Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.
Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past.
Camilla Lackberg has been high on my list of authors I need to read. After discovering I needed to start at the beginning and read the series in order (thanks Chelsea at TheSuspenseisThrillingMe & Abby at CrimeBytheBook 🙂 I was happy I was able to snag this at my local library! The story begins with the discovery of Alex Wijkner’s dead body which is found frozen in her bathtub and at first glance looks to be suicide. Questions about whether it was suicide or murder, however, quickly arise. Writer Erica Falck , who was a childhood friend of Alex and also found her body, is pulled deeper into the mystery of Alex’s death when she is asked by Alex’s parents to write about her life. As she delves deeper into Alex’s past, she begins to realize her childhood friend harbored many secrets.
In the course of her “investigation” Alex runs into another childhood friend, Patrik Hedstrom, who’s now a detective and running the official police investigation into Alex’s death. It seems Patrik had a crush on Erica when they were growing up, and now recently divorced, his interest in her is immediately rekindled and the two begin to share information on Alex’s death. I have to say, I thought Patrik was the most well-developed character in the book. I liked him right away and really hoped his feelings for Erica would be reciprocated. I did, however, wonder about him sharing details of the police investigation with Erica…I’m not convinced a police detective in the real world would do that.
Along with the main storyline of Alex’s death, there were threads of other subplots weaved throughout the story, some relevant and at least one not so much. I thought the subplot involving Erica’s sister Anna actually broke up the narrative flow of the story when it was brought in. The other subplots I found intriguing and wondered how they would end up being tied to the resolution of the mystery. Then, when another person with key ties to Alex’s death is also found dead, things began to get very interesting.
I found myself thoroughly enjoying the set up of the mysteries and the key players, right up until about the halfway mark and then, for me, the pace seemed to slow down and I felt there was quite a bit of extraneous details about the characters personal feelings and emotional states which often left me feeling pretty bored. The ending was somewhat of a disappointment as I had most of the mystery figured out. I also thought the way those who were guilty was revealed was extremely neat and tidy; thorough confessions by the guilty come across as very unrealistic to me. That being said, I’m very interested in seeing where the author takes Patrik in the future so I do plan on picking up the next installment in the series sometime in the near future.