Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Book Review: The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund

Book: The Crow Girl

Author: Erik Axl Sund

Pages: 797

Read: The paperback edition pictured above; you can read the first few pages of the book by clicking on 'Preview' below.

Read in: 2-3 days

Plot Summary: It starts with just one body – tortured, mummified and then discarded.

Its discovery reveals a nightmare world of hidden lives. Of lost identities, secret rituals and brutal exploitation, where nobody can be trusted.

This is the darkest, most complex case the police have ever seen.

This is the world of the Crow Girl.

Things I Liked: 

1. There was just so much buzz about this book! It was supposed to be the next 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', which btw is a series I really liked! Anyway, so we picked this book up expecting great things from it and, more or less, it did live up to the hype. 

2. The basic premise of this book is a bit layered. So, on the one hand, there is a serial killer who is killing teenage, immigrant boys all over Sweden. The boys are found mummified and bearing signs of prolonged and vicious physical and sexual abuse. Then, there is an unknown assassin going around killing some upper-middle class citizens with tenuous links to each other. In the middle of all this there is a woman called Victoria Bergman, who is clearly mentally disturbed and is dealing with some horrific psychological fall out of an abusive childhood. Police officer Jeannette Kihlberg and her team are struggling to understand, unveil and stop the two killers from killing more people. 

3. The multiple threads in this book are a bit overwhelming but not so much that you lose track of what is happening. The authors do manage to create a couple of strong red herrings and then they do surprise you with what's really going on. It is quite nicely done. 

4. The characters in this book are, mostly, disgusting but there are a few that are admirable for trying to the right thing. The characters are layered and their motivations are quite complex and it takes time to understand what they are trying to achieve. 

Things I Didn't Like:

1. The pace of this book is quite meandering. There are a lot of details and lots of chapters from perspectives of characters that are clearly on the sidelines and didn't really need a voice. The book is also way too long. The paperback edition is, literally, heavy and not easy to read whilst you are lounging around.. one has to sit up and read this book. I don't know about you, but I do like me some lounging and reading time! *grin* 

2. Big time trigger warning for sexual violence in this book. I wish they'd mention that somewhere.. also, big time trigger warning for sexual abuse and exploitation of children. So, if that kind of stuff gets under your skin and refuses to leave, then definitely avoid this book. 

3. There are some weird plot twists that just don't make sense.. I won't go into more details about them because they are big twists in the book and I don't want to spoil it for those of you who want to read this book. 

4. The eventual outcome of two main characters is quite unclear. We don't know where they end up and what they are going to do in the future, which is quite annoying because you labour through so much about their lives (mostly abusive and skin-crawlingly scary in nature) and the author just leaves you hanging! 

Rating: 4/5 
This is a good read if you enjoy Scandinavian authors like Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. 

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