Camilla Lackberg is the best selling mystery author of Sweden. She has 7 best sellers; to date, only 3 have been translated into English. This is her latest in her Fjallbacka series. What is it about Swedish authors that seem to mandate that all their mysteries have at least 20 characters?
True to form, this latest story has several plots with interconnecting characters. The story begins in the present with Patrik and Erica, the proud parents of newly born Maja. Erica has all the signs of postpartum depression. Patrik hasn't a clue since he is immersed in investigating the shocking death of his wife's best friends' 8-year old daughter Sara...found tangled in a fishing net off the coast of Fjallbacka.
Chapter 2 backs up to 1928 and has Lackberg tangling-in the title character, Anders Anderson, who is an artist with hammer and chisel in hand. His canvas is Stromstad's quarry's granite. He is commissioned by the town's most prominent businessman to create a great granite statue. Agnes, the rich man's spoiled and only daughter has commission plans for Anders of her own. The story continues to flip-flop back and forth between storylines, building to a dramatic conclusion.
All of Patrik's police cronies are back; each with their own set of hang-ups and emotional baggage. Anna, the abused wife and younger sister of Erica, continues to plot her (and her children's) escape from her ogre husband Lucas.
Make no mistake about it, this 500-page book is not an easy read and readers are advised to begin with Lackberg's first two mysteries in the series: The Ice Princess and The Preacher. The series' central characters continue to develop from book to book. The last chapter is always the "teaser" foreshadowing what is to come.
If one enjoys mysteries that are thought-provoking and not formulaic, heroes that are flawed, and romance that endures, this Swedish series is carved in stone.