The Ice Princess is set in a small Swedish town, Fjallbacka and is the first in a series of books featuring Erica Falck and Patrik Hedstrom. It was actually published in 2003 in the UK and I ended up reading it because it was free on iBooks (yes, I know, I’m cheap but I can’t resist a free book). I’m really glad I did, though one free book may end up costing me quite a bit as I now try and catch up with what I think are another 10 books in the series!
Erica is a biographer. She has returned to her childhood home following the death of her parents and is using the excuse of clearing out their house to avoid writing her next book. Her writers block ends with the death of Alex, her childhood best friend who had moved away when they were teens and she hadn’t seen or heard from her again. Alex is found with her wrists slit in a bath of frozen water and her death is pronounced a suicide.
Erica begins writing a book based on her friends life, talking to her family and friends and bringing back a lot of memories of her own relationship with Alex. As she does, she starts to uncover secrets and find the questions she asks raise more questions. Then Alex’s death is pronounced a murder and Erica finds herself involved in the investigation…and with the detective investigating the murder, Patrick.
This was a much milder books than some of the other Scandinavian crime novels I’ve read (I’m thinking mainly of Jo Nesbo here but there are others). Fjallbacka is a lot less seedy than Oslo and Alex’s is the only murder, making this what I would consider more of an old school crime novel. It wasn’t gory and the characters weren’t too damaged. I liked it for all these reasons. Plus, it is well written with a good pace and the characters are well rounded, especially for a first novel. It will be interesting to see how they progress as I begin to play catch up but, for anyone else who has missed this author, well worth a read.
Author: Jo Nesbo
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: Liked it a Little (3 out of 5)
In Police, a killer is targeting police, killing them at the scene of unsolved murders they were involved in investigating. The police don’t have a clue so a small task force is set up to try and look at things from different angles. It was an idea developed by Harry Hole, former Oslo police detective.
As a detective, Harry was a brilliant mess. A drunk, a drug addict, unreliable and unpredictable but with an ability to figure out just who the bad guys were. Now, he is a lecturer at the police academy and clean and sober, with no desire to “get back in the game”. Despite that, the task force – which is made up of members of his former team – keep asking. And he keeps saying no…until the death of one of them leaves him with no choice. Especially, when it starts to look like the cop killer is a cop.
It probably won’t be a surprise to say Harry figures it out in the end, after putting himself and those close to him in danger (it wouldn’t be a Harry Hole story without it). Some of his leaps are a bit suspect and the fact that no one else on his team makes them before him can sometimes feel like a stretch but the stories move at such a pace and with such twists and turns that I, at least, was forgiving.
One of the reasons is because I’ve read all the Harry Hole novels and come to like him as a character, although I must admit to also having gotten a little bored with him. By making him a lecturer and sober, I think Jo Nesbo might be too and maybe trying to mix thing up a bit. I’ve also dislike just how bloody the books have got. This, though, wasn’t as gory as the last few which I preferred.
I would recommend Nesbo to anyone who enjoys crime fiction. For those new to Nesbo, though, this is not the place to start. There is too much back story. Too many relationships and animosities already in place to make sense of those. You definitely need to go back to the beginning.
Title: Death of a Demon
Author: Anne Holt
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
What is it About?
Olav is an obese boy of 12 or so who is moved into a children’s home after continuous problems at home. He is not a pleasant child, scaring the other children and rebelling against the strict rules of the homes Director, Agnes Vestavik. Not long after Agnes stops Olav eating outside of set mealtimes, she is found dead, av kitchen knife in her back, and Olav goes missing. Enter Hanne Wilhelmsen, newly promoted Superintendent in Oslo police, who thinks she will find the killer amongst the orphanage staff and that Olav’s disappearance is a result of his having seen the murderer not anything else and passes his case to another team.
What did I think?
This is the third in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series of books, but the fourth that I have read as they have been printed out-of-order. The first I read was 1222, which I thought was excellent. Since then, I have read the first and second novels (in order) The Blind Goddess and Blessed are Those that Thirst. Both were good, with tight plot lines and a compelling central character. I expected, therefore, good things from Death of the Demon. Not necessarily great, but good. I was sorely disappointed.
Title: The Son
Author: Jo Nesbo
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
What it is About?
Sonny Loftus has been in prison for 12 years. He is a heroin addict, convicted murderer, and model prisoner. Other inmates confess their crimes to him, convinced he can absolve them of their sins. There is something about him that gains their trust. Then, one day, a prisoner confesses a sin Sonny can’t ignore. It is to do with the death of his father, a disgraced policeman who committed suicide. To find the truth, and punish those responsible for his father’s death, Sonny breaks out of prison and begins hunting down the guilty.
Simon Kefas is a detective in Oslo police not long from retirement. He is known as an honest, dogged, cop who could have risen higher if he’d just played the game. He is also a former gambler and former best friend of Sonny’s dad. When Sonny’s crime spree starts, Simon sees the link before anyone else. The question is whether he will uphold the law or try to save Sonny.
Title: Sebastian Bergman
Author: Michael Hjor
Rating: 4 out of 5
What is it about?
Sebastian Bergman is a psychologist who used to be a criminal profiler for Riksmord, Sweden’s national police murder investigation team. After tragically loosing his wife and daughter he has withdrawn from the world, entering it only to speak to his therapist or feed his sex addiction. The death of his estranged mother takes him out of his comfort zone and back to his childhood hometown. There, he discovers a secret hidden for 30 years and one he feels he has to dig deeper into. The only way to do this is to find a way into Rikmond’s investigation into the murder of 16 year old Roger Eriksson. Thankfully, the investigation is being led by his old friend and colleague Torkel and he persuades him to let him help. Sebastian plans to get the information he needs and get out. Despite himself, however, he finds himself intrigued and then involved. He wants to find out the truth. It is a challenge he can’t turn away from.
What did I think?