Camilla Lackberg is the top-selling Swedish author who has a series of crime fiction mysteries, starring author and mother Erica Falck and her detective husband Patrik Hedstrom.
A man is found dead in his flat, shot through the back of the head, yet there seems to be no one who thinks he is anything but a likeable, responsible guy without any dark secrets. But does he actually have a double life? Who would want to kill him? At the same time, Erica’s former classmate has returned to live on the island off the coast of Fjallbacka, “Ghost isle” an island that has been abandoned for years. Is there a connection between the two? Does the Ghost Isle hold some dark secrets of it own?
This is the latest book in the series that has been translated to English. The series is set in idyllic Fjallbacka, on the Bohuslan coast of Sweden, where the author was born. The characters are now so familiar to me, (having read the books in the order that they were published), that they have become as endearing as an old much loved ‘cardi’. I find myself reproaching Patrik if he fails to investigate a particular clue, and chastising Gosta, and Mellberg, Hedstrom’s bumbling, aged colleagues and their over-inflated sense of self- importance. Whilst some might consider these novels not to be in the top league of crime stories, in terms of twists and turns and plot layers, a level of suspense and interest in the motives behind crime is maintained throughout every one.
The books often contain wonderfully descriptive passages on the emotions of the characters as well as excellent social commentary on love relationships, especially the position of women in Swedish society, either historically and in contemporary times, as Lackberg often runs two stories simultaneously. I like these stories in that there do not have to be a convoluted plot, for one to feel a sense of achievement if/when the identity of the killer is discovered, that is, if the reader heeds the clues Camilla leaves for us.
The Lost Boy
The good: Challenging stereotypes and the position of women. Depictions of the complex nature of relationships
The bad: Incompetent police work
The ugly: Sam
Rating: 7.5 /10
Something to Ponder about.