Title: The Ice Princess
Author: Camilla Läckberg
Pages: 393 plus The Preacher extract
Genre: Euro Crime (Sweden)
Release: Out Now in PB
Returning to her hometown after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life. Erica conceives a memoir about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their lost friendship. While her interest grows to an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about the small town with a deeply disturbing past.
In my Eurocrime adventure I’ve been to Iceland (via Arnaldur Indridason) the Swedish island of Öland (via Johan Theorin) I’ve popped across to France (via Fred Vargas) and now i’m in or around Camilla Läckberg’s birthplace, the small Swedish west coast town of Fjällbacka.
I’d be happy to visit each of the others again will Läckberg’s Fjällbacka become a place to visit?
In a word, yes, definitely. Before the discovery of a body we meet the first of many characters that inhabit the place. Eilert Berg isn’t happy and he’s going to leave his wife. It hasn’t nothing to do with the murder enough but Läckberg is conscious to give her characters a personality and a life of their own outside the story.
Läckberg definitely succeeds in giving her whole cast personalities and quirks but doesn’t quite give them a life of their own as they are all integral in their own way to the murder of Alex.
It’s one of those stories that gets more complicated the more you read but it adds to the pleasure rather than confuses. There are so many little hints and tips that it takes a while for Patrick with the help of Erica to work it all out.
It’s a great story as it delves into friendships and childhoods and how who we are as children can completely change when we are adults. She really uses her cast well.
I would say that as this her first novel her lack of confidence in her own writing comes across with the number of dramatic motivations and moments.
But I’m hoping the her next novel she’ll trust herself and her characters a little more as she can definitely create strong characters and a compelling and interesting story.
It’s rare for a crime novel to have a central love story. But Läckberg manages to make it come from the characters and gives this story a different dynamic and gives a light heart to what us a dark and disturbing tale.
Läckberg is also good at misdirection and withholding information. That partly comes from uses several different view points as not all of them are totally reliable or at least they are selective about what they share.
As a sum of it’s parts I really enjoyed it. It’s a little uneven giving the characters and the story a slight sense of unreality. But Läckberg comes across as having a talent that’s going improve the more she writes.
A Swedish crime novel that’s a murder and love story mixed with the haunting effects that our childhoods can have on the rest of our lives.
Packed full of an eclectic cast of characters that in some cases are as fascinating as they are disturbing.
A great talent that I feels going to shine over coming books.