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The Gingerbread House

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In a short space of time, several bestial murders occur in central Stockholm. When criminal investigator Conny Sjöberg and the Hammarby police begin to suspect that there’s a link between the murders, Sjöberg goes completely cold. There is a killer out there whose motives are very personal, and who will not be deterred.The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen is the first In a short space of time, several bestial murders occur in central Stockholm. When criminal investigator Conny Sjöberg and the Hammarby police begin to suspect that there’s a link between the murders, Sjöberg goes completely cold. There is a killer out there whose motives are very personal, and who will not be deterred.The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen is the first in the Hammarby series, thrillers with taut, suspenseful plots and unexpected twists and turns. This haunting novel explores schoolyard bullying among young children and the effect it has on them when people look the other way. Many of the scenes in this book are self-experienced and based on Gerhardsen’s own childhood. Urban settings and strong portraits of authentic characters are crafted in depth and detail, insuring the books will linger in the reader’s mind long after the finish.The Gingerbread House is written in the same tradition as the Sjöwall / Wahlöö crime novels, and has been described as a book version of the tv series The Wire. It is not only published by the same publisher as Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy, but by the same editorial team.


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In a short space of time, several bestial murders occur in central Stockholm. When criminal investigator Conny Sjöberg and the Hammarby police begin to suspect that there’s a link between the murders, Sjöberg goes completely cold. There is a killer out there whose motives are very personal, and who will not be deterred.The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen is the first In a short space of time, several bestial murders occur in central Stockholm. When criminal investigator Conny Sjöberg and the Hammarby police begin to suspect that there’s a link between the murders, Sjöberg goes completely cold. There is a killer out there whose motives are very personal, and who will not be deterred.The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen is the first in the Hammarby series, thrillers with taut, suspenseful plots and unexpected twists and turns. This haunting novel explores schoolyard bullying among young children and the effect it has on them when people look the other way. Many of the scenes in this book are self-experienced and based on Gerhardsen’s own childhood. Urban settings and strong portraits of authentic characters are crafted in depth and detail, insuring the books will linger in the reader’s mind long after the finish.The Gingerbread House is written in the same tradition as the Sjöwall / Wahlöö crime novels, and has been described as a book version of the tv series The Wire. It is not only published by the same publisher as Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy, but by the same editorial team.

30 review for The Gingerbread House

  1. 3 out of 5

    Naomi

    Good lord, this book is the epitome of why I LOVE Nordic Noir. This book was fantastic. It was twisted and engrossing with its' scenes and character development. I loved how deep and dark the author went in describing the characters, particularly the killer. Lovers of author Karin Fossum will adore this author. My only complaint...this is the author's only book translated to English. This is one of my pet peeves of the Nordic Noir genre and this book was a classic example of why.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Harry

    Book Review I'm giving this 3 stars (as opposed to 4 or 5 stars), but only because of two words in the entire novel that I feel are deliberate trickery by the author. It would be a disgrace to reveal to potential readers to what two words I'm referring, but I condsider having written them, a major error on the author's part. And so I'm giving this a lesser rating that I would have otherwise. I consider this book the beginnings of an author who has yet to mature in certain areas, while showing imme Book Review I'm giving this 3 stars (as opposed to 4 or 5 stars), but only because of two words in the entire novel that I feel are deliberate trickery by the author. It would be a disgrace to reveal to potential readers to what two words I'm referring, but I condsider having written them, a major error on the author's part. And so I'm giving this a lesser rating that I would have otherwise. I consider this book the beginnings of an author who has yet to mature in certain areas, while showing immense promise in delivering a fast-paced crime novel that despite my few objections I found addicting. Every scene is very tightly woven and leads to the plot, despite seemingly innocent and warming scenarios in which we meet the lead detective's family. With almost pure pleasure, I read of Conny Sjöberg relationship to his wife who, rather than let a policeman's life lead her to ostracize herself from a man who is often not present, participates in helping her husband solve the mysteries he encounters, and, offers a profound support in the sense of loving a man for what