From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. At the start of Läckberg's haunting U.S. debut, the first of her seven novels set in the Swedish coastal town of Fjällbacka, biographer Erica Falck returns home to sort through her deceased parents' belongings and work on her next book. But this is not the same hometown she grew up in. Summer tourists are turning the former fishing village into a thriving resort, and Erica's controlling brother-in-law is pressuring her to cash in by selling the family home. The apparent suicide of childhood friend Alexandra Wijkner contributes to Erica's grief. Once inseparable, they drifted apart before Alex's family abruptly moved away, and Erica feels compelled to write a novel about why the beautiful Alex would kill herself. Läckberg skillfully details how horrific secrets are never completely buried and how silence can kill the soul. A parallel between the town's downward spiral and the fate of one of Fjällbacka's wealthiest families adds texture. (June)
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*Starred Review* Murray, who has translated the works of both Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, adds another Scandinavian crime star to his résumé with this subtle rendering of Lackberg’s debut, a number-one best-seller in Sweden and the winner of France’s 2008 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for Best International Crime Novel. Erica, a thirtysomething biographer struggling with her latest book, deals with her grief over her parents’ untimely death and her mixed feelings about returning to her hometown after years in Stockholm. On a whim, she visits her childhood friend Alex only to find her dead in the bathtub. The grieving parents ask Erica to write an article about Alex for a local newsletter, which forces her to try to make sense of her friend’s life and death. As Erica delves deeper into Alex’s past, she begins to work with a local police officer, Patrik, another childhood friend, and together they uncover secrets that some people would greatly prefer were left secret. Set in winter in the coastal town of Fjallbacka, the novel uses the off-season quiet in the small village—many of the houses are empty—to create a chilling atmosphere in which silence drives suspense. This excellent thriller is a must-read for fans of Scandinavian crime literature and will especially appeal to those who enjoy Asa Larsson’s Rebecka Martinsson novels, as Rebecka and Erica are of a similar age and both return to the remote villages of their childhoods. --Jessica Moyer