The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg

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HiddenChildThe Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg (Harper, 2011)

Blurb: Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal among her late mother’s possessions. Haunted by a childhood of neglect, she resolves to dig deep into her family’s past and finally uncover the reasons why.

Her enquiries lead her to the home of a retired history teacher. He was among her mother’s circle of friends during the Second World War but her questions are met with bizarre and evasive answers. Two days later he meets a violent death. Detective Patrik Hedstrom, Erica’s husband, is on paternity leave but soon becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. Who would kill so ruthlessly to bury secrets so old?

Reluctantly Erica must read her mother’s wartime diaries. But within the pages is a painful revelation about Erica’s past. Could what little knowledge she has be enough to endanger her husband and newborn baby? The dark past is coming to light, and no one will escape the truth of how they came to be…

This just wasn’t a very good book.

Some parts of it were okay: I didn’t know that much about Sweden during the Second World War, so that bit of the story line was interesting.

One problem with a translated work is that it’s hard to know where to assign blame for the book’s faults regarding language. Was the original in as desperate need of editing, or is the translator responsible for the language that really needed to be tightened up?

But many of the flaws in this book must be laid at the feet of the author. First of all: If the mother didn’t want to have kids, why in the world did she end up having two of them when she was almost 40? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

Another huge problem is the insanely precocious daughter of the main couple in the series. Having just reached her first birthday, she’s characterized very much as a toddler instead. Her development is at least a year above what it’s supposed to be, and now that there are two more babies on the way, I think I might just give up on this series. I already had to read two way-too-long birth scenes in this book; there’s no way I can sit through two more of them, plus two more precocious children characters.

My rating: 2 stars

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