he does and who he is, a support we do not usually see in other crime-fiction novels. The pacing is rapid, you can read the book in a few sittings. The gruesome childhood scenes are horrible and one wonders how this is possible when we, for example, look at our own children and the schools they attend. Is it true that children at the age of six are without ethics, without some sense of right and wrong? Surely not. The reveal in this novel came as a complete surprise...but therein came my 3 star rating. I will leave it to potential readers to judge this for themselves. Looking for the second in this series, I could find no indication of when it'll be published in translation (this book is translated by Paul Norlen, an author in his own right, and translater for other notable Scandinavian writers such as Persson, Grebe, and Jansson). Which led me to inquire with the publisher. No response as of yet. ------------------------------------------------ Series Review Sweden remains in the minds of most Americans and British audiences as perhaps the only succesful implementation of what is commonly referred to as the welfare-state experiment. To foreign audiences we have in mind a peace-loving populace (they have managed to stay out of wars), a people protected by state policies in every manner, a relatively crime-free country with a people thought of as blonde, tall and attractive if not sexually mature and free. Not exactly what one would think of as a hot spot for crime fiction and its authors. To this day Swedes remain proud of this image in spite of some definitive cracks appearing in the foundation: cracks that are primarily fostered by the sudden emergence of a whole new genre of crime fiction, notoriously referred to as Scandinavian Noir, or Nordic Noir of which Swedish authors are a conscious part. This letting of blood, this expose of what lies beneath the Swedish facade is primarily pomulgrated by crime-fiction authors (as opposed to say newspapers) and the phenomenon has given birth to a world-wide audience all within what seems to be the span of just a few years. American and British Publishers, at first hesitant to jump into the fray for the fear that Scandinavian Noir is but a fad and that translated fiction will never catch on with English speaking audiences, now are convinced that this group of authors is here to stay and that what lies beneath the tip of the iceberg has yet to be revealed. One such author engaging in this expose is Carin Gerhardsen. Born in Katrineholm, Sweden on December 6, 1962, Carin Gerhardsen is the author of the Hammarby series, a series of crime novels that take place in the southern parts of Stockholm. Carin Gerhardsen made her literary debut in Sweden fifteen years ago, but for various professional reasons (such as pursuing her interests in IT) put her career on hold only to resume writing some years later. That writing effort led to what at the time was a trilogy that predates Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Currently, of course, there are six volumes in the Hammarby series. It is interesting to note that the original Gerhardsen trilogy was finally sold to Ordfront, Henning Mankell's original publisher. Gerhardsen, in translation, is relatively unknown in Britain and the States. Only the first, The Gingerbread House has been translated into English: an omission in British and American publising of translated fiction that urgently demands to be remedied...and this appears to be in the works. Originally a mathematician, which may explain her clever plots and complex characters, the Hammarby books seem to convey an almost cinema-like quality in terms of editing scenes down to essentials only. There seems to be a brilliant mind at work behind these fast paced, addictive, one-or-two-sitting books: a mind very focused on the psychological effects childhood instills onto the later adult. Consequently, it is the often gruesome aftermath of such a childhood that is the focus of Gerhardsen's crime novels. It is well known in Sweden that the Hammarby Series portray many of the scenes that the author admits are self-experienced and based on episodes of Gerhardsen's own childhood. Of course, we see a similar focus in Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, in Lisbeth's character and upbringing, but really, it is Gerhardsen that brings the effects of the welfare state on a Swedish childhood to the crime-fiction forefront. To those familiar with Swedish politics, the thorny issues surrounding foster care, some 20,000 castrations of the ill-informed, social engineering that finds its way into Swedish laws (see scathing 1982 memoir by the son of Alva Myrdal, a nobel peace winner and prominent Swedish politician), if not an overt concern in Sweden with population control...and pretty soon you have a labyrinth of source material to begin writing crime-fiction. And such fairly recent public disclosures is one answer as to why Scandinavian Noir is both a recent American and british phenomenon, as well as a phenomenon that has a focus on the state, society and questionable laws while maintaining a tight focus on the crime narrative as opposed to say American Noir which is primarly focussed on the crime itself (with some notable exceptions). This relatively unknown author is an important piece to the foundations of Scandinavian Noir. No doubt, as publishers make her known to American and British audiences through careful selection of translators, this will become quite clear.

