Monday 1 August 2011

The Hidden Child - Camilla Lackberg

Erica is a crime writer working from home. Her husband Patrik is a detective currently on paternity leave. They are still trying to find a balance to their lives when Erica discovers an old Nazi medal among her mothers things. Wanting to know why her mother would have such a thing she takes it to a specialist. A few months later she discovers that the specialist has been murdered. Somehow it's linked to her mother and three friends during the last year of the war. Erica and Patrik set out to investigate with the help of local police.

I have to admit that I wouldn't have picked this up if it wasn't for my book group. Having said that I was still looking forward to it only to be completely disappointed. First of all the language itself is irritating. I don't know if the translation has something to do with it but it was far too simple. It was as almost as if a child had written it because of it's lack of complex sentences.

Like a lot of books these days the reader is inundated by lots of different characters. The trouble is that each character gets to share their point of view and they only get a couple of pages at a time. It felt like that the characters were running into one another for the first half of the book. There was so little depth to them that they were interchangeable. There were characters in there who were getting story lines that had nothing to do with the plot of the book. For example, the police boss gets a dog, meets a new woman, learns Salsa, helps with a baby and is reminded constantly of his 17 year old son. The police boss does nothing for the plot other than to tell everyone to get back to work so all of this is completely unnecessary. This is time that would have been better spent say with Patrik who came across as a very weak character.

Despite all that I did get into the mystery of the book. The language became only a minor irritant by the half way point and the important characters did get more page time. Whilst I was able to predict the end result I still enjoyed that part of it. The idea behind the book was a good one. Although it did feel that the murderer was acting a little out of character when all was revealed (out of character in the fact that he tried to cover it up).

So yes I enjoyed in the end but all was ruined by the last few pages. All these funny coincidences that make all the characters happy grated on my nerves just a little. I don't think I will be reading more by this author. I was surprised when I saw that there were other books with these characters. Nothing could entice me to read more about them. I have to be honest that if it wasn't for my book group I would have given up on it long before the mystery dragged me in.