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The Drowning


The Drowning

Ever since the late Stieg Larsson found international success with his Millennium Trilogy, the door has been kicked wide open for other Scandinavian crime writers to get their work out to a wider audience. The best of these is probably Jo Nesbø…but watch out for Camilla Läckberg! She has consistently released hit after hit in her native Europe and is now seeing similar success abroad. THE DROWNING may be her finest work to date; it’s a cold-as-steel chiller that will get deep under your skin and threaten to stay there.

This potboiler of a novel is set in the small Swedish shipping town of Fjällbacka. A new author named Christian Thydell has become the latest literary sensation with the release of his incendiary debut novel, The Mermaid. For some reason, Christian is not pleased with his newfound fame. In fact, he seems to shun it and frightens his family and friends with his moody and sullen demeanor. When it turns out that he has been the victim of several threatening letters, delivered over a period of time, the police get involved. The lead detective is Patrik Hedström. Patrik's wife, Erica, is herself a bestselling novelist, and each is keenly determined to get to the bottom of this unsettling mystery.

"THE DROWNING may be [Läckberg's] finest work to date; it’s a cold-as-steel chiller that will get deep under your skin and threaten to stay there."

Things take a sharp, dark turn when one of Christian's friends, Magnus, is found dead after a brief disappearance. Magnus seems to be the victim of a brutal murder, one that was obviously well planned. It is later revealed that two other childhood friends, Erik and Kenneth, also have been victimized by strange threats. The police are baffled by all of this yet realize there must be some connection.

The answer, as with most mystery novels, lies in the past. THE DROWNING is interspersed with small chapters that depict a troubled young boy who attempts to drown his infant sister in the family bathtub. Their father is able to save the girl, but not after brain damage was done. These flashbacks show the brother and sister growing up together --- he is a strange outsider, often picked on and humiliated at school, and his sister, who adores him, is labeled “retarded” by cruel classmates. The reader will be forced to try and connect these flashback bits to the modern-day mystery. Even though the identities of the boy and girl may seem obvious at first, Läckberg has many tricks up her sleeve.

One by one, lead characters are eliminated, some in shocking fashion, and readers will be just as exasperated as the detectives working the case to find out who is behind these murders. Läckberg reveals clues and deeply hidden secrets layer by layer, like peeling a fine onion. Her plotting is first-rate, and I defy any of you not to push yourself past the point of breathlessness as you turn the pages of this top-notch thriller that will stay with you for a long time to come.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on September 24, 2015

The Drowning
by Camilla Läckberg

  • Publication Date: October 11, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • ISBN-10: 1681772094
  • ISBN-13: 9781681772097