Thursday 19 July 2012

The Frozen North – 2: Camilla Läckberg from Sweden

Welcome to part 2 of The Frozen North, my discovery of thriller writers from Scandinavia. After the cold and calculated thriller Headhunters by Jo Nesbo from Norway, I’m now moving on to Sweden.

Camilla Läckberg is a bestselling writer of contemporary psychological thrillers. Her series about detective Patrik Hedström and crime writer Erica Falck have been a worldwide success, and rightfully so. To get a taste of her writing, I read The Drowning which was originally published in Swedish in 2008 and was made available in English in 2012.

Contrary to Jo Nesbo, Camilla Läckberg’s work is anything but cold and calculated. The stories are gruesome, breathtaking and horrible, but she tells them with so much feeling and compassion for her characters that you cannot stop yourself from feeling for them. The story grabs you from the very first page and sucks you into a web of intrigue.

The main difference with Jo Nesbo, besides Läckberg’s emphatic style, is the fact that we get to see the story from different points of view. We are not running away from something or trying to find a killer. Instead, we are next to the characters as they discover the details of the plot. A few times, they discover something that they are not sharing with the readers, which is very frustrating, but it keeps you glued to the pages for longer than you would like, cutting into precious sleeping time because you simply cannot get yourself to put the book down.

The story and the style remind me of the work of British writing duo Nicci French and American bestseller Karin Slaughter. I’ve enjoyed their thrillers very much and I passed just as many thrilling moments with Camilla Läckberg’s gripping story. I’m absolutely planning to read more of her work and if this type of thriller is your cup of tea, I suggest that you do the same!

Camilla Läckberg
Picture courtesy of

The Drowning tells the story of Christian Thydell, an aspiring writer whose debut novel has just been published to raving reviews, making him a bestselling author and a celebrity overnight. Crime writer Erica Falck, who can be credited for discovering Christian’s talent and encouraging him to write, discovers that he had been receiving anonymous threats. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she starts digging into Christian’s obscure past to find out who would want to harm him.

At the same time, Erica’s husband Patrik is still investigating the disappearance of one of Christian’s closest friends. Is his investigation in some way linked to the threats that Christian is receiving? Why does everyone involved seem so very reluctant to speak to the police? And who else is in danger?

Find out more about Camilla, her hair-raising thrillers and her childhood hometown Fjällbacka in Sweden where all of her murder stories take place, by visiting On the site, don’t forget to visit Crime School, Camilla’s very own pages filled with tips and exercises for people who want to write murder thrillers – very inspiring!
So, which thriller writer from The Frozen North should I read next?

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