Cover image for The stranger
The stranger
Uniform Title:
Gallows bird
First Pegasus Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Pegasus Crime, 2013.

© 2011
Physical Description:
384 pages ; 24 cm.
[Patrik Hedström mysteries] ; [4]
General Note:
Translated from the Swedish.

Previously entitled: The gallows bird.

Originally published: London : HarperCollins, ©2011.
Detective Patrik Hedström tackles his toughest investigation yet when a string of suspicious deaths points to a potential serial killer who has turned his eye toward Fjallbacka and her dark forests, where two children vanished decades before.
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On Order



A local woman is killed in a tragic car crash, but it isn't a clear-cut drunk driving case. The victim's blood contains high alcohol levels, but she rarely drank a drop. Meanwhile, a reality TV show begins shooting in the town, and as cameras shadow the stars' every move, tempers start to flare. When a drunken party ends with an unpopular contestant's murder, all eyes turn to the cast and crew could there be a murderer among them? The ratings spike as the country tunes in to a real life murder mystery. Detective Patrik Hedstrom finds himself increasingly unable to focus on the strange circumstances of the first case, but what if that holds the key to a series of other unsolved cases across Sweden? Under the unforgiving media spotlight, Patrik tackles his toughest investigation yet.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Inspector Patrik Hedstrom of the Fjallbacka Police Department returns in this latest tale of Swedish small town murder. A tragic car accident leaves a local woman dead and alcohol abuse seems to be the reason for the crash. But, from all accounts, the victim wasn't a drinker. And post mortem evidence leads Hedstrom to suspect foul play. But before he can fully begin his investigation Fjallbacka is thrown into chaos when a popular reality TV show begins filming there. And, when one of the show's young cast members is found murdered, Hedstrom and his team find themselves stretched to the limit as they search for the truth behind both deaths-a search that will take them well outside the confines of their little community. Simon Vance's smooth, leisurely reading fits well with Lackberg's prose, and capably draws the listener into the story. Vance effortlessly handles Swedish pronunciations and his dialogue is delivered with just enough vocal distinction to avoid confusion, but simple enough to avoid sounding forced. A Pegasus hardcover. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Fjllbacka, which must already be the most crime-ridden little town in Sweden (The Stonecutter, 2012, etc.), gets both a serial killer and a reality program. Everyone knows that Marit Kaspersen hated liquor. So why did she have a toxic level of alcohol in her bloodstream when her car crashed into a tree? Before Detective Patrik Hedstrm and his colleagues on the Tanumshede police force can do more than establish that the accident that took Marit's life was no accident, a second murder claims their attention. With the full cooperation of wealthy Erling Larson and his compliant town council, TV producer Fredrik Rehn and the crew of misfit partiers he's assembledbosomy Barbie, spoiled rich kid Calle, untalented singer Tina, bully-boy Uffe and neurotic Mehmethave descended on the town to shoot Sodding Tanum. Larson, who's convinced that the show will put the place on the map, gets his wish in spades when one of the dim stars turns up strangled at the end of an especially enthusiastic round of partying, and the surviving cast members are the obvious suspects. Since Patrik is busy welcoming bright new colleague Hanna Kruse into his squad and preparing for his wedding to crime novelist Erica Falck, he scarcely has a moment to spare for the Kaspersen case. When he does look more closely into it, though, he soon realizes that it's linked to at least three far-flung earlier murders over a period of 10 years and perhaps even to the much higher-profile killing that's outraged locals without ever slowing down the production of Sodding Tanum. Patrik's still no great shakes as a detectivepeople keep bringing him crucial evidence other cops would have to hunt forbut the surprising punch the big reveal packs makes this the best of Lckberg's four appearances in English to date.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Compelling characters compensate for a lackluster plot in Lackberg's latest thriller set in the remote Swedish village of Fjallbacka. This time around, veteran detective Patrik Hedstrom investigates a fatal crash involving a local shop owner. Hedstrom fears foul play when he learns that the victim, a teetotaler, had an astonishingly high blood-alcohol level.Turns out, a few unsolved cases over the years had similar circumstances, and Hedstrom considers the possibility that they are all connected. Adding to the detective's woes is an obnoxious reality show (is there any other kind?) that has descended upon Fjallbacka. Ratings climb through the roof when one of the surgically enhanced contestants, nicknamed Barbie, is killed. Could there be a murderer among the cast or crew? Meanwhile, Hedstrom welcomes a new member to the police force, smart and comely Hanna Kruse, whose psychiatrist husband has the unsavory assignment of counseling the reality-show recruits. Fans of Lackberg (The Stonecutter, 2012), who ranks among Sweden's most popular authors, should enjoy the eclectic collection of personalities in this latest offering.--Block, Allison Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In Lackberg's (The Stone Cutter) latest novel featuring Patrik Hedstrom, detective in the Tanumshede police station, and his partner, Erica Falck, Patrik must investigate the car accident that killed a local resident. The victim was a teetotaler, but her postmortem blood tests show she was at several times the legal limit. Meanwhile, a reality TV show is filming in the district, with producers encouraging drama and conflict. When one of the young stars is killed, chaos ensues for the Tanumshede police. Lackberg's strength so far has been her ability to build exciting, plot-driven drama on the back of conflict and damage inflicted in the distant past, and The Stranger is no exception. Verdict Simon Vance is new to the series and provides a great reading, though with a noticeably more Anglicized pronunciation style than in the readings of Lackberg's previous novels. Still, not to be missed. Highly recommended. ["Lackberg presents a change from the usual Nordic mystery in her protagonist Patrik Hedstrom, who's not the typical deeply flawed, moody, and despairing character many detectives are in this genre. Highly recommended for Lackberg's many devotees as well as fans of cozy police procedurals," read the starred review of the Pegasus Crime hc, LJ 3/1/13.-Ed.]-Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.