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.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars!
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.
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 ∇
I really enjoyed The Crow Girl too! Although, maybe ‘enjoyed’ is the wrong word. So utterly harrowing. I think you did an amazing job reviewing it–it’s certainly not easy with so many twists and turns. It was my first foray into Scandi crime, and I definitely jumped in the deep end but I’m so eager for more. Any recommendations for what to read from here?
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Thank you! It was very hard to write a review without giving away details or making it too long. I would recommend The House That Jack Built by Jakob Melander or The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg. I also love Jo Nesbø books which aren’t quite as intense as The Crow Girl.
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I’ve heard of The House That Jack Built, but haven’t got to it yet. I’ll bump it up my list and check out the Ice Princess too! My mum is a huge Jo Nesbo fan, so might have to raid her bookshelf next time I’m home too. Thanks!
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