Thoughts on: The Stonecutter by Camilla Läckberg

June 21, 2012
Article first published as Book Review: The Stonecutter: A Novel by Camilla Läckberg on Blogcritics.

About:
The Stonecutter by Camilla Läckberg is the third novel in the Fjallbacka mystery series. The series features policeman Patrik Hedstrom who works in a small town in Sweden.

  • 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605983306

Thoughts on: The Stonecutter by Camilla LäckbergMy rating for The Stonecutter4
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More Books by Camilla Läckberg

Thoughts:
I chose to read The Stonecutter by Camilla Läckberg (website | Twitter) because I read one of her previous books, The Ice Princess (my thoughts), and enjoyed it. There is another book in the series called The Preacher which I have not yet read.

This book has a different structure than the previous one I read, the story alternates between past and present, while the time shifts (at the beginning of every chapter and are not confusing one bit) have very little to do with the actual mystery, I felt that they do come together skillfully at the end. I did find the book exciting, Ms. Läckberg’s growth as an author is evident.

The author juggles many issues during the story. Some have much to do with the mystery, some are just to throw the reader off track, and others have absolutely nothing to do with the mystery but simply introduce us to the characters’ psyche and allow growth.

One of the side issues, one that has nothing to do with the story, is postpartum depression which seems to affect many women in Fjallbacka. It seemed that the small town suffers from a case of postpartum depression but I think that we, as a society, don’t recognize how many women this diagnosis. The Ms. Läckberg does recognize the difficulties of stay at home moms. Not only the hard work which goes into taking care of a baby or a toddler, but also the lack of appreciation felt by society at large.

Unbeknownst to the reader, until practically the end of the story, the author spends a lot of time trying to diagnose what lies behind evil. The inherent assumption is that people are made evil, not born (even though that is the case for some) and even if they do something bad, in their mind, they cannot see what they did wrong. Personally I found this aspect of the book the most fascinating and extremely well done, it had me thinking about this issue for days afterwards.

The descriptions of small town life in Sweden are fascinating and filled with imagery. Like any small town, together with the quaint living come small town problems and politics.  Swedish society is also represented in this book in all its glory and its darkness as well as the affects of such a horrendous crime on a small community.

The Swedish coastal town of Fjallbacka
(image taken from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Fjallbacka.jpg)

I found The Stonecutter an interesting read, following the mystery while trying to exculpate those who are deemed suspects. It is easy to see why the book has been a bestseller in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Related Reads:
The Ice Princess by Camilla Läck­berg
Three Sec­onds by Anders Roslund and Borge Hell­ström

So tell me, do you believe people are born or made evil?

Synopsis:
A fisherman at the small town of Fjallbacka pulls out the body of a small girl, she seems to have drowned but soon it is discovered that it is not the case. Police officer Patrik Hedstrom, a new father and friend of the girl’s parents, is put on the case. But Patrik discovers a sinister side of this small town which is much more than he anticipated.

It’s 1923, Agnes a stubborn, rich and spoiled got pregnant by one of her father’s workers. When her father rejects her, Agnes sets in motion events which will have far reaching consequences.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format

More Books by Camilla Läckberg

 Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer
: I got this book for free

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14 Comments

  • Laura June 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Interesting review.
    I’ve never read any mystery which was translated, looks like I’m missing out.

    I think that most people are made evil and are not even aware that they are doing something bad, they are just twisted.

  • Jeff D. June 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t agree with you guys (and gals). I don’t believe anyone is born evil, after all we are all born in the image of God himself. There is no doubt in my mind that evil is taught or learned. What we people do to one another is unimaginable at best.

    • Laura June 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      @Jeff D. – i understand your reasoning, but that evil had to start somewhere. According to you no one should do anything evil. But let’s say it only takes one person, in the image of god himself or not, to teach others. Where did that one person get his ideas from?
      If there is one, there must be more.
      don’t you think?

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks for the comment Jeff.
      Personally I think it’s a combination – some people are born evil, some are raised with twisted morals, some acquire twisted morals through the media/books/video games, etc.

      A good example in literature would be Hannibal Lecter or The Joker.

      • Jeff D June 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Zohar you have to be kdiding me?

        Here I am giving you the word of GOD and you come up with… The Joker?

        • Zohar - Man of la Book June 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

          I think The Joker is a great example Jeff, as Alfred said that some men “can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

          That aside, I don’t want to get into a religious conversation because honestly, there is no way it will end good.

        • Semaj January 31, 2016 at 8:39 pm

          u obviously don’t read ur bible. When man fell in the garden of eden, we all became inherently evil since birth, that is if u believe the bible.

  • Keith June 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Great review man.
    I’m on my way to get it for my Kindle. I haven’t made up my mind about evil – there are so many examples throughout history (as a history buff yourself you know) of evil people that frankly it’s amazing we survived so far.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks Keith for the stopping by. Yes, I’m amazed whenever I read history that the human race has not only managed to survive, but to thrive as well.

  • Doctor Donna June 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Hey Zohar, I’ve been following your blog with some interest for the past year, but this is my first comment. Even though I’m a woman I do share your taste in books and find your reviews very helpful and intelligent.

    I’m a clinical psychologist and with many years of experience (I hope I’m not dating myself). Your excellent question “what makes people evil” has been studied and debated on for many centuries, yet we are still no closer to an answer then we were when men first started killing one another for game, sport or simply “fun”.

    I have also, with great interest, read your review of Shadows Walking as well as Q&A with the author about this subject, and even printed it and brought it for my collegues to read.

    The age old question of nature vs. nurture is still unasnswered as well (that is, in essance, what you were asking) and I don’t think we will ever be able to complete such a complex quest. There are too many variables, too many unknowns and frankly no way to conduct any sort of meaningful experiments.

    Keep up the great blog – love it even though I don’t comment (can’t say that now, can I?).

  • Zohar - Man of la Book June 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for the comment Doctor and, of course, for the nice words.

    I’m a firm believer that nature would trump nurture whenever it can. This can be seen with all the “wild animal attack” videos. Whenever a wild animal that grew up as a house pet attacks someone, the owner is always surprised.

    Here are links to the posts you mentioned:
    Shadows Walking by Douglas R. Skopp: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=3578
    Author Q&A with Douglas R. Skopp: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=4559

  • Jonathan June 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Gotta love it when an author grows and continually outdoes themselveson subsequent work. Too many times an author gets a few books under his belt and starts phoning things in.

    Oh, and you used the word “exculpate” in your review. +2 cool points for you, sir.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 22, 2012 at 7:23 am

      Thanks for the comment Jonathan. That is what the new-word-a-day email are for 🙂

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