To Go: 84
11. Blue Monday — Nicci French
12. Mrs. Kennedy and Me — Clint Hill
13. The Imperfectionists — Tom Rachman
14. The Rage — Gene Kerrigan
15. Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler — Trudi Kanter
16. The Drowning — Camilla Lackberg
I received The Drowning in a prize package last summer, courtesy of HarperCollins Canada, and their “passport to reading” contest. I won the Sweden week, and got three books set in Sweden/written by Swedish authors. (The other two were Easy Money by Jens Lapidus, and a cook book that I promptly gave away to my father.) What I didn’t realize about The Drowning until I was already a good chunk through it was that it was the sixth book in Lackberg’s Patrik Hedstrom series. So now, of course, I think I want to start the series at the beginning.
As I mentioned in my last review, I’m in the process of catching up on overdue book posts. I read The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg weeks ago, which is my explanation for why this review might be vague or fuzzy.
In The Drowning, Patrik Hedstrom and his colleagues at the Tannumshede struggle to solve the case of a man who disappears from Fjallbacka, only to turn up in a frozen lake four months later. When his wife, Erika Falck, discovers the dead man’s friend, author Christian Thydell, has been receiving death threats for months, Hedstrom thinks he’s found a lead. But the case is further complicated when witnesses refuse to talk, forcing Hedstrom and Falck to look deeper into the men’s shared past to find the murderer.
The Drowning was quite the page-turner, and I came to really enjoy Patrik and Erika as a mystery-solving duo. Even though Hedstrom frequently protests his wife’s involvement in official police business—she’s a crime writer, not an investigator—she often brings him new perspectives and leads that he might have missed otherwise. They actually reminded me of Frieda Klein and Malcolm Karlsson from Blue Monday, minus the occasional animosity. Apart, Patrik and Erika are both successful, but together they’re stronger.
Erika’s pregnancy made for a funny complication to the otherwise tried and true crime-solving pair trope, and was just one example of how perfectly Lackberg balanced family-driven scenes against the mystery-thriller narrative. The novel has just the right amount of blood and gore, but takes frequent pauses to focus on the families of its characters, from the idyllic to the dysfunctional.
Despite being part of a series, The Drowning was also successful as a stand-alone story. Lackberg took the time to help any new readers catch up on her characters and their history without being burdensome, which was usually done through hints in dialogue, a technique I’ve come to appreciate. But as one part of a series, Lackberg’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending opened a door to continue into the next book. When I start following the Hedstrom series more seriously, I’ll look forward to seeing how the seventh book picks up.
Next book: Le Bal/Snow in Autumn — Irene Nemirovsky