  3. 5 out of 5

    April Showers Bring Fungi From Yuggoth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Bullying among children and adolescents has probably been occurring for centuries; certainly we’ve all read enough about its occurrence in British public schools throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and we’re familiar with the practice of hazing in many colleges and universities. We know about the injuries and occasional fatalities. But what do we know about the survivors of childhood bullying? The very young, pre-school age, who are daily subjected to not just the taunts, but actual p Bullying among children and adolescents has probably been occurring for centuries; certainly we’ve all read enough about its occurrence in British public schools throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and we’re familiar with the practice of hazing in many colleges and universities. We know about the injuries and occasional fatalities. But what do we know about the survivors of childhood bullying? The very young, pre-school age, who are daily subjected to not just the taunts, but actual physical brutality of equally young children, who should not even be capable of such? Author Carin Gerhardsen examines this very subject, in the context of pre-school bullying in Sweden, and its consequences in middle age. Young Thomas is a pre-school victim; a couple of the children, specifically Hans and Ann-Kristin, lead the assaults against him, some of which are quite potentially dangerous (such as tying him up in a jump rope and pushing him into the road in front of an oncoming truck; pulling off his cap and pants and making him walk home without in the winter snow; and tying him to a frozen lightpost). All this and lack of emotional support at home, or protection against the constant bullying (indeed, young Thomas seems to wear an invisible “victim” tag) result in zero self-esteem, and a lifetime of both solitude and loneliness. Even in his late forties, Thomas is still often the brunt of coworkers’ pranks. Then one evening, by sheerest chance (or fate), Thomas spots one of the preschool ringleaders, now a middle-aged, self-assured, business partner with a loving and devoted family. Thomas just cannot face it-and for probably the first time in his life, he decides to act, not react-and discovers that he does indeed have power: the power to take life. I first became interested in Scandinavian crime fiction via Lars Kepler’s “The Hypnotist” and the novels of Jo Nesbo. Carin Gerhardsen ranks in that high category also, and I anticipate further crime novels from this author, who effectively brings to life the character study so essential to good fiction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    The Gingerbread Girl is the first in a planned series of thrillers set in the Stockholm district of Hammarby and introduces DCI Conny Sjöberg and the officers that work under his command in the Violent Crimes Unit. The series has gained some renown as it is the work of the editing and publishing team behind Steig Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy, and with an intriguing premise investigating a series of sadistic killings which have broken out across the country I had high expectations. When elder The Gingerbread Girl is the first in a planned series of thrillers set in the Stockholm district of Hammarby and introduces DCI Conny Sjöberg and the officers that work under his command in the Violent Crimes Unit. The series has gained some renown as it is the work of the editing and publishing team behind Steig Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy, and with an intriguing premise investigating a series of sadistic killings which have broken out across the country I had high expectations. When elderly Ingrid Olsson returns home from an extended stay in hospital to discover the body of a dead man in her kitchen DCI Conny Sjöberg is summoned to the incident. Curiously the woman claims never to have met the man lying dead in her kitchen and seems remarkably indifferent to the episode. The initial focus is on identifying the victim and finding a connection between Ingrid and the victim which would explain his presence at her house. They quickly establish that the man is well liked family man and father of three, Hans Vannerberg, partner in a successful local estate agency and with a wallet left untouched this is far more complicated than a casual robbery. Hot on the heels of the discovery of Vannerberg further seemingly random and increasingly sadistic murders take place across the country and Sjöberg and his team are up against it in a frenzied race to uncover the perpetrator. Given that The Gingerbread House opens with a horrific portrait of preschool bullying making the life of a six year old Thomas a misery and then catches up with him as a forty-four year old man living an isolated life and still scarred by his harrowing past it is always pretty clear what is behind the series of brutal murders and I found this linear plot construction rather disappointing. Given the initial bullying scene features two children at the mercy of the playground bullies the choice of perpetrator is in little doubt and I found it hard to buy into this mystery. Haunted by these memories when Thomas catches sight of one of his childhood tormentors in the street he is taken by an impulse to follow the man and discover what hand life has dealt him. Featuring a dual narrative and seeing the murders prior to their discovery by the police through the extracts entitled 'Diary Of A Murderer', the principal problem was that as a reader I was privy to all the details and the rationale behind the killings before the police. Throughout this novel the reader is better informed that the team at the helm and with DCI Sjöberg and his team playing catch up the novel felt devoid of suspense and lacking in tension throughout as it plodded to its end. The adrenalin buzz and intensity which sustains so many thrillers was totally lacking and with only two possible candidates as the perpetrator of these horrors, their identity is never much of a mystery. In hearing from one of the victims of bullying through the diary extracts I was struck by how nauseating the prose became and in my opinion this worked against the novel as I began to tire of the self-pity and sympathy vote card that was played. The narrative of this novel was also not to my taste. I found the descriptions dry and slightly wooden and they added little in terms of local flavour, however as a reader of the English translation I am unable to comment as to whether this is the fault of the author or the translator. I have read numerous translated works and The Gingerbread House felt stilted and seemed to lack the fluency that good translations depend upon. References to the winter sport of bandy will mystify English readers and the use of the expression 'oh, crud' was frankly laughable. I also thought the cast of investigative characters brought little to the story and was struck by the lack of impetus they displayed with so much of the focus seeming to be based on getting home from work to spend time with the children and presenting an ultimate home life balance that it simply did not ring true. The investigation lacked any form of urgency and whilst I can applaud Sjöberg for sharing the burden of his children and still being devoted to his wife I doubt that is the reality for very few detectives. Messages could wait until after lunch and even in the wake of declaring a hunt for a serial killer Sjöberg made time to keep the sandwiches foremost in our minds! Domestic bliss and harmony amongst the team was all very well but made for a pretty bland team and there was little to distinguish the individual characters amongst them. Alongside the murder investigation police assistant Petra Westman becomes caught up in her own nightmares as she wakes from a drunken one night stand and is plagued by doubts as to whether her part in it was consensual. Petra goes on a vigilante mission conducting a behind the scenes investigation employing police resources to resolve the questions running through her mind and see justice done. Although this made for a pleasant diversion it added nothing to the story and I certainly didn't need to know that her night involved anal sex! Although I can appreciate the nightmare of a life ruled by bullies the likelihood of two preschool children still being so consumed with their plight at mid forties seemed a little unlikely. Given that very few people look back on their schooling and childhood years with much fondness it seemed doubtful that both would still be fixated on this after all those years and have never moved on. All in all this felt like an issues based novel right from the start with the running theme of bullying running throughout. The sub-plot and question of consensual sex and the presence of a Muslim detective to investigate the politics of his former homeland all felt like a platform for a wider social discussion which the novel could not do justice to. On the whole a thoroughly disappointing reading experience which seemed to lack the subtlety and finesse which is prevalent in so much of Scandicrime. Heavy-handed and devoid of suspense I am keen to see whether the next instalment in the series marks a turning point and indeed whether the sub-plot is made use of in the follow-up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    So okay, everyone loves this but me. So take this review with a grain of salt or something. Considering the amount of violence in this book and how much of the violence is against women, it really wasn't for me. Honestly, if former students are being killed how come only one male student and the rest female? And the cops who have things together are all men, the female police officer has a problem. I guess it was nice seeing a male police officer in a happy relationship but the unequalness of eve So okay, everyone loves this but me. So take this review with a grain of salt or something. Considering the amount of violence in this book and how much of the violence is against women, it really wasn't for me. Honestly, if former students are being killed how come only one male student and the rest female? And the cops who have things together are all men, the female police officer has a problem. I guess it was nice seeing a male police officer in a happy relationship but the unequalness of everything kinda cheesed me off.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ebba

