town's past.
This is a mystery for those who are character-driven readers. Erica not only writes, grieves for her parents and her lost friendship with the deceased Alex, she has to deal with her younger sister and her grasping husband. Patrik is not only investigating the death of Erica's childhood friend, he has to cope with the boss from hell. Erica and Patrik are attracted to each other, and it's a romance that's well done: enough detail to make romance lovers' toes curl a bit without turning off those who prefer their whodunits with guns and no roses.
Läckberg's interest in people and motivation is clear in The Ice Princess. She also shows a great deal of skill in meting out details to keep the suspense percolating. I can't help but feel that, although she's got two great characters in Erica and Patrik, Läckberg has the most fun with Patrik's boss, Bertil Mellberg:
"What she considered his most repulsive feature, however, was the atrocious comb-over he had constructed to hide his bald pate. He had let the remaining strands of hair grow out-- his employees could only guess how long they must be-- and then he wound the hair round atop his head in an arrangement that most resembled an abandoned crow's nest."
What's scary about Mellberg is that, although his characterization borders on buffoonery, Läckberg doesn't put a foot wrong because I swear I once worked with his twin!
Mellberg aside, I truly enjoyed reading this book. Läckberg is a very visual writer; Scandinavian furniture makers, interior designers and food magazines are mentioned that were totally unknown to me, but I wasn't bothered. That's what an Internet connection and search engines are for. Looking up some of the unfamiliar names helped me see with Läckberg's eyes and educated me, all at the same time. For those readers who don't care about such things, they are very easily ignored.
I deduced what had happened to Alex as a child, but that didn't take away any enjoyment of this book. Good pacing and story combined with excellent characters and motivations to make for a very pleasurable read. I am now looking for the rest of the books in this series because I just have to know about the further adventures of Erica and Patrik.
I really, really wanted to like this book. Suspense thrillers are my favorite and I was very excited to read a crime mystery by a woman as highly regarded as Camilla Läckberg. Maybe I expected too much, but The Ice Princess just wasnt as astounding as I had hoped it would be.
It did have a decent plot with a few shocking, unexpected twists. Most of the characters were well developed and realistic -- none of them were perfect, just like the rest of us. However, Ms. Läckberg constantly added way too many personal, and unnecessary, details about their lives, which was distracting from the story.
This is the first novel written by Ms. Läckberg and, at times, you can really tell that shes a novice. The text seemed amateurish. It had a very slow but mostly steady pace. Unfortunately, I had to occasionally force myself to keep reading, which shouldnt happen with a suspense thriller.
Im sure that as Camilla sharpens her skills as a writer (which apparently she has already done, considering her six best-sellers) her work will become more enticing. I know shes a hit in Europe, but in my opinion The Ice Princess just doesnt compare to others I read. 2 ½ stars
(Received complimentary copy for review purposes only.)
Can't put it down! It captivates you from page one. Well done,with great descriptive writing, main characters nicely developed, not as "dark" as some Swedish mysteries.. stick this book in your briefcase or bag and you'll be sneaking pages in at coffee, lunch and on the bus.