Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Gallows Bird by Camilla Lackberg

I finished the books blog buddy and author Travis wrote about: found her first two in the library. I loved them!
'Linda Castillo whose novel Breaking Silence, the third in a series starring Amish Country Police Chief Kate Burkholder is now available  for pre-order and is already getting rave reviews.'

Then, I found another Swedish writer I'd never heard of: Camilla Lackberg. Successful author, mother, raven-haired Swede, lover of red wine and dark chocolate!

The book I picked up is
The Gallows Bird (Harper Collins, 2011)

Noun1.gallows bird - a person who deserves to be hanged
scoundrelvillain - a wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately

Frog Pond Farm
Organic Wine
This book is a translation of OlycksfĂ„geln (2006), also a TV movie. In fact, she has four TV movies; The Ice Princess, The Preacher, The Stonecutter, too. She is quite successful and prolific. I'm glad Harper Collins UK thought to translate this, with 7 million sold! Book reviews of 6 of her 7 books are here.

My preference has been to read mystery novels  -written by women. Modern females have begun writing stories of strong characters. Plus, I find the guts and gore of some male mystery novels too much for me with my weak stomach.

OPP Museum souvenirs, and red wine!
This book is a big departure, primarily because I am unfamiliar with Sweden, police protocols, media and culture. I found it a good entry into another part of the world.

The storyline follows a reality show (which I loathe) of sweet young things (I nearly put it down - see 'perky little chicks' above!) filming in a small town. Actually, not-so-sweet, with the F bomb dropped every sentences or so, and angry performing prima donas. Lots of drinking and such. That's so twenty-something! But then most Reality TV shows just don't grab me!

The attitude of most of the characters is vulgar, the cast and crew particularly insensitive, and not very likeable. I want richness and depth, and to be able to recall their unique characteristics. For my taste there were too many shallow characters.  In my feeble middle-age I find I am at pains to identify with them.
The main character didn't grab me. A sturdy, fairly modern male touchy-feely detective, but I didn't find him believeable.  But that's just me! That said, I kept on with the book.

It is an easy read. Way too much foreshadowing and broadcasting, obvious pregnant pauses, and too many secrets revealed too soon, or kept until the next chapter, time after time. I've been sitting for a couple of weeks with a foot injury, and reading and writing has been my outlet. The plot has twists. I sure couldn't have dreamed it up. It held my attention.

But I was somewhat disappointed. The metaphors are hoarded: "a bird flies by the window." My favourite writer teacher, Natalie Goldberg, tells us to describe the bird; what kind, what colour, how big? Paint a picture, narrate the sound, describe the smells. This would have been really intriguing for me, since I'd like to virtually visit Sweden. I felt let down by the lack of description, not that I wanted a travelogue, but I did want more.

I was compelled to finish it, on this 35 ˚  C. August-like day, and I did like the plot. She has many fans, I'm sure many will like it.
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Keri Mikulski said...

I'm all for easy reads during the summer months. Thanks so much for the review. Happy Wednesday! :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was disappointed in THE ICE PRINCESS too. I got so little idea of what Sweden was like from it. It could have been set anywhere. Though the "mystery" was good enough, not so good as to deserve so much attention.

Vagabonde said...

I am in my nonfiction phase, in French, of books I purchased in Paris. Just finished the diary of a young Jewish woman who wrote it between 1942 and 1944. Unfortunately she was sent to a concentration camp and died. I am now reading a book on Stephane Hessell, a French 94 years old, who was born in Germany, was also sent to concentration camp but evaded and wrote a small book last year, at 93, which is still on the French best seller list called “Indignez-vous!” I think I might even do a post on him later on as his life has been so full of events (he worked for de Gaulle in London with the free French.) In summer though I usually prefer reading mysteries.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Sounds like it was a little disappointing, but still worth reading. I'm with you on reality TV. Most of it is utter rubbish. Very thoughtful review.

Barrie said...

I've never heard of a gallows bird before! I do like a mystery plot full of twists and turns, so that part sounded interesting to me. Thanks for joining in, Jenn!

Ellen Booraem said...

I may be commenting twice--Blogger was giving me trouble posting from my account for some reason. Anyway...thanks for the insightful review (and the warning!).

Lesley B. said...

I am so, so sorry to read about your loss. I have enjoyed your photos and videos of Oliver's adventures. Sending you caring thoughts during your difficult time.