If you just started following me, then I must bring you up to speed. I love reading, and thrillers are my favorite genre, Nordic Noir being my absolute favorite sub-genre. In case you are not familiar with the term, Nordic Noir refers to thrillers that are set in Scandinavian countries, or Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.
I started this Author Spotlight series back in April, but this is only my second article in the series. Life got in the way, as usual, but here we are now with one of my all-time favorite Scandinavian writers, Camilla Lackberg. The first installment in the series featured a more understated author, Stefan Ahnhem, who deserves more praise than he gets.
Author Spotlight: Stefan Ahnheim
After reading the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson, I started researching other writers from Scandinavian countries. While doing that, I found out about a new author at the time, Camilla Lackberg. Her first thriller in the Patrik Hedstrom series was translated into English and it was available in 2010 here in Canada.
The series contains ten books, and I absolutely loved every single one of them. The second series, Faye’s Revenge, started in 2020. Knowing and loving her writing style that I’ve absolutely devoured for a decade left me a bit disappointed.
The Golden Cage, the first installment in this series, is followed by Silver Tears. I could not connect with the characters of these books. It’s probably because I’ve grown accustomed to Erica and Patrick from the Fjallbacka series.
She also wrote a couple of shorter novellas, but I haven’t read any of them yet, so I can’t comment on that. Her newer release, Trapped, is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I’m really hoping the Camilla Lackberg I know and love is back.
Fjallbacka Series in Order
What I particularly like about this series is Erica and Patrik’s personal lives, and how their relationship progresses with each book. If you like a storyline that gets a little personal on top of being a thriller, then you might enjoy this series. The Swedish atmospheric setting plus a colorful set of characters is what might draw you in.
The Ice Princess
This first book in the Fjallbacka series starts off with the death of one of Erica Falck’s former childhood friends. Back in her hometown after the death of her parents, Erica, a crime writer, decided to write a book about the events surrounding her friend’s tragic death. While researching for her book, she meets local detective Patrik Hedstrom, and they immediately hit it off. While investigating the murder, they uncover the deeply disturbing past the small town is trying to keep under wraps.
The second in the series, The Preacher starts off with the murder of a young woman that a young boy stumbled on. Erica and Patrik are soon to be parents of a daughter, but they are caught up in the investigation of the recently found body. While working on the murder the team discovers skeletons of two bodies that disappeared decades ago, plus another young girl disappears. They have their hands full, but the original suspect committed suicide twenty-four years before the present day.
The third book in the series features the death of a young girl that was found in a fisherman’s net. While it seems like a tragic accident, it is clear that this was not a drowning, but rather a gruesome murder. As a new father of a girl himself, Patrik Hedstrom has a hard time solving the murder of a young child both he and Erica knew well. The town’s idyllic facade is threatened to crumble once they discover who is behind this murder.
The Gallows Bird/ The Stranger
When I read this book back in 2011, it was published under The Gallows Bird title. But a newer version is published under The Stranger, in case you can’t find the original version. This time, a woman is killed in a car crash. But is it a simple accident, or is there something sinister behind it? Another murder occurs after a drunken party for a new tv series that starts shooting in Fjallbacka. Patrik, along with his curious investigative wife Erica, find themselves in the middle of one of the most challenging cases yet.
The Hidden Child
In this fifth book of the series, crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal while cleaning out her late mother’s possessions. Her inquiries lead her to the home of one of her mother’s old friends, a retired history teacher. Then, two days later, he is killed in a violent way. Erica’s husband, Patrik comes back from paternity leave in order to solve this brutal murder. By trying to find answers to her past, did Erica just endanger her husband and newborn daughter with her inquiries?
In the Drowning, the sixth book in the series, Erica’s understudy and new author Christian Thydell starts receiving anonymous threats. Then his friend Magnus goes missing, and Patrik starts investigating the new case. Christian’s close circle of friends which consists of four young men are all hiding something, but will they finally come clean in order to save their friend? Or is the truth so horrible they’d rather keep it buried?
The Lost Boy
In this seventh novel, Lackberg touches on a sensitive subject: what a mother would do in order to protect her only child. When financial director Mats Sverin, a man liked but one that not many knew, is killed, would his high school sweetheart Natalie shed some light on this investigation? She has stuff she’d like to keep hidden and would do anything to protect her five-year-old son. How will Patrik manage to solve this murder if everyone is keeping secrets?
In Easter 1974 a whole family, except for one-year-old Ebba, disappears. Years later Ebba and her husband Tobias return to the island of Valo where she reopens a B&B on the site where her father had a boarding school. Having recently lost their three-year-old boy, they hope a fresh start will help them overcome their grief. But they don’t even get the chance to settle in properly and are the victims of attempted arson. Who is trying to keep Erica and Patrik from finding the truth?
The Ice Child
In the ninth book of this series, Erica stumbles on a link to an old murder case that might be relevant to Patrik’s current case. A girl wanders through the woods semi-naked, in the freezing January weather. See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil. Victoria Hallberg, along with three other missing girls, went missing four months prior and was subjected to some brutal treatment. What horrors will Patrik uncover while investigating these mysteries?
The Girl In the Woods
In this last installment of the Fjallbacka series, Patrik and Erica got their work cut out for them. A missing four-year-old girl disappears from the same spot another young girl went missing thirty years earlier. Back then, two teen girls were found guilty of the murder of that little girl. Now, one of those two girls is a famous actress, and she returns to Fjallbacka just as the new disappearance occurs. Is it a coincidence, or did the murderer walk away free back then? Alongside his wife Erica, Patrik tries to solve this last case.
The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories
A collection of short stories set in Fjallbacka told with the same distinctive voice. This collection includes The Scent of Almonds, An Elegant Death, Dreaming of Elisabeth, and The Widow’s Cafe. I bought this collection on my Kobo but did not get to read it yet. I will surely give my thoughts once I’ve completed the reading.
This new series by Lackberg is written in a totally different direction from the Fjallbacka series. The main character, Faye, is a businesswoman who is fierce and would do anything to protect her daughter.
Although the premise seems great, I just did not connect with the characters. You should still give the two books a try. Just because they didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean you won’t like them. Many reviewers loved them, you might want to give them a chance too.
The Golden Cage/ The Gilded Cage
A sexy psychological thriller that is about a scorned wife who seeks revenge on her cheating husband.
In the second installment of this series, Faye is forced to face the hard truth about her past.
A first in a new series, Detective Mina Dabiri and celebrity mentalist Vincent Walter get together to try and solve a murder. The killer manages to kill three more victims before the team finally gets time on their side.
These are the books by author Camilla Lackberg, which I love very much. She is one of my favorite Nordic Noir authors. Although I read most of her books, there are still a couple of them I need to get to. Have you read any books by her? If you haven’t yet and would like to get into the Nordic Noir sub-genre, she’s a good place to start.
Until next time, keep reading fellow bookworms.
Note: Pictures that are not my own are from Amazon.