Carin Gerhardsen’s first novel The Gingerbread House was published in 2008. Since then she has written another five novels in the same series. The quality of the novels has varied, so I did not know what to expect when I started reading the latest one.
A woman is reported missing by her husband. Another woman disappears after a night on the town. The second woman is sending text messages to her friend, but the friend gets suspicions after a grammatical error and contacts the police. Both cases end up with the police in Hammarby. Could it be that both women left voluntarily?
Carin Gerhardsen writes about physical and psychological abuse, women who stay in destructive relationships, children who are treated poorly and the consequences of not assuming responsibility. As a reader it is difficult not to get engaged. I also think that she has finally found a good balance between the investigation and the personal lives of the police. An extra plus for the cover, which illustrate part of the plot.
Original title in Swedish: Hennes iskalla ögon
As a teenager I enjoyed Ellis Peters’ medieval monastery novels featuring Friar Cadfael. The novels take place in England in the 12th century and they show how important the environment is. The monastery, its dark passageways, and tower rooms as well as the small monastery garden where Cadfael grows herbs were perfect settings for a historical crime fiction nerd like me. Overall I think that the environment is important; it does not matter if it is Britain in the middle ages or a small Swedish town in the 1980s.
Maps in Crime Fiction
I especially remember the maps that were included in the beginning of each novel. Since I had only read a few fantasy books this was fairly new to me and I fully enjoyed it. The ideal scenario would have been if the solution to the murder mystery could have been found with the help of the map – I imagined that I would figure out who the killer was by carefully inspecting it – but unfortunately that never happened.
Crime Fiction Classic
I recently stumbled on the crime fiction classic Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1980) and I realized it was time again – a wonderful map. And maybe, just maybe would I be able to figure out the solution… Never mind that I know how the story ends; I have seen the movie adaptation from 1986 with Christian Slater and Sean Connery. The story takes place in Italy in the 14th century and I have heard that the novel is much better than the movie (which I think is pretty good). The monastery environment is perfect for crime fiction. It remains to be seen when I will actually have time to read Name of the Rose, but since I plan to spend most of the summer reading, I will probably be back with a review.
If you have read Name of the Rose (or any of Ellis Peters’ novels), I would love to hear what you thought of them.
Today, in Sweden, We celebrate the wedding of our Princess Madeleine and her Chris O´Neill.
It made me think about crime novels with Princess in the title. Here are two examples.
Camilla Läckberg – Ice Princess
Sara Blaedel – Call me Princess
In Viveca Sten’s sixth novel about Thomas Andreasson and Nora Linde we get to follow a famous war correspondent as she flees to the hotel at Sandhamn on Christmas Eve. Two days later her dead body is found buried in snow outside the hotel. Did she die from natural causes or was she murdered?
The woman divorced a long time ago and her ex-husband has sole custody of their teenage daughter. Why is that? The police also find material in the woman’s apartment suggesting that she was working on an article about Sweden’s right-wing party, but according to the party’s leaders she has not been in contact with them. Is that really true? While the police are looking for answers another person in the woman’s vicinity dies. Is there a connection?
Hidden in Snow
It is a very suspenseful novel and a sure sign of that is that I made sure my front door was locked while reading it. The author covers current social topics and creates a story that shows that no matter how much you may want to hide some things they have a tendency to surface eventually. She throws in some red herrings but they do not steal focus from the main plot.
I really like Viveca Sten’s writing style and the way she creates plotlines, but I am a little tired of the subplot involving Nora Linde’s personal life that runs through the series.
Original title in Swedish: I farans riktning
Second Wind takes places during Stockholm Marathon where a runner falls down and dies shortly after the start. It does not become clear that it was a murder until a second victim is found dead along the course. Policewoman Emma Sköld is at the race to cheer her sister on, and she quickly gets involved in the investigation. They need to hurry, the killer may be one of the participants and it becomes a race against time. Will they be able to find the killer before more people lose their lives?
It is not entirely true that the entire novel takes place during the race, because some chapters are flashbacks from the past year and it is not surprising that those events are important to the investigation. I cannot help but think about what happened during the Boston Marathon earlier this year, which makes the novel even scarier.
A Novel for the Beach
Second Wind is the fourth novel by Sofie Sarenbrant and the best one so far (I said the same thing about her third novel Rest in Peace). It is fairly obvious that she is inspired by Camilla Läckberg’s way of writing but I do not mind. Sarenbrant continues to evolve as an author and she delivers a straightforward, easy-to-read, entertaining novel that a lot of people no doubt will read this summer.
