Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review: The Hidden Child

The other weekend, I went up to Washington, DC to visit the husband while he was at a weeklong nerd conference and along the way, I stopped at an adorable little bookstore in Arlington, One More Page Books. I spent way too much time, and money, in there, but it was so worth it. One of the books I purchased was published a few years ago, but the premise quickly shot it to the top of my "must read" list: psychological thriller about a woman uncovering WW2 family secrets. Yes please!

image courtesy of Goodreads.com
The Hidden Child is the seventh book in the series by Camilla Lackberg (definitely did not know it was part of a series until after I finished it...oops!) that follows the lives of Patrik Hedstrom, a homicide detective, and Erica Falck, a true crime writer. 

A year after having their child and with Patrik home on paternity leave, Erica is getting back to work and writing a new novel. At the same time though, she finds an old Nazi medal mixed in with a trunk of her mother's old diaries. She takes the medal to a local historian, who is unfortunately murdered shortly after. This murder opens up a mystery that involves Erica's mother and other people who lived during the 1940s and the war. Erica becomes more involved in the mystery because of what she finds out about her mother. 

This is the first of Lackberg's novels I have read and while I really enjoyed the mystery and crime aspects of the story, I was actually somewhat taken aback by how much non-crime material there was. At 400 pages, the novel is stuffed with characters and personal stories. I understand that the reader would feel somewhat attached to the characters if they had read all the six previous books in the series, but there is just way too much to keep track of. I think I counted over forty named characters, so I found myself frequently thinking, "Who is this person and why is he here?" throughout the novel.

Other than that, the only thing I really did not enjoy were the mini-cliffhangers that interrupted the pages. Stories are told as short doses for each character. Lackberg would focus on one character for a page for two and then jump to the next character, oftentimes when new information was just being revealed, forcing the reader to wait until that character's next narration to learn what was so important. At the beginning of the story when there was not a whole lot happening, this was fine, but as the novel progressed, it became mildly annoying. 

Overall, I really enjoyed The Hidden Child and found the final revelations both plausible and interesting, earning this novel a 7 out of 10. I am definitely going to look into reading more novels by Lackberg.

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