    I was first in doubt if I really liked it, but as I continued reading, the book had me completely hooked. This novel is very deceiving and rather unexpected. Probably my initial reluctance was because the book was not what I expected, in fact it turns out I am talking about this book with everyone I meet so my impression of it really changed over time and it is still lingering in me after it’s finished. The story works on different time levels and jumps between 2006 and 1968. It’s a story about I was first in doubt if I really liked it, but as I continued reading, the book had me completely hooked. This novel is very deceiving and rather unexpected. Probably my initial reluctance was because the book was not what I expected, in fact it turns out I am talking about this book with everyone I meet so my impression of it really changed over time and it is still lingering in me after it’s finished. The story works on different time levels and jumps between 2006 and 1968. It’s a story about revenge and contains several bestial murders, it starts out with an extremely painful bullying scene that supposedly is self experienced by the author… It is hard to write to much about the plot without revealing things that should be discovered by the reader, but I can say it is very cruel and not for the sensitive reader.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Were you ever bullied when you were a child? Teased by other children because you looked different or dressed differently? Were you picked on because you were shy? This is the story of a young boy who was teased, tormented, taunted and terrified when he was 6 years old and in preschool. He was beaten on a daily basis, tied up and put in the middle of the street. He had his clothes ripped, torn and sometimes even removed and hidden. To him, the other children are monsters. Fast forward ... he is Were you ever bullied when you were a child? Teased by other children because you looked different or dressed differently? Were you picked on because you were shy? This is the story of a young boy who was teased, tormented, taunted and terrified when he was 6 years old and in preschool. He was beaten on a daily basis, tied up and put in the middle of the street. He had his clothes ripped, torn and sometimes even removed and hidden. To him, the other children are monsters. Fast forward ... he is now 44 years old. He still views himself as a victim.. silent, afraid and alone. The the killings begin. I thought this was a terrific book .... maybe because I was that shy girl in class who blushed bright red everytime someone spoke to me. (Luckily I grew out of that!) You can't help but feel sympathy for this man ... and all children who are bullied on a daily basis. The author did a wonderful job of describing the characters and bringing them to life. Criminal Investigator Conny Sjoberg and his team have to find the connection between all the murder victims. Sometimes help and information come from strange sources. I liked seeing inside the Investigator's head and following him finding clues. I gave it 5 stars ... and look forward to the next book in this series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    The blurb on the front cover describes this book as "fast-paced and addictive". I found it anything but. A sluggish police procedural with a cast of drab central characters. The murder of four 44-year-olds in and around Stockholm is somehow linked to some horrific cases of abuse in a preschool in the late 1960s. At first, we, the readers are lead to believe we know who the perpetrator is and it is just a matter of the police discovering his identity too. There is something of a twist towards the The blurb on the front cover describes this book as "fast-paced and addictive". I found it anything but. A sluggish police procedural with a cast of drab central characters. The murder of four 44-year-olds in and around Stockholm is somehow linked to some horrific cases of abuse in a preschool in the late 1960s. At first, we, the readers are lead to believe we know who the perpetrator is and it is just a matter of the police discovering his identity too. There is something of a twist towards the end, although it's tiresomely predictable and has been telegraphed two chapters beforehand. As well as lacking any real sense of drama or momentum, the novel also veers off tangentially and unnecessarily into the private lives of the investigators. A female detective suspects she was raped whilst under the influence of Rohypnol; as horrific as this is, the matter is neither resolved at the end nor has any bearing on the main case. There is also a chapter which seems to consist entirely of the lead detective's large family preparing dinner. Fine, I suppose, if one's looking for a recipe for salmon tapenade, but again, totally irrelevant to the central story.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Apparently I'm going to be the only one to say this, but, daaang, I felt ambivalent about these characters. This wasn't such a cut & dried, good vs. evil book for me. Not in the least am I condoning murder, thank you very much, but I did feel a measure of empathy for the kids who were bullied and, at the same time, I felt sorry for the murdered gent who managed to turn his life around after his own wretched childhood while at the same time despising his sorry soul for what he did and feeling Apparently I'm going to be the only one to say this, but, daaang, I felt ambivalent about these characters. This wasn't such a cut & dried, good vs. evil book for me. Not in the least am I condoning murder, thank you very much, but I did feel a measure of empathy for the kids who were bullied and, at the same time, I felt sorry for the murdered gent who managed to turn his life around after his own wretched childhood while at the same time despising his sorry soul for what he did and feeling somewhat guiltily that, hey, he brought it upon himself. What bullied kid does not daydream about revenge? As long as it stays a daydream, of course. Anyway, this was a good read, but now I really want to read the next in the series. Surely there must be one? I want to know what happens with Petra Westman!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Have to say I was very impressed by this book, it definitely had everything I expect from Nordic Noir. It was gritty, dark and very well written and I loved the plot line. I wonder if those children who bully or just join in to not be different ever stop to think of how they would feel if it was them. Have to say when I was growing up, there really wasn't alot of bullying, fights yes but after the fight everything was fine again. This could definitely be a novel that would make one think twice. Have to say I was very impressed by this book, it definitely had everything I expect from Nordic Noir. It was gritty, dark and very well written and I loved the plot line. I wonder if those children who bully or just join in to not be different ever stop to think of how they would feel if it was them. Have to say when I was growing up, there really wasn't alot of bullying, fights yes but after the fight everything was fine again. This could definitely be a novel that would make one think twice. Loved it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vesela

    Книгата ми хареса! Точно това очаквах и точно такова нещо ми се четеше. Като оценка е между 3 и 4 звезди, да кажем 3,75 :) Харесва ми как пише писателката - лек, приятен стил, интригата бързо върви. С удоволствие бих прочела и други нейни книги, ако бъдат издадени.

  12. 3 out of 5

    Claes Ericson

    I really loved The Gingerbread House! I haven't felt that way since I read The Millennium Trilogy. But another dimension was the fact the apparently the very disturbing bullying scenes from pre-school are self-experienced by Carin Gerhardsen. I couldn't put the book down, and recommend to anyone interested in Scandinavian crime!The Gingerbread House

