NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund

"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."

3.0 out of 5 stars -- A confusing and very disturbing hot mess of a book that deals with sexual abuse of children (pedophilia), torture, mutilation and other acts of depravity. In addition, the fact that one of the main characters appears to suffer from the very rare phenomenon of multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder) makes the narrative difficult to follow.

Whew! I would say that it took me way too long to read this novel -- probably as long as it took for Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg and her partner to bring some resolution to the complex case after the mummified body of an immigrant child is found dumped by a train stop. Jeanette seeks out a psychologist, Sofia Zetterlund, to help make sense of these bodies of mutilated children when others are found. What heinous creature could do this to children?

Set in Sweden, and with a huge cast of characters (including the other personalities), the story was extremely detailed and grisly -- it required a lot of energy and focus for me to keep everything straight. Each chapter bounces from character to character and to different places and time periods. I prefer a more linear narrative, and I definitely had a hard time staying with this book.
No spoilers, but, finally there was resolution of sorts as I reached the end of this intense story. Absorbing the impact of statistics of the high incidence of pedophiles in Sweden (and other societies as well) and revelations of the horrible damage that this type of abuse causes made for several sleepless nights. Ultimately this was a novel of revenge and hate -- but even payback does not undo the simple truth: lives ruined beyond repair.

I wonder if there will be more books to follow that feature Jeanette and/or Sofia as it seemed like their story was not finished. I do think this book was too long at 768 pages and hope any follow up is shorter and tighter.

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing the e-book ARC to review. 

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