Inferno is the fourth novel in the series about Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon. This time he finds himself in Florence, Italy, where he is trying to decipher codes related to Dante’s Inferno, in order to avert a global crisis. It is made more difficult by the fact that Langdon suffers from temporary amnesia and he does not know who his real friends and enemies are (neither do we). He is forced to trust Sienna Brooks, a genius doctor who saves his life in the opening scenes. Other main players include a brilliant scientist gone rogue, The World Health Organization, and The Consortium. Flashbacks throughout the novel give us tidbits of information, but not enough to figure out the ending.
It is somewhat ridiculous how Langdon constantly finds miraculous ways to escape, more often than not thanks to secret passage ways. (A recent interview with Dan Brown revealed that his own house has “secret doors and passageways at every turn” and that his office is hidden behind a painting.)
The preface states that “All artwork, literature, science, and historical references in this novel are real.” I find myself wondering if that is actually true, but in the end it does not matter. The novel shines light on a current global issue and the ending is very surprising (and controversial), and it shows that there are no clear solution to some problems. I would not be surprised if a few readers even agree with the villain.
Typical Brown Thriller
The chapters are really short (over 100 chapters in the novel), which allows for a high pace and you keep flipping the pages. Brown’s writing style has been criticized and if nothing else I wish he would drop the use of italicization. However, it does not matter that the novel has some annoying attributes, because the plot kept me going and I bet that you will see a lot of people reading Inferno on their vacation this summer.
We are on the Swedish island Gotland where a two-year-old disappears without a trace from a beauty salon. When another child disappears people become even more terrified. Anders Knutas and the other policemen are back in this eleventh novel in the series. During the course of the series a lot of things have happened to Detective Superintendent Knutas and he is carrying a lot of baggage. Since he is out on sick leave and only working part-time it is Karin Jacobsson who leads the investigation. Anders is divorced and his personal relationship with Karin develops outside the investigation.
I really like Jungstedt’s way of writing and she is skilled at creating exciting plot lines. This novel was good but I am getting a little tired of the characters. I would love it if there was a new novel by Jungstedt with a new set of characters but I do not mind if it takes place on Gotland again. But since this novel ended with a cliffhanger it does not seem likely (at least not anytime soon.)
I had wanted to visit the Newseum for a long time, and on our trip to Washington D.C. in April we finally went. We spent several hours there and that was still not enough time to see all the exhibits. Some of the highlights included the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets, 9/11 Gallery, Berlin Wall Gallery, and (of course) the FBI Exhibit.
The FBI Exhibit
The FBI Exhibit: G-Men and Journalists has more than 200 artifacts — including the Unabomber’s cabin, Patty Hearst’s coat and gun, and engine parts and landing gear from the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center — nearly 300 photographs, dozens of historic newspapers and interactive displays.
There are so many great museums in Washington, D.C. and Newseum is definitely one of them! If you are in the area and have a few hours (or more) to spare I really recommend a visit.
A preschool teacher is shot and killed outside the Jewish Solomon School in Stockholm, Sweden. A few hours later, two ten-year-old Jewish boys disappear on their way to tennis practice. Are these crimes connected? And who is the Paper Boy who keeps appearing in the investigation? A myth or a real person? The investigation leads the investigators to Israel.
Efraim Kiel is in Stockholm at this time. He has come from Jerusalem to help with the recruitment of a new head of security at the Solomon Parish, but he stays in Sweden after they have filled the position. He and Eden Lundell, the head of the Swedish Security Police, have a past together. So she decides to investigate on her own what he is really doing there.
Best Novel So Far
Stars of David is the fifth novel in the series about Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht and it is the best one so far! The suspense is kept high from beginning to end. Kristina Ohlsson is also showing the reader fragments of events that will occur in the future which raises the level of suspense even further.
Kristina Ohlsson has worked at the Swedish Security Service, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Swedish National Defense College, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. You can tell that she uses her experience and knowledge in her writing. Keep it up!
I cannot help but wonder why the title of the book is not The Paper Boy…
Original title in Swedish: Davidsstjärnor
Error Message 404 is a thriller for young adults, and it is openly targeting a younger audience. It is crucial to catch their interest from the get-go and keep it throughout the novel.
The novel includes quite a few clichés, but for many in the target group it will be the first time they encounter them so it is acceptable.
To fully appreciate the novel you should have some interest in technology and at least basic knowledge of computers/programming.
Linn’s dad disappears. Linn starts the search by hacking his computer and she comes in contact with a mysterious young woman who soon turn out to be an artificial intelligence…
If you know a 10-11 year-old that likes technology and computers but hate to read? Then Error Message 404 would be the perfect present!
Translator’s note: This novel is not available in English yet. Original Swedish title: Felkod 404.