Scandinavian Crime: Review Of The Hidden Child By Camilla Läckberg

Camilla Läckberg is a Swedish crime novelist and equivalent of James Patterson (in sales volume) in Scandinavia. A common theme in Läckberg’s oeuvre is that all are traditionally set in or around her birthplace, the small Swedish west coast town of Fjällbacka (Fjällbacka means ‘mountain hill’ because the village is situated near the huge stone cliff). Having all her novels as # 1 bestsellers in Sweden and being translated into 33 languages, Camilla is currently the most profitable native author in Swedish history, beating even Stieg Larsson.

In Hidden Child, crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal among her late mother’s possessions. Haunted by a childhood of neglect, she resolves to dig deep into her family’s past and finally uncover the reasons why. Her enquiries lead her to the home of a retired history teacher. He was among her mother’s circle of friends during the Second World War but her questions are met with bizarre and evasive answers. Two days later he is murdered in a violent manner. Detective Patrik Hedstrom, Erica’s husband, is on paternity leave but soon becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. Reluctantly Erica must read her mother’s wartime diaries. But within the pages is a painful revelation about Erica’s past.

I found this book a very absorbing thriller. Compared to other contemporary authors from Sweden like Mankell, Camilla is not that strong in character development. However she has a great talent in shaping an appealing plot and is a good story-teller. She mixes her story with some of the current social challenges in Scandinavia and describes the mentality of today’s neo-Nazis in these countries pretty well (Note: I know a little about the country having lived there for a while).

The back and forth between the present time and the second world war period seems confusing at times but I understood it was a necessity as historical mysteries are an important part of the book. Overall I think this books deserves some good credit and I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The Amazon link to the book: Hidden Child