The Hidden Child
2013 (English Translation) – Adult Fiction – Psychological Thriller
The Story:Crime writer Erica Falck discovers a Nazi medal hidden in her late mother’s belongings and takes the medal to World War II expert Erik Frankel for analysis. Later, Erik is discovered murdered in his study. During the course of the investigation, past events are brought into light, and Erica discovers that there was much more to her mother than meets the eye. As old secrets are unearthed and more acquaintances of her mother’s end up dead, Erica must confront the truths that have been hidden from her since she was born.
The Opening Line:In the stillness of the room, the only sound came from the flies.
What I Loved:This novel was complex, dark, and gritty. I loved the mystery and the historical sections that provided backstory for present events. I also really liked that each character was shown in depth – not as stereotypical figures, but as complex, nuanced humans abiding somewhere on the spectrum between black and white. We see opinions evolve and shift, and it felt really natural for the characters to grow and react accordingly. Character development was so realistic and the plot was engaging.
What I Didn’t Love:The shifts in time from present to past and back again took some getting used to. Likewise, the shifts between character points of view sometimes felt abrupt, and I often had to shift gears to stay with the story. A lot of the plot seemed to hinge on coincidence and luck – not a bad thing, but sometimes a little unbelievable. Also, did I miss something with Christian’s story? What was up with his weird mood shifts and reluctance to talk about his book?
Final Thoughts:I don’t read a lot psychological thrillers written for adults, but I enjoyed this one. I won it in a Book Riot give-away, so I went in knowing absolutely nothing about it. Originally written in Swedish and translated into English just last year, it was sometimes hard to keep track of location and character names, but it was so worth it. It took longer to read than I had imagined, because it is so complex, but I enjoyed my time spent with it. Highly recommended for fans of murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, or historical fiction. It’s all here, and it’s so good.