  13. 3 out of 5

    Tien

    The scene opens with a peaceful and majestic scene. Then disturbed by an outpouring of children and you can just feel the boisterousness... and then it suddenly quietened down to a couple of stragglers. All of these in the first few paragraphs. I was totally impressed by how well the atmosphere was conveyed. A chance encounter, a blast from the past, led Thomas Karlsson to follow this happy looking man whom he knew to be a terrible bully in his early life. The next day, he was found murdered, hea The scene opens with a peaceful and majestic scene. Then disturbed by an outpouring of children and you can just feel the boisterousness... and then it suddenly quietened down to a couple of stragglers. All of these in the first few paragraphs. I was totally impressed by how well the atmosphere was conveyed. A chance encounter, a blast from the past, led Thomas Karlsson to follow this happy looking man whom he knew to be a terrible bully in his early life. The next day, he was found murdered, head bashed and life over in a matter of minutes. Then follows a string of what seemed to be unrelated murders of people in their forties. The book switches between a number of characters: the murderer, the chief inspector, a detective, and at times, we were given an insight into the victims but it wasn't at all confusing. I actually liked it that I was given insight as to how things were from different perspectives. Carin Gerhardsen attempted to tackle a number of issues in this book and while she mostly succeeded, I reckon she should have limited the number of issues to expound on. As is pretty obvious, there just wasn't enough room for everything in a novel this size. Straight of the bat, we are faced just how horrible bullying is. It was especially heart-rending to me as these children are pre-school age and my little one is fast approaching that age  Bullying was not a topic open for discussion until recently and whilst Carin got some valid points across, I didn't feel it to be as powerful as her next statement. As a little boy he was happy and outgoing. He liked people, but he realized early on that people did not like him in return. And they soon took his peculiarities and good humour out of him. IT was probably there – in preschool – that he started to turn into the person he was today. The constant physical abuse, interspersed with ostracism and name-calling, had not only transformed him into a silent shadow, it deprived him of all self-confidence as well. A broken childhood can never be repaird. Never forgotten, never changed, never gotten over. It's a kind of chronic pain condition. Indifference is a crime, it is a deadly sin, is it really? I definitely think it is now... I can’t really explain spoiler-free about how this was put forward. Suffice to say I was completely stunned. Here's a quiz for you (from the book), what would your answer be? Stina lives in a cottage on one side of the river. On the other side lives Per in his cottage, and they are in love. The problem is that the bridge over the river has collapsed and the river is full of crocodiles, so it’s not possible to swim across. Stina longs to see her Per so much that her heart is almost bursting. So she goes to her neighbor, Sven, who has a boat, and asks to borrow it. He just laughs and says that of course she can, but she has to sleep with him first. Stina is desperate and goes to ther other neighbor, Ivar, who is the strongest, most authoritative person in the village. Everyone respects him and does what he says. She tells him about her desperation and asks him to make Sven see reason, but he just says that he doesn’t care. Sven can exploit the situation any way he wants, Ivar does not intend to get involved. Stina is now completely exasperated and tells herself that Per, who loves her so much, will surely understand and forgive her, so she goes to Sven and sleeps with him and gets to borrow the boat. When Stina makes is across the river, she does not spare her beloved the painful truth, and tells Per at once about the terrible thing she had to do and asks him to forgive her. Per is furious and kicks Stina out and makes it clear that he never wants to see her again. Stina then goes to Per’s neighbour, Gustav, who is a reliable person and cries her heart out. He consoles her and gets so angry when he hears how Per has treated her that he goes over to Per and punches him in the nose. “now you have to rank these people by what you think about their ethics… One is best and five is worst.” There is a third matter which I won’t even disclose because it felt like a side / tangential story with barely any punch! However, in saying that, I did some research and I think it’s to set up for the second book (of which blurb I cannot read since I can’t read Swedish! But I’m pretty sure, by the way this book ends, that this is purely to set up for the next instalment). At the time of reading though, I felt a little bit under whelmed and felt it to be unnecessary… I really want expecting the ending. There was a completely unexpected twist; though after reading so many thrillers and mysteries, I don't why I wasn’t expecting it. I think I've been lulled, naively led, right from the beginning. Whilst I'm happy for there to be a twist in the story, it felt off (ie. not quite right). Just the way a character turned out to be and the sudden change in speech pattern, it felt wrong to me. Mind you, I'm not a psychologist so for all I know this argument can be valid. All I know is that it doesn't gel with my gut feeling. Of course, what first attracts me to the book was the statement on the cover, “from the same publisher as Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy” but I was totally blown away by the opening and the thought that indifference is a deadly sin/crime that overall, I'm quite happy with this book. Source: Thanks Netgalley & Stockholm Text for the opportunity to view the galley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    If you like thrillers, mystery and being completely surprised at the end of the story, I think you will love The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen. Gerhardsen skillfully crafted a thriller with a bizarre lot,a dark & dreary setting, with interesting and likable characters and managed to carry over the suspense when her book Pepparkakshuset (in Swedish) was skillfully translated by Paul Norlen into English. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoyed it. Gerhardsen If you like thrillers, mystery and being completely surprised at the end of the story, I think you will love The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen. Gerhardsen skillfully crafted a thriller with a bizarre lot,a dark & dreary setting, with interesting and likable characters and managed to carry over the suspense when her book Pepparkakshuset (in Swedish) was skillfully translated by Paul Norlen into English. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoyed it. Gerhardsen has a writing style similar to some of my other favorite Scandinavian writers, Karin Fossum, Jo Nesbø and Åsa Larsson I read The Gingerbread House while on vacation at the beach, a setting that couldn’t be further from the cold, dark Stockholm in winter, where this story takes place, but it was easy for me to immediately become absorbed in the story. The Gingerbread House is the first in a series called The Hammarby Series, based around Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and his team solving cruel and brutal murders in the southern parts of Stockholm. This evocative story explores schoolyard bullying among young children and the effect it has on them when people look the other way. Many of the scenes in this book are based on Gerhardsen’s own childhood, it is obvious with the depth & range of emotions and attention to detail. She paints a picture in an urban setting with strong portraits of authentic characters crafted in-depth and detail, ensuring the books will linger in the reader’s mind long after they finish reading it. I found this true! My Swedish isn’t good enough to read the rest of the books in this series, so I will be waiting (im)patiently for the English translations. The story starts out with a fairy-tale like description of a preschool just south of Stockholm. A stately building surrounded by tall pines, round corners and white posts making it sound like a wonderful place for young children to spend their days. Gerhardsen goes on to describe a lively group of children bursting out of the doors, all bundled up in colorful winter gear, full of energy after a day of preschool and now on their way home. Most of the children go running off to their homes. A few, however, linger behind, one of them being 6-year-old Thomas Karlsson, who quickly becomes the target for a brutal beating, even by preschooler-aged children standards and so begins the story. 40-ish years later, a chance encounter on a train brings Thomas Karlsson face-to-face with the lead bully all those years ago, “King Hans” as the children used to call him. While Thomas lives in a dim, cramped room, all alone with no family, no friends, he can see that Hans appears to be healthy, strong and happy. On a whim and without really even knowing why, Thomas decides to secretly follow Hans home. The next day, Hans is found murdered, head bashed in and his life over in a matter of minutes. Then follows a string of what seems to be unrelated murders of people in their forties. The book switches between a number of characters: the murderer, the chief inspector, a detective, and at times, we are given an insight into the victims but it wasn’t at all confusing. I really understood the different perspectives of each character. Each character has their own storyline going, but each story blends in to the main storyline quite well. The book was exciting, just when I thought I had it figured out – I’d turn the page and couldn’t be more wrong! I’ve been a huge fan of “Nordic Noir” as it’s been called since long before the whole ”Stieg Larsson” craze (which I loved, by the way). There’s just something about the Swedish culture that lends itself to taking what could be your run-of-the-mill mystery/thriller and turning it into something dark, mysterious and thrilling. If you’re like me, a fan of mystery, thrillers and intrigue but like that little “extra something Scandinavian” thrown in, I think you will really enjoy this book. Put it on your “must read” list, you won’t regret it! Thanks to Netgalley and Stockholm Text for sharing the galley with me to read.

