16 August 2015

Review #301: The Drowning (Fjällbacka #6) by Camilla Läckberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Knowing that you're crazy doesn't make the crazy things stop happening.” 

----Mark Vonnegut, an American pediatrician and memoirist

Camilla Läckberg, an international bestselling Swedish author, has penned yet another bone-chilling thriller, The Drowning in the Fjällbacka/ Patrik Hedström series, and this book is the sixth in the series. This story revolves around a debut author when he publishes his book, followed by threatening letters and that also jeopardized the lives of people in his whole social circle around him. Meanwhile another bestseller author is pinning hard for the unspoken past of this debut author that finally leads her to an adventurous as well as captivating journey through some cities of Sweden.


Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?

When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…

Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.

But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed.

The moment Christian Thydell's debut book, The Mermaid is launched, the gravity of his whole world shifted rather say got worse. He started receiving threatening letters addressed to his name. Although all this started happening a year ago and few months ago, his only closes friend, Magnus, was reported missing by his wife, and now after the book's launch, his dead body that turned into ice was discovered. Followed by attacks on Christian's two of his friends, Kenneth and Erik, who too started receiving letters. Meanwhile, Erika Falck, another best-selling author cum Christian's mentor turned friend, is trying hard to figure out the strange connection between all four men, thus embarking on a journey to Christian's unspoken past which he kept so buried deep in his mind, that he is sure nothing can ever touch him. Erika's husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, is sure that whoever is targeting Christian and his friends and family must be someone who is out for revenge, only if the suspect left any clue on his/her wake or any slight reason as to why, but for that he needs to dig deeper into the closet of Christian's past skeletons.

The book held me from the very first chapter and let me go on the very last line of the book, although I must say, the book ended with a bang(I mean literally! )- a cliffhanger hinting to the nest book in the series. The book opens bit slow and all the while it seems like there's no point of stretching such a good story for so long by withholding the secret which finally became very obvious midway through the story. Anyhow, what allured me to stick to this book is the way the author narrates the whole story, bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece in a forward motion, where there were no wrong turns to mislead me into another theory of what has actually happened in Christian's past.

The writing style is flawless, with a captivating narrative style. The prose is evocative since most of the time it brings up the past despite of the clean slate kind of situation. The importance of having family is closely observed in this story thus leaving the readers with a feeling of longing for their families. Moreover, the author captures so as to what happens when a foster kid is adopted and soon the family gets pregnant with their own child, how that foster child loses the identity, how kids must be handled while they are growing up, and how some decisions of adults can actually ruin the fate of a child, all these themes are delicately depicted through this story.

The mystery doesn't play any games with the minds of readers, yet the author takes a lot of time to unravel her mystery, by giving each and every character a proper presence in this mystery, I mean it's like every one adds up to this mystery. The atmosphere that the author sets in with this story is one of which i9s thick in suspense and gives a chilling feeling while reading it and of evil, since the best part of this story is the careful postmortem of darkness underlying in the human souls.

The characters are strongly developed, with lots of back story so that the readers are able to contemplate with each and every one of her characters in this book. The demeanor reflected in each people of this small city in Sweden is impressive, where all the four families have their own story to tell. The main characters are developed with the pace of the mystery. The author here simply played with the minds of the readers in her own way, thus reproducing a brilliant masterpiece. And I promise, there are some characters in the book which are going to stay with you long after the end of the story.

Erica is the most striking character in the book, who despite being heavily pregnant with twins, she snoops around Christian's past to find out the mystery, despite her detective husband is working hard to make sure he puts every piece of puzzle together. But in spite of her nosiness, Erica is charming, strong and determined lady who ultimately is the one who guides her husband to catch the right track to find our about the missing link to Christian's past.

The author gives a vivid picture of Fjällbacka, where the story is set, given the fact that the descriptions in the book are very detailed and with such intricacy the plot has been laid out, that it feels like the reader is himself watching out the crime scenes unfolding right in front of his eyes. Moreover, the author strikingly captures the cold and the gray backdrop of yet another amazing city in the world, Fjällbacka, that comes alive with the story.

Since this is the second book that I read in this series, the first being not so memorable for me, but surprisingly this book stands out in the mellow, which being bit long still maintains that old charm of being intriguing and intense both at the same time.

Verdict: Crime fiction fans will love to read this book and watch out for this terrific writer.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this book, in return for an honest review. 

Author Info:
Born in 1974, Camilla Läckberg graduated from Gothenburg University of Economics, before moving to Stockholm where she worked for a few years as an economist. However, a course in creative crime writing became the trigger to a drastic change of career. Her first four novels all became Swedish bestsellers. Läckberg's books are always set in or around her birthplace, the small Swedish west coast town of Fjällbacka.
She lives in a suburb of Stockholm, with her husband Martin and her three children.  

Visit her here

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