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The Ice Princess

The term “Swedish crime fiction” probably brings images of a certain girl with a tattoo to mind. Stieg Larsson can be considered the ambassador for a new crop of internationally celebrated Swedish authors. These days, Swedish authors are more known for their love of bloodshed and their exploration of seriously twisted relationships than for a redheaded orphan by the name of Pippi Longstocking.

Stieg Larsson is perhaps the best known internationally but he has been joined by Liza Marklund, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Mikael Niemi, and finally, the reason for this post, Camilla Lackberg.

I’m a huge fan of the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson. It always makes me sad that he died before they took off the way that they did. I didn’t think that anyone would come close to the twisted tale of murder and sexual deviousness that Larsson created.

But that was before I read any of Camilla Lackberg’s work. Take a look at her author’s photo and you would never suspect that she is capable of the kind of plots that she comes up with.

The book we’re talking about here is The Ice Princess. Erica Falck returns to the small town of Fjallbacka  (which is a real place and so pretty!) after the death of her parents. She is trying to put her life back together when the body of Alex Wijkner, her childhood friend, is found frozen in her bathtub with her wrists sliced open. Initially the police assume that it was suicide but soon other clues surface that point to a much more sinister occurrence. After speaking with Alex’s parents Erica, a writer, decides to dig a little deeper and tell the story of the real Alex as a sort of tribute.

Even I wasn’t prepared for what she finds! Lackberg is twisted! I don’t know what they put in the water in Sweden but these Swedish authors come up with the most warped and crazy plot twists, usually sexual. I couldn’t stop reading this book. I was thrilled to discover that The Ice Princess was the first in a trilogy – the next bookThe Preacher is currently sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to crack it.

One thing that I really struggled with in the Millennium series was the tendency to refer to everyone by their (very similar sounding) last names. Lackberg doesn’t do this and it’s such a relief! Both series are wonderfully Swedish though – referring often to Swedish coffee drinking habits, cooking traditions and trips to Swedish neighborhoods and stores. If I’m honest, this is one of my favourite things about the books. They really are a window into another kind of life – even though I’m sure that most Swedish lives do not involve murder and perverse sexual relationships.

I’m telling everyone I know about Camilla Lackberg. I might be obsessed. I saw The Preacher in a bookstore last week and put down an Agatha Christie I had in my hand so that I could purchase it instead. I chose Lackberg over Christie! I’m too far gone.