When I read and reviewed The Hidden Child by bestselling Swedish author Camilla Lackberg, I became an instant fan. You can find a review of that novel at the end of this review. That meant it was a no-brainer to agree to read and possibly review her novel, The Drowning.
Please note: The Drowning was originally published in 2008; however, U.S. readers were not familiar with Ms. Lackberg’s work at that time, so it has just been republished. I want to disclose this because, although for me it’s a new novel, I would hate for you to think it’s a brand-new publication and then find you’ve already read it. I suspect that’s highly unlikely for most of you, like me, but you never know…
While The Hidden Child dealt with family secrets and delved into World War II history, The Drowning deals with friendship, bullying, and secrets from a more recent past. Those of you who’ve read Ms. Lackberg’s novels will be happy to find Erica Falk and her detective husband, Patrick, back in the thick of things. Those of you who’ve never read this series, have no fear because The Drowning will read quite well as a stand-alone read. Looking for a nail-biting mystery to solve on a chilly winter evening? I’ve got just the thing – and one of you is going to win a copy so be sure to enter our giveaway!
Christian Thydell is a debut author. His novel, The Mermaid, has just been published to rave reviews. He places a lot of the credit for his success with local true-crime author Erica Falk, who has mentored him and supported him in finally getting the story he needed to tell down on paper. So you would think he’d be on top of the world that the novel is so successful, but he’s not. He’s ironically as unhappy as he was before it was even written. Why?
Christian is getting threatening letters. When he got the first one, he just dismissed it as a prank or bad joke but they kept coming. Now he’s scared that someone has uncovered his and his friends’ secret. That person is threatening to tell the truth, no matter who gets hurt in the process. When Erica finds out what’s going on, she begins to look for the source of these threats. But she also begins to wonder about the novel Christian has written. It may have been the catalyst that set off this unknown bully, but could the key to the novel and the threats lie in a part of Christian’s past that he says he doesn’t recall?
And then Magnus, Christian’s best friend, disappears. That pulls Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedstrom, into this mystery when he’s assigned the case. They soon find there’s something very bizarre going on. The very people who are potential victims in this case are doing everything they can to conceal the very evidence that could solve the case. WTH is going on? Are they so scared that they’re doing the exact opposite of what they need to do to stay safe? Or are they hiding something so horrible that they’d rather die than reveal it?
“’…How is a woman supposed to act when her husband suddenly vanishes?’
‘Maybe we should interview some more people,’ said Gosta, sneaking another cookie under the table for Ernst [the dog].
‘Who do you have in mind?’ Patrik could hear how annoyed he sounded. ‘We’ve talked to his family and his friends. We’ve knocked on doors throughout his neighborhood, and we’ve put up notices and appealed for information via the local paper. What else can we do?’
‘It’s not like you to give up so easily.’
‘Well, if you’ve got any suggestions, I’d like to hear them.’ Patrik immediately regretted his brusque tone of voice, even though Gosta didn’t seem to take offense. ‘It sounds terrible to hope that the man will turn up dead,’ he added in a calmer manner. ‘But I’m convinced that only then will we work out what happened to him. I’ll bet you he didn’t disappear voluntarily, and if we had a body then at least there’d be something to go on.’
‘I think you’re right. It’s horrible to think that his body will float ashore somewhere or be discovered in the woods. But I have the same feeling you do. And it must be awful…’
‘Not to know, you mean?’ said Patrik, shifting his feet, which were getting hot underneath the heavy weight of the dog.
‘Well, just imagine not knowing where the person you love has gone. It’s the same thing for parents when a child goes missing…’”
Erica and Patrick are a couple I’ve grown quite fond of and I thoroughly loved reading more about them – and especially watching them team up to solve this case. They make a dynamite detecting duo! Christian is tortured mentally and that’s all I’m going to say about him because anything else would create spoilers. Magnus and his other friends shall also remain a mystery that you uncover as the story unfolds.
Quibble Time: I have to mention this just to get it off my chest, because it’s the one thing I thought was too much. Every female in Erica’s circle, including Erica, seems to be pregnant during the events that take place in The Drowning. I do understand now why Ms. Lackberg did that but I found myself getting irritated and muttering, “OMG, she’s pregnant too?!” Don’t let that stop you from reading an excellent novel – just wanted to give you a heads up about it. It happens in real life all the time, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a novel that wasn’t about pregnancy. Go figure…
The Drowning is one of those novels I think I’ll read a bit at a time, as I have time. I should have known better – doh! I was first puzzled by the shiny bait dangled in front of me and then, snap, I was very quickly hooked but good. It was too long a novel to read in one sitting but I definitely tried anyway. Agh! Even if I hadn’t been a Camilla Lackberg fan before reading The Drowning, I would be now. I’m recommending this one and it’s your lucky day since we’re giving someone a copy. Booyah!
Here are excerpts from a talk Camilla Lackberg gave when she visited a mystery bookstore to promote another of her books. I thought you might find it interesting.
Can’t wait to read it? The Drowning is available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller below. Just click the link of your choice and get ready to solve the mystery…
I’d love to get your comments on The Drowning, Camilla Lackberg and/or her other work, and/or this review. Click here to read our review of The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg.
One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 12/5/2015, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
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7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
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