Monday, February 4, 2013

The Stonecutter - Camilla Lackberg

I do a rotating display at the library on genres and authors. This last month I featured Scandinavian authors. I've read many of the authors I featured, but Camilla Lackberg was new to me.

The Stonecutter is the third book in her series set in Fjall­backa, Sweden that features Detective Patrik Hedstrom.

A local fisherman hauling in his nets draws up an unexpected and grisly catch - the body of a young girl. When Patrik is called to the scene, he is horrified to realize he knows the girl. Further investigation reveals that the drowning was no accident.

The present day chapters dealing with Patrik's investigation are alternated with chapters detailing a story beginning in 1923, set in the same village. The two narratives seemed to have no connection to each other whatsoever in the beginning, but I was fascinated by the older story as well. More and more of the past is revealed with every chapter and I started to get an inkling of where the two narratives might meet. I quite enjoyed having the story slowly but deliciously pieced together. Lackberg has done an excellent job with her plotting - it's intriguing and inventive.

Although Patrik is the lead protagonist, there are other recurring characters that are just as well drawn and developed.  Patrik's girlfriend Erica has just given birth to their first child and is having great difficulty coping. His colleagues at the station run the gamut - from keen to lazy to dangerous. The townsfolk are a mixed bunch - all with secrets it seems. I enjoy a series that lets us 'know' the characters and see their lives evolve from book to book.

Lackberg's mystery is excellent, but I also appreciated the depth with which she explored the psyches of all involved - both police and suspects. The theme of relationships is explored in many forms - especially that of parent/child. These explorations were the most frightening parts of the book. There are sub plots never fully wrapped up as well, which was okay - the ending has only left me eager to read the next in the series - The Gallows Bird. A great read and a new addition to my list of must read mystery authors.

Read an excerpt of The Stonecutter.


bermudaonion said...

Oooh, you've made this sound very appealing.

Reg / Steve said...

This was my favorite of the 4 books I translated! -- Steven T. Murray

Luanne said...

I think you'll like it Kathy.

Steven - I thought your translation was excellent. Often I find the words 'wooden' but not in this case!

Isi said...

I still haven't read any of the book of the series by C. Läckberg, but I have the first one and I want to give it a try (I would like to start from the beginning). Everybody likes her books!

Luanne said...

Isi - It is good to start at the beginning. If I start in the middle though, I just can't go backwards - I already know what the future holds for the characters.