The Drowning

Camilla Läckberg (The Ice Princess, The Hidden Child) may be unfamiliar to some Americans, but her books are wildly popular in Sweden, and readers who enjoy works by Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell are sure to like her novels.

Set in western Sweden, in the small fishing village of Fjällbacka, The Drowning is the sixth in the Patrik Hedström series. Patrik, a police detective, and his wife, writer Erica Falck, have an active toddler, and are expecting twins, so they are already tired even before strange occurrences start happening in Fjällbacka. First, a man named Magnus Kjellner goes missing. After several months of searching, the Fjällbacka detectives have to assume foul play, although there's been no sign of Magnus's body. Then Christian Thydell, a young novelist whom Erica has been mentoring, reveals that he's been receiving threatening letters.

Magnus and Christian have been friends for several years, and Patrik and Erica can't help but suspect a connection--especially after two more of their friends disclose that they also have received threatening letters. Erica is determined to discover the secrets in Christian's past, while Patrik focuses on the official investigation into Magnus's fate.

Told partially in chilling flashbacks of an anonymous child's terrible life, and alternating between the desperation of Magnus's wife and the terror that Christian can't conceal, The Drowning is a pleasurably creepy read. Patrik and Erica's happy, albeit exhausting, home life provides a nice contrast to the darker elements of the book. A cliffhanger ending will keep readers clamoring for more of Läckberg's books to be translated into English. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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