THE ICE CHILD by Camilla Lackberg, Review: A shocking crime

Camilla Lackberg’s The Ice Child (Erica Falck & Patrik Hedstrom #9) is a thrilling blend of family drama and shocking criminal investigation. Read my full review.

The Ice Child Book Synopsis

The Ice Child - Camilla Lackberg

January, Fjällbacka. A semi-naked girl wanders through the woods in freezing cold weather. When she finally reaches the road, a car comes out of nowhere. It doesn’t manage to stop. By the time Detective Patrik Hedström receives word of the accident, the girl has already been identified. Four months ago she disappeared on her way home from the local riding school, and no one has seen her since. It quickly becomes clear that she has been subjected to unimaginably brutal treatment. And it’s likely she’s not the only one.

Meanwhile, Patrik’s wife, crime writer Erica Falck, is looking into an old case – a family tragedy that led to a man’s death. His wife was convicted of murder, but Erica senses that something isn’t right. What is the woman hiding? As Erica digs deeper, the past starts to cast a shadow over the present and Patrik is forced to see his investigation in a whole new light.

Translated from Camilla Lackberg’s original Swedish by Tiina Nunnally


Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Translation

One of our Top 10 International Reads in 2016

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The Ice Child is the first of this prolific author’s novels I’ve had the opportunity to read. I was eager to see what in particular Lackberg had brought to the Scandinavian crime genre to garner her bestselling status.

The tenacity of real-crime writer Erica Falck and dedication of her husband police detective Patrik Hedstrom make a formidable team, and highly likeable leading duo.

With flashbacks to a shocking crime in the past, a series of everyday domestic family dramas play out alongside the investigation into the kidnapping and chilling torture of girls in their early teens. The intrigue is strong but elongated, with tangents allowing Lackberg to further develop the series’ secondary characters. From the frustration and levity of office politics to the challenges of parenthood and loss of a partner, these complementary storylines really ground the story, making it accessible to a very broad audience.

Pace vs tension

While not as fast-paced as some thrillers, in The Ice Child Lackberg uses the harsh physical environment to heighten tension and the juxtaposition of childhood purity with such evil intent to great effect.

Although the alternating character narratives gradually allow readers to work out most answers for themselves, I was still pleasantly blindsided by a twist at the end. With a strong leading character partnership in Erica and Patrick, there remains plenty of scope for this series to continue…

Camilla Lackberg’s The Ice Child is a great chunky novel to sink your teeth into – an enjoyable weekend read.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

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More reviews of The Ice Child

“Lackberg is top-shelf Nordic Noir, and if you’ve done the Steig Larsson, Jo Nesbo, Anne Holt, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir circuit, Camilla Läckberg is a must-read.” – Thelma Adams, HuffPost

“… the author has found the perfect balance between two characters and their lives and their impact on the case in question… they are both determined investigators in their chosen fields, able to help one another when needed and doing so logically, in that there is nothing there for the sake of cheap drama…” — Pop.Edit.Lit

“Another good novel from Lackberg, with a chilling storyline matched by even more chilling victims.” — Monique Mulligan

About the Author, Camilla Lackberg

Born in 1974, Camilla Lackberg graduated from Gothenburg University of Economics, before moving to Stockholm where she worked for a few years as an economist. However, a course in creative crime writing became the trigger to a drastic change of career. Her first six novels all became Swedish No 1 bestsellers. She has sold over 12 million copies to date and was Europe’s ninth bestselling author last year. She lives in a suburb of Stockholm with her three children.

Check Camilla’s official website. The author was actually born in the seaside village in Sweden where this novel is set.

About the Translator, Tiina Nunnally

Tiina Nunnally is an American author and award-winning translator of Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, who sometimes uses the pseudonym Felicity David when edited into UK English. Her translation of Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize in 2001, and Peter Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow won the American Translators Association’s Lewis Galantière Prize.

Falck & Hedstrom Books - Camilla Lackberg

The Hedstrom & Falck Series:

  1. The Ice Princess
  2. The Preacher
  3. The Stonecutter
  4. The Stranger
  5. The Hidden Child
  6. The Drowning
  7. The Lost Boy
  8. Buried Angels
  9. The Ice Child
  10. The Girl in the Woods

* My receiving a copy of The Ice Child from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.