Seven years after being published in her native land, Camilla Lackberg‘s first novel, The Ice Princess, has reached the shores of America. It rides on the crest of the Scandinavian crime fiction wave. First Henning Mankell made a splash and then Steig Larrson’s fiction nearly created a tsunami with American audiences, readying the readers on this side of the Atlantic for the first of seven Lackberg novels.
The Ice Princess is steeped in the Scandinavian tradition of producing isolating, character-driven crime fiction. Lackberg sets the story against the backdrop of her own hometown and even on the warmest of summer days, you can’t help but want to snuggle in a blanket against the cold desolation of a Swedish fishing village in January.
The Ice Princess is the first mystery in a series focusing on two main characters, Erica and Patrik. Not only does the reader meet Erica and Patrik for the first time in these pages, but they meet each other and it is easy to recognize that there will be an interesting partnership in their future. Erica is a biographer who inadvertently is the second person on scene of the murder of her estranged childhood friend.
The victim’s family asks Erica to write a piece for the local newspaper about Alex, the victim. Erika agrees and quickly gets wrapped up in what could have lead the sweet 9 year old girl she once knew to this untimely and cold-blooded demise. Patrik is the detective assigned to the case. Although Patrik and Erica are the stars of this show, Lackberg fills the pages with many interesting characters of varying morality and subterfuge. It seems everyone is connected and everyone has something to hide in this small village.
With so many players, Lackberg hides the true murderer among all the other characters until the final pages and it is not as easy to guess as one might think. It is like a game of Clue, investigating and discarding all the usual suspects until you find the one holding the candlestick, or in this case, the sleeping pills and razor blade.
The middle of the book hits a little snag in momentum as Patrik and Erica get to know each other but then quickly picks up again when the murderer is within reach. Lackberg creates a multitude of fascinating characters, and although that sometimes affects the pace of the novel, each and every one is worth getting to know.
The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg was purchased by Boston Book Bums for review.