This one I got for Christmas from my Bigger Half. He knows I love a good crime book from time to time, but I rarely buy them, so a gift will make me happy. I also read many of Läckberg’s books before moving to London in 2010, but then somehow she fell off my radar, so it was interesting to reconnect with a writer I know.
It is the story of Faye Adelheim, the wife of a rich entrepreneur, Jack. She and Jack met during studies and she helped him develop his successful company, but once it grew Jack preferred Faye to stay at home and focus on their daughter, Julienne. The chronological narration is interspersed with short snippets from the ‘current’ time, from which we quickly find out that Julienne is dead and Jack is a suspect. Meanwhile, their past also comes to light. Faye came to Stockholm to study, radically breaking off with her dark past and even changing her name from Matilde (which reminded me of Fates and Furies). She met Jack at a party and was quickly in love with him. They got married and she dropped out from the university to support Jack in the work on his business, by becoming the sole bread-winner initially. Chris, Faye’s friend was not happy with this turn of events, knowing that Faye was capable of a lot more than waiting tables and playing a support role for Jack’s leading man.
A few years later Faye is overweight, Jack becomes more and more distanced, but the company is successful, they are rich and Faye still loves Jack. And then one day the inevitable happens, Faye discovers Jack has an affair, a messy divorce ensues and Faye is left with nothing. Nothing apart from the fury within her and the need for revenge. And that propels her forward, she crafts a long term plan to get everything back, and some more.
What as readers we are left wondering is how those two strains come together, because one thing we could not see in Jack so far is a tendency towards violence. How then did he end up killing his child? Well, that is for you to discover as you read the book.
I found it a gripping and easy read, the pages just fly by. The book also tells a story from a woman’s perspective, which is pretty rare in crime fiction. Women are usually the victims, here Läckberg gives the victim a shot for retaliation. We are always told women are weaker, slower, less strategic, more forgiving, what if our victim proves everyone wrong. The only thing I’m a bit disappointed about is that Faye is special, formed by the dark events of her childhood. I know, no one would like to read a book about an ordinary woman, but just think how empowering it would be if Faye was just an ordinary woman able to break from the victimhood-cycle, recover and retaliate. Because why should we be forgiving?
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska