TITLE: THE HIDDEN CHILD
AUTHOR: CAMILLA LACKBERG
PUBLISHER: HARPER COLLINS
GENRE: CRIME FICTION
COVER TYPE: PAPER BACK
BLURB FROM THE BACK COVER
Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover an old Nazi medal amongst her late mother’s belongings. Inspired to dig deeper into her past, she visits a retired history teacher for answers. Two days later he’s dead.
Detective Patrick Hedstrom is on paternity leave. But his wife’s enquiries appear to have set off a chain of murders and he’s finding it hard to keep out of the investigation.
A terrible secret from the darkest days of World War II is coming to light – and their families’ histories are right at the heart of it.
THE OPENING LINE
In the stillness of the room the only sound was from the flies.
The Hidden Child is the best Lackberg novel I’ve read so far. It seems much more story driven that The Drowning and The Stranger and the action is toned down a bit. This made it a much more satisfying read. I thought it was great.
I continue to be impressed by Lackberg’s skill as a writer. I felt The Hidden Child flowed perfectly. The style of writing was spot on. The language used in The Hidden Child was simple but powerful. I found Lackberg’s writing very effective.
I liked the structure of The Hidden Child. The chapters varied in length and include different scenes from the multiple story threads. This meant I was only drip fed the information and was compelled to read on to read the next thread and the next and so on. Other writers have a horrible habit of chucking everything at the reader in one sweep. I like the way Lackberg slowly lures you in. She uses this structure in all of the novels I’ve read so far but I felt it was very effective in The Hidden Child. There are also numerous flashbacks to 1945 and the life of Erica’s mother, her illegitimate pregnancy and a terrible murder that haunted everyone involved for 60 years. I thought this was an effective way of introducing backstory.
The characterisation in The Hidden Child was spot on. I got a better sense of the main characters, Erica and Patrick after 3 novels and grew too really like them. The villains were also really well drawn, human characters. At no point did Lackberg resort to caricatures.
The Hidden Child is just over 500 pages long. Like The Drowning and The Stranger it felt much thinner. I think the pacing of The Hidden Child is perfect. It didn’t feel rushed or sluggish. I wasn’t bored, not once.
The Hidden Child is also set in Tanumshede; a village in Fjällbacka in Sweden. The three novels I’ve read are set there so I assume they all are. Lackberg does a great job of bringing the village to vivid life. Although the novel is set in a foreign country, Lackberg is able to make the village seem familiar. I got a real sense of place in The Hidden Child.
Once again Lackberg fooled me. I had a theory about who the killer was and I was way off the mark. I did work out fairly early on that Erica’s mother had an illegitimate child who’d been adopted. I also felt pretty sure the father had been murdered and that the money a dead man had been sending to someone for 50 years had some connection. I just didn’t know how it all connected. Lackberg took me by surprise. I’m impressed. I hate it when crime writers make it all obvious. I was a fan of James Patterson for years until his novels became tedious and predictable.
The Hidden Child deals with Nazism and Neo-Nazism. These are quite controversial subject and nothing I’ve really come across in fiction. The exception is the brilliant The Book Thief by Markus Zusak I read and loved recently. I enjoyed reading about these events even though I was shocked at the beliefs of some of the characters.
I liked the title, The Hidden Child but I thought it gave away too many plot details. Towards the end of World War II, a sixteen year old girl falls pregnant to the son of a brutal SS soldier. The child is given up for adoption, effectively ‘hidden’. The title is allegedly inspired by The Hidden Child Foundation which is a charity for Holocaust survivors.
I picked The Hidden Child up in the library because I’ve become a fan of Lackberg recently. The Hidden Child follows directly on from the last one I read, The Stranger. The Nazi medal and blood stained shirt Erica finds in her mother’s belongings were found at the end of The Stranger. I’ve discovered a great new author.