Book review – The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund

The Crow Girl is easily the most difficult book I’ve ever reviewed. Part of that is the length. 784 pages! I could also say that this is probably one of the most complicated and complex story plots I’ve ever read. Be that as it may, I really enjoyed reading it. WARNING: content discussed in this book is of a sensitive nature and may upset, confuse, and trigger certain readers. Thank you to A.A. Knopf for sending me an advance copy.

 

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Goodreads description

The newest crime novel sensation: In this shocking and suspenseful psychological thriller, a police detective must confront a hideous evil that forces her to question how much suffering one person can inflict upon another before creating a monster.

In a Stockholm city park, police discover the hideously abused body of a young boy. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg heads the investigation, battling an apathetic prosecutor and a bureaucratic police force unwilling to devote resources to solving the murder of a nameless immigrant child. But with the discovery of two more mutilated children’s corpses, it becomes clear that a serial killer is at large. Jeanette turns to therapist Sofia Zetterlund for her expertise in psychopathic perpetrators, and their lives become increasingly intertwined, professionally and personally. As they draw closer to the truth about the killings–working together but, ultimately, each on her own–we come to understand that these murders are only the most obvious evidence of a hellishly insidious evil woven deep into Swedish society. As viscerally dramatic as it is psychologically intense, The Crow Girl is a tale of almost unfathomably heinous deeds, and of the profound damage–and the equally profound need for revenge–left in their wake.

 

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My honest review:

Wow. Where to start with this behemoth of a book. If I was asked to describe this book for it’s psychological aspects it would be like walking down a hallway with 100 doors and 100 keys. Every time you finally found one key to match one door, every door and every key switches again. My mind was left reeling every time I picked up this book. I still don’t think I caught every clue that was written. But, although this book was long and complicated I loved the story. It is unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

With a book this long there are bound to be a lot of characters. Sure there are the main characters throughout the book but the secondary characters, the victims, were some of the ones that really hit me the hardest. The topics of The Crow Girl are not easy to handle. Child abuse, cults, multiple personalities, child trafficking, and PTSD to just name a few. The scenes are graphic and gory. You find yourself feeling emotions that you can’t believe because what you have read is unbelievable.

I know I keep going back to how long this book is, but I can tell you it is completely necessary that it is this long. To shorten it would be taking away it’s main characteristics. The length adds so much complexity. The authors (yes there are two of them) weave such a tight and tangled web that you don’t know which way is up half of the time. Despite it’s page count, I have to say this felt like a very fast read. I was so sucked into the story that I didn’t notice how much time passed as I read. My eyes couldn’t read the words fast enough to satisfy the knowledge my brain was craving.

As the book started to slowly wind down to the end I realized that I couldn’t trust anything that I had previously read. I didn’t know what was real anymore. To say the ending was mind-blowing is a huge understatement. The twists and turns that I’d come to expect throughout this novel only accelerated as the ending came into view. Once pieces of this giant puzzle started finally fitting together I couldn’t believe I had been wrong from the start.

This book is definitely for a more experienced thriller reader. I think fans of horror novels would like it as well. The topics it deals with are hard to get over. Do not let the length of this novel hinder you from reading this book. However, be prepared for a major book hangover when it’s all over.

 

I’ve included a link below to an interview with both authors that make up Erik Axl Sund below.

LitHub interview with Ilana Masad

Find the authors below ∇

Author website

Facebook

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Book review – Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote a book review. The past 6+ weeks have been absolutely crazy. I can’t even say that I was reading a ton and forgot to post. Unfortunately, I was just busy adulting and basically living life the whole time.  But I digress, I am here to talk about books!

M.J. Arlidge writes one of my favorite crime thriller series featuring D.I. Helen Grace. I started reading this series right before the second book came out, and I’ve been hooked every since. I am especially grateful to Berkley/ New American Library for sending me an advance copy. Being able to read an early copy of one of my auto-buy authors was a huge treat.

 

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Rating: 4/5 stars!

Goodreads description:

Detective Helen Grace gets caught in an inferno of death and destruction in the red-hot new thriller from the author of Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Doll’s House

Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…

 

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My honest review:

Right off I want to talk about this cover. I’m a sucker for a great cover. That being said I thought the cover for Liar Liar was perfect. The more I read the book the more I realized how fitting it really was. A gorgeous cover that perfectly matches the story plot of the book is a definite thing of beauty.

As the synopsis above states, this book is not about your typical serial killer. Yes people die, and yes it’s pretty gruesome. However, adding the element of a serial arsonist is a very nice twist on the usual serial killer character. Some series start getting predictable as they move forward. The same problems happen the same way each and every book. Some authors even have a formula developed to help them write books faster by simply plunking in details into designated places. This is NOT at all how M.J. Arlidge writes. This is the 4th novel in the series, and the arsonist villain was a perfect change. It kept the series interesting and alive for many books in the future.

Throughout the book a suspect seems nonexistent or there are too many suspects. This added to the complexities of an already complex storyline. I liked the many rabbit holes the case dropped into. At times you felt a hopelessness that things could never be solved. I suspected I knew who the arsonist was halfway through the book, but I was happily wrong. I love getting blindsided by a surprise conclusion. The excitement and anticipation helped the plot move along quickly.

Throughout the book we slowly learn a bit more about D.I. Grace. To say she is a complicated character is a monumental understatement. In The Doll’s House (book 3) we learn a lot more of her past and the skeletons hidden in her closet. Now that a lot of the past has been told we are seeing some of the subtle, softer sides of Helen Grace. She is slightly more relatable and definitely seems more personable. One of my favorite parts of this series is learning more about her character and seeing how she evolves.

I know I’ve touched on it before, but the arsonist angle was seriously a nice change up for book 4. It was a breath of fresh air, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I originally thought I would. There are some scenes in Helen’s personal life that might be a bit much or hard to understand for some readers. I like the subplot a lot and think it adds another level of complexity to each book. But please just be advised. I think most mystery and thriller readers will easily have no problems with that addition.

Interact with M.J. Arlidge at the links below ∇

Twitter

Author info

Wikipedia Bio

 

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Click here to order a custom Liar Liar mini book