The Hidden Child

Amid the recent wave of successful Scandinavian mystery writers, such as Henning Mankell and Arnaldur Indriðason, Swedish author Camilla Läckberg (The Stranger, The Ice Princess) stands apart from her peers thanks to her dual protagonists. Detective Patrik Hedström and his wife, crime writer Erica Falck, can't help but get involved in each other's cases.

As The Hidden Child opens, Patrik has taken paternity leave to care for their daughter while Erica returns to writing. But Erica becomes sidetracked when she inherits a trunk that belonged to her mother, Elsy. To her bewilderment, the trunk contains not only a set of diaries, but a Nazi medal. Meanwhile, Patrik is having a hard time focusing on childcare and keeping his nose out of police business--especially once he realizes that Erik Frankel, an old man whose death seems linked to a virulent neo-Nazi group, is the Nazi-relic expert that Erica recently consulted to analyze Elsy's medal.

The Hidden Child alternates smoothly between the modern-day life of Erica and Patrik and the dramatic situations Elsy and her friends experienced during World War II, and soon 60-year-old secrets begin to unfold. Fans of the other four books in the series will be happy to see interesting developments in the personal lives of Erica's sister and Patrik's coworkers. New readers are bound to be hooked by Läckberg's unusual blend of personal drama, social commentary and mystery. The Hidden Child is an excellent entry in this appealing series. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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