  15. 3 out of 5

    Sara Booklover

    Ambientato in una grigia e fredda Svezia dove l'ingiustizia e la disuguaglianza sembra essere all'ordine del giorno, "La casa di pan di zenzero" è un thriller dai contenuti forti e controversi, che appassiona, stupisce e fa riflettere. Tratta tematiche attuali e pone spesso interrogativi ai quali è difficile dare una risposta. La presunta innocenza dell'infanzia ha qualche fondamento o è soltanto un mito da sfatare? Possono le azioni degli altri condizionarci a tal punto da rovinarci completamen Ambientato in una grigia e fredda Svezia dove l'ingiustizia e la disuguaglianza sembra essere all'ordine del giorno, "La casa di pan di zenzero" è un thriller dai contenuti forti e controversi, che appassiona, stupisce e fa riflettere. Tratta tematiche attuali e pone spesso interrogativi ai quali è difficile dare una risposta. La presunta innocenza dell'infanzia ha qualche fondamento o è soltanto un mito da sfatare? Possono le azioni degli altri condizionarci a tal punto da rovinarci completamente la vita? Quanto a lungo può attendere la vendetta? Io stessa ho spesso cercato di fare chiarezza nella mia mente per stabilire i miei pensieri a riguardo, ma è davvero difficile comprendere tutte le debolezze dell'animo umano. Ma Thomas, uno dei personaggi di questo libro, non ha dubbi: la sua vita è stata rovinata per colpa dei suoi compagni dell'asilo. Per colpa delle loro continue violenze fisiche e psicologiche la sua vita è completamente distrutta. E anche dopo quasi quarant'anni quei ricordi non gli danno pace, il rancore è ancora vivo come un marchio a fuoco. Perché è a causa dei soprusi subiti che ha perso completamente la fiducia in sé stesso e non è riuscito a riscattarsi. E quando per caso per strada incontra Hans, il più terribile e sadico di quei bambini, e scopre che crescendo è diventato un uomo completamente felice, amato e capace di amare allora la sua rabbia esplode! Ma sarà compito della polizia di Hammarby fare chiarezza sull'origine delle morti improvvise e a catena che colpiranno alcuni quarantaquattrenni svedesi all'apparenza senza legami tra loro... e la verità sarà più incredibile di ogni supposizione...! Da parte mia ho trovato questo libro davvero scritto bene, dallo stile scorrevole e dinamico e dalla trama ricca di collegamenti e ben congeniata. Ne sono rimasta completamente rapita e ho terminato la lettura in soli 2 giorni perché ero curiosissima di scoprire il finale; un finale che devo ammettere mi ha colta piacevolmente impreparata: è giunto in sordina e inaspettato proprio come ogni gran thriller degno di questo nome! Sono rimasta solo un po' delusa di non aver scoperto la risoluzione del mistero che faceva di contorno alla storia principale, quella che vede come protagonista la poliziotta Pedra. Subito devo ammettere che non riuscivo a farmi una ragione di tale "mancanza", ma poi mi è venuto in mente che il libro fa parte di una serie e quindi è probabile (spero!!!) che la situazione rimasta in sospeso continui nel prossimo volume.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    This is my first read of this author and if not for spelling a character's name 2 different ways I'd have given it 5*. Even then I was torn but for me, to get your own characters' names mispelled is a massive transgression and somebody out there (aside from myself) really should have noticed it. I loved an expression used rather than be hugged by a dirty kid-"Just hug with your face".....great. Another one that made me laugh aloud was "Only Jesus thinks that children are good". I LOVE that one ! I This is my first read of this author and if not for spelling a character's name 2 different ways I'd have given it 5*. Even then I was torn but for me, to get your own characters' names mispelled is a massive transgression and somebody out there (aside from myself) really should have noticed it. I loved an expression used rather than be hugged by a dirty kid-"Just hug with your face".....great. Another one that made me laugh aloud was "Only Jesus thinks that children are good". I LOVE that one ! I only spotted a couple of apostrophe errors as well which was good going but Christopher becoming Cristoffer was a huge no-no. She also listed some towns beginning with K but put Katrineberg twice so perhaps should've thrown a Katrineburg in there if one exists. She also used incurred where I'd have put inflicted to make better sense. The story wasn't really anything earth-shattering or new but set in a different country with a whole new host of characters who were interesting to meet. I really like Conny and his wife a lot. It was super to read of his interactions with his kids. I had a sense of satisfaction for one character in particular at the end as things were changing for him, which was a good thing. Certainly scope for a lot more stories and I'll definitely read more of the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Mann

