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The Hidden Child: A Novel Hardcover – May 15, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 461 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Long troubled by her late mother’s coldness toward her two daughters, writer Erica Falck begins to read her mother, Elsy’s, teenage diaries. She also discovers a Nazi war medal with the diaries and asks a retired history teacher to examine it. Within days, the teacher is bludgeoned to death. Then Britta, Elsy’s closest friend as a teenager, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is also murdered. Through the diaries, Erica intuits that the solution to the mystery is rooted in events that took place during WWII. Once again, Läckberg (The Stonecutter, 2012) employs Swedish history and her setting, Fjallbacka, the postcard-pretty village where Falck grew up, to craft an engaging tale that spans three generations of Fjallbackians. The author goes deep into the lives of a very large cast of characters, and some crime lovers might balk at a 520-plus–page novel that is almost half family saga. But taken as a whole, The Hidden Child will keep fans of Swedish crime guessing until the final pages. --Thomas Gaughan


“There should be a better word for a mystery that runs on for 500-plus pages, stuffed with multigenerational back stories for key characters and detailed subplots about the domestic affairs of the married sleuths, their friends, colleagues and former spouses. How about calling it a historical-biographical-romantic-domestic-police-procedural-crime-and-love saga? Intriguing. Lackberg has whipped up a respectable plot.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Of all the mini-Larssons who have arrived on these shores since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden's Camilla Läckberg may be the best – more engaging than Henning Mankell, never as shrill or melodramatic as Jo Nesbo, as tight a plotter as Jussi Adler-Olsen. This is another terrific read.” (USA TODAY)

“If Camilla keeps producing mysteries as richly textured and downright breathtaking as her latest, who knows? Maybe, one day, we might be identifying Agatha Christie as ‘the British Camilla Läckberg.” (Maureen Corrigan - NPR)

“Of consistently high quality, well-plotted, carefully translated and well written. Highly recommended.” (Midwest Book Review)

“Well-plotted, carefully translated and well written. Highly recommended.” (Crimespree Magazine)

“Excellent. Horrific secrets come to light as the author skillfully shows how the past has influenced recent events.” (Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW)

“Fire and ice! Masterful suspense as compelling as secrets lying far beneath the dark sea. Läckberg is the perfect crime novelist who combines her gift for intriguingly complicated plots and a keen understanding of the ‘grotesques’ who live among us. Erotic and terrifying.” (Ann Rule, author of In The Still of the Night)

“One of those mysteries that ruin a vacation. Take it to the beach and your eyes will be so locked on its pages, you’ll never even know there’s an ocean in front of you.” (The Washington Post)

“Eerie. Läckberg will keep you guessing.” (People Magazine)

“What could be darker than Nordic crime fiction? Nordic noir with Nazi war criminals!… You might want to think twice about reading this at home alone at night.” (New York Post)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus (May 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605985538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605985534
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (461 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a great example of how everyone has unique tastes. I am very much into Scandinavian thrillers and I particularly enjoy authors such as Arnaldur Indridason and Asa Larsson. I found that the story in Hidden Child is written with particular inclination for exploring "human stories" and going off on side subplots. That is fine but to my taste the ratio of murder investigation to the human stories was too low. You will enjoy this book if you want to read about a jaded old detective who finds affection both in a human and a canine companion, about a couple deeply in love and facing the birth of a child, about a detective on paternity leave who can't stay away from work, and about his wife who is a writer that decides to investigate the murder story on her own (it happens to involve her deceased distant mother). You get the idea. I did not like the story but you might.
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Format: Paperback
The same characters appear as in the first book of this series, ICE PRINCESS. Author Erica is now married to policeman Patrick. Since she writes true crime books, she inserts herself into his investigations. Because this is a small Swedish tourist town, with very little crime taking place, she can get away with this. What really intrigues her about this crime though is that it involves her late mother. When Erica discovers her mother's old diaries from the World War II years, she unwittingly sets in motion the unveiling of a past that others of her mother's generation in that town do not want unveiled.

One of the very best characters in this book is one we were all set to despise in the first book, the police chief. This time he adopts a stray dog and begins taking salsa dance lessons. He just about steals the whole book this time around.

This is a much stronger book than the first. I also did not solve the mystery until shortly before the author revealed "who-done-it."

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I had read a lot about Lackberg, her popularity in Sweden, what a great writer she is, the suspenseful stories she writes. This was the first of her books that I have read and I was sorely disappointed. She is a good writer, easy to read and the story moves along. She does a good job developing her characters so they seem to be real people not just cardboard cutouts as in many crime fiction novels. But unfortunately, the suspense was sorely lacking. And about halfway into this very long book, I got quite bored, by the last third I was annoyed.

The book is basically too long. And Lackberg seems to think that the reader cannot remember the facts without regular recaps. In fact, she recaps just about every little detail numerous times. Maybe Swedish readers like really long books and so she felt the need to stretch. But I found it quite irritating and would have preferred to get to the conclusion at least 200 pages earlier.

As for the resolutions to the crimes and questions, there were no surprises here. I am not generally good at figuring who did it. I don't really try, preferring to just enjoy the story. But here, it was all so obvious that it was very disappointing. I really wanted a great surprise ending as a payoff for all the time I had put in to get there.

For those of you who like a real crime whodunnit, look elsewhere. Lackberg's books, and I use the plural because from what I have read this one is representative, are stories about people, around the plot of a crime, rather than real crime and mystery fiction. Although I didn't really expect Lackberg to be as good as Larsson I had hoped she would come a little bit closer. But not by a very long shot.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the 7th book in this Swedish series by Camilla Lackberg that focuses on romantic partners Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck. He is a homicide detective and she is a true crime writer. In this latest novel, the two are married and have a daughter. Erica has been home with her for a year, and now Patrik is taking paternity leave for six months while she writes a book. Needless to say, there are adjustments to be made. This is the first book I've read by this author, and I was struck by how much non-crime material there was; at just over 500 pages, the book feels stuffed with characters and personal stories. I suppose if you've read the first six you are happy to get so much information on what these characters are up to, so I'm not holding that against the author. And I did enjoy all the personal drama -- but there is a lot to keep straight, with minor characters being evoked infrequently enough that several times I was caught thinking -- "Now WHO is that again? Oh! The sister's husband's half daughter's boyfriend!" Yikes. I think there were over 40 named characters! Aside from that, the only thing I didn't enjoy was the mini-cliffhangers that pervade the pages. Stories are told as short doses of each character -- a page or two that then jumps to the next vignette -- and often new information would come out just as the narrative moved on and the reader doesn't know what it is until the character carousel stops at your guy again. This was charming at first but got to be mildly annoying after a while.

That said, I enjoyed this tale of a daughter's quest to understand her remote mother better. She is going through her dead mother's belongings when she finds a Nazi war medal. I liked the story hidden by a group of friends from 60 years ago. Clues were available, the story was interesting, and the final revelations plausible and interesting.

I would read more by this author and in this series.
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