Book review: The Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg

Lackberg-The-Ice-ChildSo here are 41 characters introduced in the first 30 pages! And being Nordic there are a hell of a lot of them with surnames ending in …sson. And the point? Zero. Or should I say Noll.

Following that supernumerary error, we have crime thriller 101 errors followed by serial killer 101 errors and psychopathology 101 errors, ad nauseam.

For example: “Patrik wondered what an outsider would think about the banter that went on between them, even during the most harrowing investigations. But it was something they all needed. Sometimes the work left them so weighed down that they had to take a moment to relax, tease each other, and laugh. That was how they coped with all the sorrow, death and despair.”

And that style of dripping melodrama plods all the way through The Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg. It’s as if Lackberg has never read a modern police procedural, nor seen any modern tv series.

Meanwhile, “Martin knew that he was thinking about what had happened a couple of years earlier, when both Erica and the unborn twins had almost died in a car accident.”

Maybe that would be okay. Once. But of the 41 characters, over half have hackneyed soap opera despair backgrounds of one sort or another. Not just unnecessary but also tedious.

Did I mention soap opera. Chapter ending and section endings are frequently like this:

“Would everything change once they awoke from their trance? Would they then see and understand? Ricky knew that sooner or later he would be forced to speak to the police. But would his parents be able to bear the truth?” (BTW, that’s the third time we had Ricky’s ‘despair’ thrust in our face awkwardly.)

Yes, there’s a ‘profiler’ too and all the old tropes, first about the police who discount the practice, and then the pages of superficial ‘analysis’ of the crime. I’m afraid there’s no other word for the writing but ghastly.

Labelled “The rock star of Nordic Noir” by one reviewer for The Independent, I guess the reviewer has just started in the job and not read or seen any ‘crime’ fiction except Eastenders.

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