The Stranger

Camilla Läckberg (The Ice Princess, The Stonecutter) is back with another suspenseful case for Detective Patrik Hedstrom in The Stranger. Patrik and his partner, Erica, are trying to plan their wedding, but they're so busy that they've barely arranged anything, even though it's only six weeks away. Then a woman turns up dead, the apparent victim of a drunk-driving incident. But Marit was known as a teetotaler, and Patrik feels uneasy because her death reminds him of something.

Meanwhile, a Big Brother-esque reality show starts filming in and around Fjällbacka, further complicating the lives of the local police. Patrik's team ends up having to break up fights and keep reporters away, while Marit's accident remains unsolved. Things escalate when one of the reality show contestants turns up dead in a rubbish bin.

Patrik must lead his team--one brand-new officer and two older men who aren't good for much--to try to figure out who killed the television star and if, as he suspects, Marit's case is part of a bigger killing spree.

As usual, Läckberg skillfully weaves the personal life of Patrik and Erica into the case, making the reader fully sympathize with the exhausted, stressed-out detective. She brings small-town Swedish attitudes vividly to life, creating nuanced characters that are often surprisingly likable in spite of their irritating personal traits. Fans of Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum or Jo Nesbø will love The Stranger. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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