    This might be a 5-star rating by the time I finish. It's a very engaging book! I like some of the nuances that flow from it having been written in Swedish and translated into English. Every once in a while there's a slight error in translation -- nothing so garish as to confuse the meaning, just fun little instances of not being quite on target with an idiom of a grammatical convention -- not so many as to become annoying, though. Written from various characters' perspectives in a way that usher This might be a 5-star rating by the time I finish. It's a very engaging book! I like some of the nuances that flow from it having been written in Swedish and translated into English. Every once in a while there's a slight error in translation -- nothing so garish as to confuse the meaning, just fun little instances of not being quite on target with an idiom of a grammatical convention -- not so many as to become annoying, though. Written from various characters' perspectives in a way that ushers you easily right into their lives, this book is hard for me to put down! *** 8/9/2012 Yes, now that I have finished the book, I have indeed upped my rating from 4 stars to 5 -- largely due to the fact that the reader is kept in suspense nearly until the end, and even once you pretty much figure things out, you are still intrigued to find out precisely how the author will wrap everything up. Great read!

  18. 3 out of 5

    Christina

    An English language translation from the Swedish, this mystery novel is a tight thriller. Conny Sjoberg is a police detective who is working on the case of a 44-year old man found murdered in the kitchen of a seemingly unrelated woman. Is there really a connection? When other 44-year old victims turn up murdered as well, the police must race to find a pattern and the killer. This mystery easily kept my attention throughout. It seemed to be well translated with no language issues. It kept me guess An English language translation from the Swedish, this mystery novel is a tight thriller. Conny Sjoberg is a police detective who is working on the case of a 44-year old man found murdered in the kitchen of a seemingly unrelated woman. Is there really a connection? When other 44-year old victims turn up murdered as well, the police must race to find a pattern and the killer. This mystery easily kept my attention throughout. It seemed to be well translated with no language issues. It kept me guessing about different parts of the mystery and I liked the characters. There was a side story that wasn't really resolved, which was a bit disappointing, although it really was a very small part of the book. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Esmeralda

    This book is supposed to be the beginning of a crime series and I certainly want to read more. I haven't read any other Scandinavian crime fiction books and I guess this was a good place to start. In this book the author explores the effects of bullying on young children. This theme is certainly relevant after tragedies like the Columbine massacre. The bullying occurs in preschool and the teacher does not want to get involved. One of the bullied children winds up being a serial killer, seeking re This book is supposed to be the beginning of a crime series and I certainly want to read more. I haven't read any other Scandinavian crime fiction books and I guess this was a good place to start. In this book the author explores the effects of bullying on young children. This theme is certainly relevant after tragedies like the Columbine massacre. The bullying occurs in preschool and the teacher does not want to get involved. One of the bullied children winds up being a serial killer, seeking revenge many years later. This book does have it twist and turns. Recommended for anyone who likes crime novels.

  20. 3 out of 5

    Carolina

    Jag är inte alls mycket för deckare - har aldrig varit. Men denna var riktigt spännande. Just att man inte visste vem som var mördaren hur man än luskade förrän mot precis slutet var riktigt kul. Denna gillade jag massor trots att den var rätt hemsk emellanåt. Får se om jag fortsätter med nästa del i serien.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Ulla

    Nästan ända till slutet tyckte jag att den här boken var helt fantastisk och jag ville ge den 5 stjärnor. Men slutet var litet för abrupt och jag kände mig litet besviken!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    4.5 stars Totally addicting, fast-paced crime novel, read it in less than 24 hours. I had some issues with a couple of violent scenes but overall I loved it and I can't wait to read the next one!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda Karlsson

    Såå bra , vill redan kasta mig över nästa del Mamma, pappa, barn ....

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jpucino

    I read this on my Kindle; I thought this was a great story! I was a little disappointed at the sort of abrupt ending, but maybe I was just wishing there was more. I recommend this book for sure!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Asta Elizabeth

    OH MY CREEP! - No, seriously. Wow. Ok. Breathe in, breathe out. FREAK OUT OMFG

  26. 3 out of 5

    Nina Ruthström

    Till bokens försvar ska först och främst yttras att jag gillar inte deckare. Med det sagt, måste jag tyvärr meddela att det här var närmast plågsam läsning (lyssning). Har ingen förklaring till varför jag tog mig igenom hela. Var tvungen att få veta om det var en så banal historia som jag trodde. Jag visste vem mördaren var väldigt tidigt i historien. Det blir ju störande med tanke på att det finns ingen annan anledning än just för storyn att läsa denna bok. Trist då när själva handlingen är kas Till bokens försvar ska först och främst yttras att jag gillar inte deckare. Med det sagt, måste jag tyvärr meddela att det här var närmast plågsam läsning (lyssning). Har ingen förklaring till varför jag tog mig igenom hela. Var tvungen att få veta om det var en så banal historia som jag trodde. Jag visste vem mördaren var väldigt tidigt i historien. Det blir ju störande med tanke på att det finns ingen annan anledning än just för storyn att läsa denna bok. Trist då när själva handlingen är kass. Sen stör jag mig på ”Sjöberg” och Åsa och deras fem perfekta barn - den heterosexuella kärnfamiljsutopin som aldrig funnits i verkligheten. Fem barn men hon bara ler och pussar honom när Sjöberg (?) måste iväg på polisjobb (som sköts uruselt - de fattar ju ingenting) och hon får sköta nattningen själv. De lagar fina middagar tillsammans utan tjafs och alla hjälper till. Troligt! (De grälar dock vid ett tillfälle, uppskattas.) Libanons historia plötsligt... eh va? Hörde ju inte ihop med något alls. Detaljbeskrivningarna av mördade kvinnokroppar och misshandlade barn, kvinnan som självtvivlar efter att blivit våldtagen jada jada inget nytt bara gammalt uttjatat blä. Lägg sedan till många språkliga konstigheter så har du en svag ⭐️⭐️

