It was okay to do that because the links between the stories are minimal and the continuing characters are really well developed and distinctive. Patrik Hedstrom is a small town detective and his girl friend, Erica Falck, a writer, are the two main characters in each of the novels. They're accompanied by various family members, friends, and colleagues. All of those people have lives that compete for attention with the mysteries Läckberg dreams up.
Okay, the first book in the series is The Stonecutter. One of the stories here begins in the early 1920s and revolves around a skilled quarryman, an upper class girl, their unhappy marriage, and their twin sons. The other story concerns the murder of a very young child just as Patrik and Erica are expecting their first child. Of course there are other side stories, but they are not intrusive.
Big Brother, filming in town, is found dead. In a small town, Patrik finds himself directly involved in investigating both murders, and feeling guilty about neglecting the new baby and his stressed wife. The second story line in this books is very opaque and dream like. I ignored most of it.
It was such a pleasure to read books that I wanted to read and finish (even though that would mean I'd be done). That was true for all three books. I can say that the characterizations were very well done. I can't tell you whether narration, or dialogue, or cause and effect moved the stories on, because Läckberg used all three, but none were obviously prominent. Except for the vague and dream like secondary story in The Stranger, the elements of the books worked well together.
I'd wondered if Läckberg's first two books were written according to a recipe that didn't quite work. If Läckberg adjusted her recipe for these books, she's done it very well. These 400-500 page novels were never daunting or too much. I enjoyed nearly everything.
I urge you to give them a try. I'm confident you don't have to be Swedish or a Minnesotan to enjoy them.
Have you read any of Läckberg's novels? What did you think of them? Write. Tell this little bit of the world what you think.
- The author's web page
- Maureen Corrigan's review of The Stonecutter in The Washington Post
- Rich Westwood's review of The Stranger at Euro Crime
- Barry Forshaw's review of The Hidden Child in The Idependent
- Leslie Wright's review of The Hidden Child in The Seattle Post Intelligencer