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The Ice Princess: A Novel Paperback – March 29, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 422 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451621744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451621747
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of Scandinavian crime fiction, and Sweden has produced some sensational authors: Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, Liza Marklund, Karin Alvtegen (and this is not an exhaustive list). While Camilla Läckberg shows some promise, she has a long way to go before she can be considered of similar calibre.

The novel's premise is intriguing: writer Erica Falck's best childhood friend, with whom she lost touch, dies suddenly, apparently by her own hand. As Erica, in tandem with another childhood friend (and eventual love interest), local copper Patrik Hedström, look into the circumstances further, they find that the explanation is not so simple. Inevitably, they uncover secrets that have been hidden for decades.

The claustrophobic small town setting is relatively well drawn, and the novel started off really promisingly. Unfortunately, there are a number of issues with it that interfere with the flow of the story. Another reviewer has commented on the numerous "filler" scenes, full of redundant information, which bog down the narrative - for example, too frequently we have a scene where Character A tells Character B the same information that the reader has already been told on the previous page. Similarly, while Patrik and Erica are engaging characters, I really did not care about their incipient romance and Erica's repetitive musings on "Does he like me? Will I look fat in this?" became tedious (yes, we even have a Bridget Jones-esque scene where Erica debates whether to go with the lacy undies or the supportive nanna knickers, and just in case we don't get what has inspired this scene, Bridget Jones is helpfully referenced in the text ... mildly amusing at best, but did not advance the plot one jot, and should have been cut).
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Format: Paperback
I may be the only living female who hasn't yet read Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. So, when Lackberg's new book is compared to the Scandinavian publishing phenomenon, it doesn't register much with me.

Maybe that's a good thing. There's nothing to compare The Ice Princess to. I'm not a reader of the recent craze of Swedish noir, though I will venture into Henning Mankell territory next week. Thus, this novel will be considered strictly on its own merits.

The Story:

Erica Falck moves to her hometown of Fjallbacka, Sweden after the death of her parents. A writer, she is attempting to finish her fourth biography when she discovers the death of her childhood friend, Alex. Found in a tub of nearly frozen water with both wrists slashed, Alex's death sets off an investigation to which no one person is exempt. Erica is drawn into the tragedy and mystery surrounding the life and death of her estranged friend. Along with Patrik Hedstrom, a police detective assigned to the case, Erica finds out more about the quiet close-knit seaside community than she ever wanted to know.

The Review:

There was so much going on in this thriller. A prodigious amount of colorful characters: from the eccentric elderly Mrs. Petren, who uses thousands of Santas and a state of the art coffee machine to ensure a steady stream of guests; to the aging socialite Nelly Lorentz, who is somehow involved in Alex's death; to Alex's sister, Julia, who is grieving in a very unusual way.

Lackberg touches on a number of issues--domestic violence, child abuse, negligence, mental illness, and adultery--without devolving into the typical moralistic fare.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Scandinavian mysteries, and count Karin Fossum, Henning Mankell, Arnaldur Indridason, Johan Theorin, Mari Jungstedt, and Yrsa Sigundadottir, among others, as my favorite authors. Camilla Lackberg's "The Ice Princess" is an interesting read, though it is slow and plodding in parts. The story is set in a seemingly idyllic fishing town in Sweden, where a beautiful and reclusive young woman, Alex, is found dead in her parents' home, seemingly a suicide, with her wrists slashed in the bath-tub. Erica Falck, a biographer and Alex's childhood friend is the second person to discover the body and this sets the stage for her eventual deep involvement in the case. Together with policeman and old school friend, Patrik Hedstrom, the pair do their best to solve the mystery (independent of each other and later together) when it turns out that Alex's death was not due to suicide but murder.

The story unfolds very slowly, there really is no fast-paced action here. What readers get instead is a meticulously-detailed plot with lots of twists and different story arcs, all weaved together in a fine example of story-telling. Erica is a complex character - having had a strained relationship with her mother (who apparently was indifferent to Erica), she has become very protective of her married, younger sister Anna, who is under the control of her domineering husband, Lucas. Erica shies away from serious relationships with men, which changes when she meets old school pal Patrik and they begin investigating the case informally. Patrik is the nice guy who gets along with everyone and who digs deep to get at the truth.
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