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The Ice Princess: A Novel

The Ice Princess - Camilla Läckberg, Steven T. Murray I've been meaning to read some Swedish novels. My grandparents were Swedish, so I love and am familiar with the culture/country. And I know that their crime fiction is currently experiencing a bit of a sensation in the US. I suspect that I picked the wrong novel to begin with, but it wasn't all bad - just very mixed.

This book tells the story of Erica, a writer of biographies. She is living in her childhood home, going through the effects of her recently deceased parents. When she finds her childhood best friend, Alex, murdered, she finds herself drawn into the web of secrets surrounding the small coastal town.

It's a decent premise, if not the most original. I had two basic problems with the plot:

1. The writer is fond of withholding information. For instance, Erica will find a piece of paper balled up in the trash, read it, and then neglect to tell us what she had found out for a hundred pages. This happens several times.

2. Both the heroine and the romance (with Patrik, a young detective) seemed to have been transported into the book from some sort of chick-lit novel. Erica repeated mentions her dieting and weight watcher points, and everything about her appearance is a cliche (the men loves her curves, but she diets due to low self esteem etc). The dating scenes appear to have come from an entirely different book.

I didn't solve the mystery early, mostly due to the withheld information. The resolution was satisfying enough. There are several characters in the book (no spoilers) who seem to exist merely to be evil in a cartoony way, surprising in a book that takes such pains to reveal the inner workings of its characters.

I guess I wanted something darker, and this wasn't it. Having said that, I would recommend this for someone who likes Swedish thrillers, but feels they are all a bit dark or grim. There is certainly a place for this book, and I would recommend it with the caveats above.