  27. 3 out of 5

    loopyloulaura

    I have not experienced Scandinavian crime fiction before despite the popularity of TV shows and books in recent years. I bought this book months ago as part of a special offer and finally got around to reading it: I’m annoyed I waited! A man is killed at the home of an elderly woman who finds his body on her return from hospital. The plot centres around a group of children who bullied another. Now it is time for revenge… In an additional sub plot, one for the police officers on the case believes s I have not experienced Scandinavian crime fiction before despite the popularity of TV shows and books in recent years. I bought this book months ago as part of a special offer and finally got around to reading it: I’m annoyed I waited! A man is killed at the home of an elderly woman who finds his body on her return from hospital. The plot centres around a group of children who bullied another. Now it is time for revenge… In an additional sub plot, one for the police officers on the case believes she had been drugged and date raped but doesn’t want her colleagues to find out. I admit that I really didn’t like this new strand when it was introduced as I wanted to focus on the main plot but by the end of the book I had my fingers crossed that the perpetrator would be brought to justice. There is a huge twist just 40 pages from the end. Jaw dropping, literally! I really enjoyed this book and have just found out that it is the first of a series involved the police team so am hoping to buy some more!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hekate

    Tai buvo pirmasis mano perskaitytas detektyvas... Kadangi knygų skaitymą, kaip pomėgį, atradau visai neseniai, tad ir knygų mano bagaže nėra daug. Neturiu su kuo palyginti, tad duodu šiai knygai 4 žvaigždutes. Veiksmas buvo, istorija gera. Labai patiko, kad pasakojama buvo iš kelių asmenų pusės, tad buvo neįmanoma nuobodžiauti skaitant knygą. Žiauriai nustebino knygos pabaiga, tai buvo didžiulė staigmena. Net perverčiau dar sykį žudiko dienoraščius, kad prisiminti, kokiu asmeniu buvo kalbėta.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    took a while to get into great twist at the end

  30. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    The book opens in the 60s with some horrific schoolyard bullying by 6 year olds which their teacher blatantly ignores. The children see this as tacit permission to continue torturing 2 of their less fortunate classmates. Fast forward 40 years to 2006. We meet the now docile and completely shut down Timothy and the first victim. By the end of this chapter we know the who, the how and they why and I have guessed the storyline. I guessed right. The first killing happens in an empty house, and an eld The book opens in the 60s with some horrific schoolyard bullying by 6 year olds which their teacher blatantly ignores. The children see this as tacit permission to continue torturing 2 of their less fortunate classmates. Fast forward 40 years to 2006. We meet the now docile and completely shut down Timothy and the first victim. By the end of this chapter we know the who, the how and they why and I have guessed the storyline. I guessed right. The first killing happens in an empty house, and an elderly lady comes home to find a body in her kitchen. Very reminiscent of Camilla Lackberg’s Ice Princess. The book is filled with chapters telling the reader of Detective Conny Sjoberg’s home life, but we care so little for the detective that his home life is not meaningful. And this detective’s homelife storyline is again, really similar to the Lackberg detective’s home life. The murders are sprinkled between home life stories – the kids, cooking for dinner parties, going out to dinner parties, how much he loves his wife etc etc. Then a little further in there is a completely irrelevant chapter where two of the murder squad team go out for a drink; Petra who’s a fitness nut and Jamal, her middle eastern police partner which is followed by Petra meeting a man in the same bar, being drugged with rohypnol, raped etc. The perpetrator doesn’t know she’s a cop and she surreptitiously does all her own forensics and gets even. Why is this chapter in the book? It isn’t germane to the storyline at all. I was disturbed by this rape chapter for two reasons: a) it was irrelevant to the storyline and b) it was too similar to a scene in Ian Hamilton’s “Scottish Banker of Sorabya”. You read both of these chapters and tell me what you think. Personally speaking, I like how Ava Lee handles the situation much better. Also in the book there is a “perky” police receptionist, again really similar to the “perky” receptionist you find in all of the Camilla Lackberg novels and the Lars Keplar novels. These all may very well be merely coincidences, but it seems like a lot of them and I’m a bit cynical. The ending was very abrupt and I found it made no sense to the story line and left questions. So, overall, I found this author a pale imitation of Camilla Lackberg’s rather dull detective stories and not in the same league as the Lars Keplar more action packed stories, and not as well written. Does it compare to books by Charles Todd, Louise Penny or Pierre LeMaitre? Not by a longshot. There is no complexity of storyline and character, you are not kept guessing by anything and nothing surprises. Will it sell well? It will depend on publicity and marketing, I think. I’m like many other readers who think Steig Larsson was bloated and desperately in need of editing, so that really doesn’t endear this author to me using that ploy. Book #1 was good, but too long; #2 turgid and I didn’t finish it, and #3 I didn’t even buy. The Gingerbread House actually reads like a movie script, to be frank. And, I think it could make a half decent movie and I think that’s how it was written by the author – as a script. If it sells to Hollywood, remember, you heard it here first!

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