BOOK REVIEW: THE DROWNING BY CAMILA LACKBERG

THE DROWNING

GENERAL INFORMATION

TITLE: THE DROWNING

AUTHOR: CAMILA LACKBERG

PAGES: 489

PUBLISHER: HARPER COLLINS  

YEAR: 2008

GENRE: CRIME FICTION

COVER TYPE: HARD BACK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drowning_(book)

www.camillalackberg.com

BLURB FROM THE BACK COVER

‘You know you can’t escape. I’m inside your heart, and that’s why you can never hide, no matter where in the world you may go’.

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 threat, she investigates not just the messages, but the author’s mysterious past.

Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrick Hedstrom, 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?  

OVERALL IMPRESSION

I thought The Drowning was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lackberg is another name to add to my rather long list of must-read authors. I’m even more impressed by the fact the novel is translated. The Drowning ticks all the boxes for great crime fiction.

HIGHLIGHTS  

I thought The Drowning was a great title for the novel. It’s a rather obscure title that doesn’t have an obvious connection to the novel until you get all the old brain cogs working. Titles are important to me. The title is the reason I picked this up in the library.

The Drowning is exceptionally well written. Lackberg is a skilled writer. Or at least the translator is. How does that work exactly? It’s almost 11pm and I don’t want to hurt my brain by thinking about it too much. The quality of the writing is excellent. The descriptions are good.

Lackberg does a great job of creating flawed, human and instantly sympathetic characters. As the storyline builds Lackberg gradually reveals that there are some very nasty characters in The Drowning. She makes everyone seem to real and human.

The Drowning is almost 500 pages long. It felt much thinner. I think the pacing of The Drowning is perfect. It didn’t feel rushed or sluggish. I raced through the last 150 pages or so.

The Drowning is set in Fjällbacka, the coastal village in Sweden where Lackberg was born and raised. Lackberg does a great job of bringing the village to vivid life. Although the novel is set I a foreign country, Lackberg is able to make the village seem familiar. I got a real sense of place in The Drowning.

Lackberg uses an unusual narrative technique in The Drowning known as ‘story within a story’ by including extracts from Christian’s novel, The Mermaid. Lackberg reveals at the end his novel is autographical so these ‘extracts’ are actually fragments of back story. They’re spaced out across the novel and only a few pages long. I thought they worked really well.

I had no idea who was sending Christian and his friends the letters and killing them off until Lackberg reveals this almost at the end of The Drowning. I had a theory about who it was but was way off the mark. I was impressed. I hate it when I’ve worked out what’s going on by the end of chapter 5.

LOWLIGHTS 

I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about The Drowning.

THE OPENING LINE 

He had known that sooner or later it would come to light again…  

FINAL THOUGHTS

I picked up The Drowning at random when I was browsing the library. They have a big promotion at the moment for foreign crime fiction and the front cover and title of The Drowning caught my eye. I want to read more of Lackberg’s work. The Drowning is great, just great.  

RATING

5 STAR

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