I was just about to reply to the email about Camilla Läckberg’s latest novel, The Lost Boy, saying that I don’t really read Swedish crime in translation, when the Resident IT Consultant said very pointedly that he would like to read her. So I reversed my plans and let him have the book. I have heard a lot about Camilla’s writing, but if truth be told, I read hardly any Swedish books these days.
Over to my guest reviewer:
“I hadn’t read any of Camilla Läckberg’s crime novels before, so I was interested to get the opportunity to read her latest book in her Patrik Hedström series set in Bohuslän, north of Gothenburg.
Mats Sverin, financial director on a regeneration project worth millions, is found murdered. As Tanum police investigate, the plot thickens and Mats’ universal popularity seems to hide a mysterious past which draws in all the characters.
I found it a little hard to get started. There’s a large cast of characters and I did not find it easy to remember who was who. Probably if I’d read the other novels in the series this wouldn’t matter. But the novel is twice the length of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s first crime novel and I did wonder whether it could have been a little shorter.
I liked the picture it painted of the Swedish West Coast. The book is called The Lighthouse Keeper in Swedish and I found it reminded me of Wilfrid Wilson Gibson’s poem Flannan Isle. Otherwise the novel contains many of the features we’ve learnt to become familiar with in Swedish crime: drugs, domestic abuse, a motorcycle gang, a suicide and an archipelago. These are almost becoming a stereotype for Nordic crime.
As the plot developed I got more drawn in and I read the final two thirds of the book much faster than I had read the first third. Everything came to a satisfactory conclusion in the end.
Would I read another? Probably yes, and I assume more knowledge of the key characters would make a second novel an easier read.”
Yes, I always find it hard starting in the middle of a series. If the author explains what has gone before, I get bored. If they don’t, I get annoyed. No pleasing some…