First of all, I would like to thank Harvill Secker and Vintage for my ARC. And of course, I also want to thank NetGalley for their amazing services.
A few words about the author(s): Erik Axl Sund is the pen name of Swedish author duo Jerker Eriksson, a prison librarian and band manager, and Håkan Axlander Sundquist, sound engineer and musician in said band. The Crow Girl has been translated into several languages and has been a major success in Europe, and it’s finally available in English. The English edition contains all three books of Sund’s Victoria Bergman Trilogy, and takes its title from the first book.
The Crow Girl is a crime thriller mystery novel, and goes deep into the psychology of rape and murder. It’s a very dark and twisted book, therefore not for everyone. It is on some levels reminiscent of The Millennium Trilogy, but goes a lot further. In fact, and I wish I could remember where, but I read a blurb that said Sund “Wipes the floor with Stieg Larsson!” You have been warned! Don’t read it if it’s not your thing.
The characters of the book are remarkable. In order of appearance: Jeanette Kihlberg is a Stockholm police detective with an unemployed husband and a teenage son; Sofia Zetterlund is a psychotherapists who has experience working with abused children and child soldiers in Sierra Leone; Victoria Bergman is Sofia’s most challenging patient, having suffered a lot as a child. Right off the bat we have three very strong and colourful female characters whose lives are intertwined as a result of a disturbing series of events. Jeanette starts investigating the murders of immigrant children who have been abused, tortured, castrated, and left for dead across Stockholm. As the investigation moves forward, Sofia’s background might be helpful.
I don’t want to reveal more as there some great turns and twists during the course of this trilogy. As gripping as it is, it is equally disturbing in its depiction of heinous crimes. The structure is somewhat unusual, as most chapters are only two or three pages long, going back and forth between the perspectives of the main characters, mainly Sofia and Jeanette. This allows for a sense of urgency, and it quickens up the pace. Plus, it’s great for people with ADHD, who, like me, can’t stay focused for too long. The writing is superb, and every element of it contributes significantly to the understanding of these characters and the way they think and operate.
This book is unputdownable! You never know what exactly is going on, and at times what you think you know is put to the test. It’s a dark and twisted thriller that looks at the psychological aspects of abuse victims, and tries to get to the core of the deranged psyche of rapists and child molesters, and in that is relentless, brutal, and often shocking.
I very strongly recommend it to fans of crime novels and thrillers, but with a strong stomach. A TV series is also in development, and the authors will act as producers. The book is coming out on April 7, but you can pre-order it right away.