Some weeks ago I was in my local bookshop looking for inspiration. On one of their crime tables there was a weighty tome called The Crow Girl. It had an interesting cover and unlike most of the other books there were only 2 copies left in the pile. As soon as I read the synopsis on the back I knew it would be the book I would tackle next. And apologies to anyone that follows this blog but it has been a difficult and often traumatic read taking much longer than I would normally expect.
Like many other books in the Scandi-Noir genre it doesn’t shy away from sensitive and disturbing storylines. Jeanette is a policewoman in Stockholm. Her marriage is falling apart and her teenage son just wants to play football or violent video games. She finds herself investigating a series of rather gruesome child murders and quickly discovers that there is a likely link between them.
Psychologist Sofia is dealing with a number of cases that relate back to various types of child abuse – either relating to child soldiers in Sierra Leone or girls suffering debasing sexual abuse in childhood. One of her patients is Victoria Bergman, a victim of child abuse who is fighting to leave her past behind. The tapes of her sessions with Victoria are often graphic and can be difficult to consider.
The strength of this book is in the female characters. Motivated and ballsy they cope with everything that is thrown at them sympathetically and with an energy that is laudable in the face of their struggles. In contrast the vast majority of the male characters are largely weak or predatory, misogynistic or just plain evil.
The twist comes quite early in the book after which the reader is permanently poised waiting for the inevitable axe to fall. It really is a compulsive page turner but isn’t for the faint hearted. I would be very surprised if no-one has picked up the film/TV rights for this one as it just screams out to make the leap to the screen.
UK Publication Date: April 6 2017. 784 pages.
Supplied by Net Galley and Vintage in exchange for an honest review.
Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.