Swedish writer Camilla Läckberg’s new novel, “The Lost Boy,” confirms her place as reigning monarch of the crime mystery genre called Nordic Noir.
The novel is a thick, nearly 500-page book filled with a rich array of characters, interlocking mysteries and historical flashbacks about a small, isolated island where a woman has fled with her son to escape her husband’s criminal lifestyle.
It is the latest of Läckberg’s eight mystery novels to reach the U.S. market — part of an unending wave of Swedish crime fiction. Läckberg’s storytelling talents rank with those of the late Henning Mankell, author of the Wallander mysteries, and the late Stieg Larsson, who wrote “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
“The Lost Boy,” like Läckberg’s other crime novels, is set in the coastal resort town of Fjällbacka. Its regional police department has a top-notch detective, Patrik Hedström, who often gets unsolicited help from his researcher/writer wife, Erica Falck.
In this novel, Fjällbacka’s city finance director is executed while overseeing an expensive historic hotel renovation. The killing happens after he visits his old girlfriend, who is hiding on an otherwise uninhabited island near Fjällbacka.
Strange things happen on the island, and fishy things happen in the hotel project, but the murder investigation stalls as Hedström and his wife struggle with family issues and newborn twins. The mystery unravels in the final pages with a harrowing ending.
Dave Shaffer is a former Star Tribune reporter.
The Lost Boy
By: Camilla Lakberg, translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally.
Publisher: Pegasus, 493 pages, $25.95.