The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, translated by Steven T Murray
The first book in the Patrik Hedstrom series
Plot Summary : The writer Erica Falck has returned to her home town on the death of her parents, but discovers the community in turmoil. A close childhood friend, Alex, has been found dead. Her wrists have been slashed, and her body is frozen solid in a bath that has turned to ice. Erica decides to write a memoir about the charismatic but withdrawn Alex, more as a means of overcoming her own writer’s block than solving the mystery of Alex’s death. But Erica finds that her interest in Alex is becoming almost obsessive. She begins to work with local detective Patrik Hedstrom, and the duo soon find that some unpleasant secrets are buried beneath the comfortable surface of the town. (Source: Fantastic Fiction)
Review: I was not impressed by this book. Amateur night all the way.
There is so much is wrong with this book; I will put my most annoyed observations as dot points.
- Firstly, there is the annoying internal dialogue in italics that is supposed to act like a red herring, we are supposed to think it is the killer talking while he looks at the dead and frozen body in the bathtub, but is actually Anders. Ugh. Spare me. Not only because the dialogue is so creepy and unnatural, but because I knew almost immediately it wasn’t the killer.
- The device of using a writer to do detective work did not work. So, we are supposed to believe that a grieving family asks an old friend and writer whom they haven’t seen in 20 years, on her first visit to them after Alex’s death, to write a book about her. Then this “writer” starts doing her own private eye work, like going to the victim’s home at night, looking around, and getting disturbed by another intruder. Wot? This is a possible crime scene! And what the hell? Would you go to someone’s home that had just died, at night, to look around? Or, how about looking in Nelly’s wastepaper basket to discover a rumpled page of her will saying her money is going to Julia? Could not suspend credibility that far. No. Just no. Doesn’t work.
- Then there are the clues that Patrick or Erica find but never tell the reader. Supposed to heighten suspense? Irritating as all get out.
- Appallingly, this female writer writes her female characters like cardboard stereotypes. Sexy and scheming, bitchy and controlling, domineering, bitter, overprotective, weak, abused, victim or victimizer. Ugh. What is the matter with this picture? There is not a complex woman in the book. Alex is the most interesting character and she’s dead. No, I take it back, she was pretty boring too.
- Her men don’t come off much better. The incompetent police chief, the smart, nice cop who actually solves the case, and then, three, count them, three psychopaths. Lucas, bully and wife beater. Then there are Nils and Jan; imagine, two psychopaths in one family! All so cardboard and predictable. And Nelly, walking around protecting these sickos, her creepy boys, because she is a rich dowager and that’s what rich dowagers do?
- And do I have to mention the love affair between Patrick and Erica. Stop, just stop. Please stop. “Bingo phase”? “5 in a row”. Euuuwwwww.
- The writing is so bad. Achingly bad.
So, two stars from me. Why? Because I love dead bodies found in baths under suspicious circumstances.
But I won’t be recommending it to anyone.
Reviewed by: Wendy