Sam Still Reading's Reviews > The Stranger

The Stranger by Camilla Läckberg
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Jun 04, 12

Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: read the series
Recommended for: crime fans
Read from April 01 to 08, 2012, read count: 1

I really enjoy Camilla Lackberg’s books involving Patrik and Erica. They are good, solid crime reads which have the added bonus of a detective in a healthy, mainly happy relationship (take that, Kurt Wallender). I like the balance of the civilian Erica, with her family/wedding problems to Patrik’s police issues.

This book is known by two different titles – beware picking them both up. The Gallows Bird was the title in the UK, but in Australia and Singapore, I’ve seen it called The Stranger. Why? I can’t figure it out. Neither title gives huge clues to what’s inside.

In this book, several crimes have been committed. A woman is found dead after running into a tree. She was very drunk and it is suggested that she was drink driving. Meanwhile, a reality programme, Sodding Tatum (excellent name) starts filming nearby. It contains winners and popular contestants from a range of programmes from Big Brother to Jersey Shore type shows. What the aim of the show is was never clear, but seems to involve conflict, drinking and sex. However, Sodding Tatum goes one step beyond the normal realms of reality TV when a contestant is found murdered. Patrik of course is on the case, but can he and his team (including new recruit Hanna) link up the reasons for these depths.

What I like about Lackberg’s books is that the crimes are not formulaic – there are elements of the effect on the victims (such as the drink driver’s daughter) and how they shape the future. Having the wedding of Patrik and Erica going on in the background was also a nice light touch to the dramatic murders.

Despite this being a series, you can read them in any order. The only spoiler is the relationship between Erica and Patrik progressing! The story ends on a teasing note, which segues rather nicely into the next book. A cheap trick? Not for me, I’ll keep reading no matter what!

Definitely one of the better crime series out there.
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