Reviews for Stonecutter


Booklist Reviews 2012 March #1
*Starred Review* Läckberg's third novel is her longest, a nearly 500-page crime thriller that digs deep into the history of the small Swedish town of Fjallbacka. When a young girl's body is pulled out of the harbor, author and new mother Erica immediately is drawn into the story. Her partner, Patrick, is the police detective assigned to the case, and she is friends with the girl's mother. Driven by her friendship as well as fears for her baby, Erica can't leave the case alone. With only thoroughly confusing clues (Why was the dead girl's mouth filled with ash?) and few real suspects (even the nasty neighbors aren't good candidates), Patrick struggles with lazy and inept colleagues and an even remoter-than-usual boss. Läckberg interweaves the modern-day criminal investigation and the story of a young, rich girl from the early twentieth century. As the novel careers to dramatic endings for both modern-day and historical stories, readers will wonder whether there really is such a thing as justice for anyone. Those who have read Läckberg's The Ice Princess (2010) and The Preacher (2011) will be familiar with her series characters, Erica and Patrick, but new readers won't have a hard time jumping in. A perfectly plotted and paced mystery bolstered by strong, realistic characters makes this a must-read for all followers of Scandinavian crime fiction. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #2
Swedish publishing phenom Lckberg returns to the ill-starred town of Fjllbacka for another dose of resentment that festers into violence. Now that his live-in girlfriend, writer Erica Falck, has presented him with a child, Patrik Hedstrm ought to be finding a better balance between his personal and professional responsibilities. But his sympathies as both father and cop are demanded by the murder of Sara Klinga, the daughter of Erica's new friend Charlotte. Who would dump a seven-year-old near a wharf after drowning her, according to forensic evidence, in a bathtub? As Patrik surveys the wreckage of Sara's extended family, from the pathological philandering of Charlotte's husband, Dr. Niclas Klinga, to the unaccountable cruelty of Niclas' mother Lilian Florin, whose name Niclas rejected in favor of his wife's upon his marriage, Lckberg (The Ice Princess, 2010, etc.) parcels out hints of the tragedy's roots in the loveless marriage some 75 years ago between flirtatious heiress Agnes Stjernkvist and Anders Andersson, the stonecutter she'd captivated and planned to leave before her father discovered her pregnancy and forced the couple to wed. Meanwhile, back in the present, Patrik and his mostly incompetent colleagues on the Tanumshede police force focus their suspicions on imperious Lilian, who seems to loathe everyone but Stig, the bedridden husband she nurses so assiduously; Kaj Wiberg, the neighbor with whom she's long feuded over every pretext she can find; and Kaj's son Morgan, a computer game designer with Asperger's Syndrome who'd be poorly equipped to take the air even in a much sunnier spot than Fjllbacka. Yes, the detection is forgettable (Patrick solves the mystery by watching a similar case on TV) and the climactic revelation unsurprising. Lckberg's greatest strength is dramatizing the long shadows of family troubles that grow to monstrous size. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 October #1

The listener braces for a story of child abuse and pedophilia when a fisherman hauls up the body of a little girl along with his lobster pot. The dead girl, however, is not the central figure in this mystery, although Det. Patrick Hedstrom is desperate to solve the puzzle behind her death. He knew this child and has a daughter of his own. Narrator David Thorn makes the Swedish names accessible in a way print does not. His tongue glides over the unfamiliar pronunciations, leaving the listener engaged in the story, which stretches back to the 1920s. Even the red herrings take you somewhere you need to go. VERDICT With the popularity of all things Scandinavian, this is a must purchase. ["Readers of Läckberg's two previous books will not be disappointed. The author keeps the interest high in both story lines and ties the two together in a disturbing conclusion," read the review of the Pegasus hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 4/13/12.--Ed.]--Jodi L. Israel, Birmingham, AL

[Page 43]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
No wonder the Ikea furniture is so easy to assemble; it's the Scandinavian writing. Direct + uncomplicated = male-friendly. Repetitive and S-L-O-W, this novel alternates between the assorted miseries of contemporary Fjällbacka, Sweden which includes a tragic drowning, and the assorted miseries of yesteryear Fjällbacka, Sweden, starting with the experiences of a titular stonecutter in 1923. Läckberg's workmanlike characterizations reflect the stolid characters of Fjällbacka's citizenry, like the new mom who feels like "…she was just two huge walking breasts" and who "…had never in her entire life felt so miserable, tired, angry, frustrated, and worn out…." Readers will soon find, however, that this is a 560 page assburner that alternates between ‘slow burn' and ‘hopeless mess' with a needlessly repetitive plot. The entire pathological mess has at its roots in a sexy, man-eating socialite named Agnes whose conniving heartlessness traces an ugly path to current day Fjällbacka, Sweden. There two dedicated policemen boil down a shitstorm of activity into four rather prosaic cases including a pedophile ring, a drowned girl, and someone feeding ashes to babies. While both story arcs are monotonous, the contemporary portion's plentitude of characters often make it feel like a soap opera. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 June #4

The extreme darkness of the human spirit--a quality that marks Läckberg's novel and the work of many other Swedish crime writers--is expertly portrayed in this audio edition by narrator David Thorn, who previously read earlier installments in the author's Patrik Hedstrom series. Although it may take listeners a few moments to become accustomed to Thorn's British accent, this discrepancy quickly becomes a nonissue given the narrator's deliberate pace, which serves to underscore the bleakness of both the external and the internal terrain. This time around, Hedstrom is particularly invested in solving the crime; as a new father, he's affected by the murder of an eight-year-old girl even more strongly than usual. And Thorn is especially effective in portraying the detective's exhaustion from tending to his infant daughter, which only adds to the strain of working the grisly murder case. A Pegasus hardcover. (May)

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #4

Läckberg's excellent third novel set in the west coast village of Fjällbacka, like its predecessors The Ice Princess and The Preacher, strips conventional veneers from her achingly complex characters. Alternating parallel narratives embroil readers first in the present-day murder by drowning of little Sara Klinga, then in the rise and fall many decades earlier of Agnes Stjernkvist, a venomous schemer who lusts after honest stonecutter Anders Andersson. Investigating Sara's death is series lead Det. Patrik Hedström, now an exhausted new father, whose partner, Erica, is suffering through a desperate postpartum depression. Läckberg gradually tightens the disparate narrative strands noose-like around her numerous remorselessly dissected characters, her signature reversal revealing shocking and poignant truths about the residents of Fjällbacka, where she herself was born. With at least nine more novels waiting for English translation and the Swedish TV series Fjällbacka Murders in the works, Läckberg has rapidly become one of the most profitable native authors in Sweden's history. Agent: Joakim Hansson, Nordin Literary Agency. (May)

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