The Stranger, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


To avoid disappointment please note this novel was previously titled THE GALLOWS BIRD.

Scandinavian crime sensation and No. 1 international bestseller, Camilla Lackberg's fourth psychological thriller - for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo NesboA local woman is killed in a tragic car crash.

It's a strange accident - the victim's blood contains high alcohol levels, but she rarely drank a drop.

The case marks the end of a quiet winter for Detective Patrik Hedstrom.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.

Under the unforgiving media spotlight, Patrik tackles his toughest investigation yet...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780007253999

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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

I really enjoy Camilla Lackberg’s books involving Patrik and Erica. They are good, solid crime reads which have the added bonus of a detective in a healthy, mainly happy relationship (take that, Kurt Wallender). I like the balance of the civilian Erica, with her family/wedding problems to Patrik’s police issues.This book is known by two different titles – beware picking them both up. The Gallows Bird was the title in the UK, but in Australia and Singapore, I’ve seen it called The Stranger. Why? I can’t figure it out. Neither title gives huge clues to what’s inside.In this book, several crimes have been committed. A woman is found dead after running into a tree. She was very drunk and it is suggested that she was drink driving. Meanwhile, a reality programme, Sodding Tatum (excellent name) starts filming nearby. It contains winners and popular contestants from a range of programmes from Big Brother to Jersey Shore type shows. What the aim of the show is was never clear, but seems to involve conflict, drinking and sex. However, Sodding Tatum goes one step beyond the normal realms of reality TV when a contestant is found murdered. Patrik of course is on the case, but can he and his team (including new recruit Hanna) link up the reasons for these depths.What I like about Lackberg’s books is that the crimes are not formulaic – there are elements of the effect on the victims (such as the drink driver’s daughter) and how they shape the future. Having the wedding of Patrik and Erica going on in the background was also a nice light touch to the dramatic murders.Despite this being a series, you can read them in any order. The only spoiler is the relationship between Erica and Patrik progressing! The story ends on a teasing note, which segues rather nicely into the next book. A cheap trick? Not for me, I’ll keep reading no matter what!Definitely one of the better crime series out there.

Review by

If you are the type of reader who prefers police procedurals to remain focused on the investigation and to have little to say about anything else, Camilla Läckberg's series is not the one for you. In these Hedström and Falck novels, the lives of the police officers are every bit as important as the investigations they work on. For character-driven readers like me, they're perfect to immerse myself in when I'm in the mood to spend time with characters who've come to feel as though they're friends. You also never know just what's going to happen, because the lives of these characters do not run smoothly. Hedström and Falck have had to learn how to be a couple, how to juggle their separate careers, and how to be parents. Erika's sister and her two children have had a very difficult time of their own, and we get to see them adjusting to a new chapter in their lives. We know what's going on in the lives of each person who works with Patrik-- even Melberg, the boss who drives everyone insane. Melberg's private life comes into the spotlight for a while in The Stranger, and this glimpse gives him an added depth that the usual pain-in-the-neck boss just doesn't have in the typical police procedural. The individual cast members of the reality TV show also come under scrutiny since they are all considered suspects. It does sound like a huge cast, but I had no difficulties in keeping everyone straight.The only thing that kept The Stranger from becoming one of my top reads for the year was the fact that the identity of the killer was crystal clear to me very early on. However, I certainly did enjoy watching Hedström and his team conduct their investigations into the two deaths, finding clues and piecing them together in this strongest book of the series so far.If you like to learn a bit about another country, be a part of intricate investigations, and immerse yourself in the lives of fictional characters, then I certainly recommend crime fiction written by Camilla Läckberg.

Review by

Synopsis/blurb......To avoid disappointment, please note this book was previously published under the title THE GALLOWS BIRD. Swedish crime sensation and No. 1 international bestseller, Camilla Lackberg’s fourth psychological thriller - for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. A woman is found dead, apparently the victim of a tragic car crash. It’s the first in a spate of seemingly inexplicable accidents in Tanumshede and marks the end of a quiet winter for detective Patrik Hedström and his colleagues. At the same time a reality TV show is being shot in the town. As cameras shadow the stars’ every move, relations with the locals are strained to breaking point. When a drunken party ends with a particularly unpopular contestant’s murder, the cast and crew are obvious suspects. Could there be a killer in their midst? As the country tunes in, the bodies mount up. Under the intense glare of the media spotlight, Patrik faces his toughest investigation yet…My wife read this about a month ago, and was quite insistent that I get to it. After all I had inflicted it on her. Suffice to say she didn’t particularly enjoy it much; ok - not at all then! I’ve been avoiding it for a couple of weeks, in the hope I could delay it until May and count it as my Scandinavian read for the month which is one of my own personal reading challenges in 2013. One of the many things I love about my wife is her persistence!This was a 390’ish page book where not very much seemed to happen at the beginning, other than we spend a lot of time with the chief investigator’s family. In fact throughout the book we spend a lot of time with Hedstrom’s wife, Erica and sister, Anna......who I’m guessing suffered some “event” in one of the author’s previous books. Most of the time, I enjoy stories where detectives or investigators personal lives are shown to us. I need to see another side to them, apart from the job. It adds flesh to their bones and gives them substance. Here it bored me unfortunately.After maybe the halfway point the pace picked up a bit and there were some interesting developments. The investigation into the car crash victim developed with other similar cases uncovered. I did guess the identity of the killer early, and as I’m no Sherlock Holmes perhaps it wasn’t concealed as cunningly as the author thought it had been. Conversely, it could have been her intention to telegraph the culprit to the reader. She did cleverly link the two crimes of reality show murder victim and drunk driver together.The supporting cast of police investigators were on the whole likeable and fairly believable. Perhaps my favourite was Gosta. Initially jaded and uninterested, counting down the days until he could get out on the golf course; he became invigorated and brought his A-game to the investigation. Maybe his transformation stretched the bounds of credibility a little bit, but as I liked him I’ll buy this one.There were a couple more downsides to the book in my opinion. I felt the minor back story with the chief of police, Mellberg was clichéd and predictable. The ending where she served up a hook for her next book was annoying, irritating and blatantly unsubtle and patronising to an intelligent readership. I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, despite the gripes mentioned above. I do have another book of hers to read, The Drowning. It won’t be something I’ll be rushing to in a hurry. As a further sidenote, my 2012 edition states that the author was the 9th best-selling author in Europe in the previous year. She must have a very big family, I reckon. 2 from 5 I bought this new for my wife earlier this year from Buzzard Books in my hometown. Perhaps I need help when shopping for my wife?

Review by

When a woman is found dead in a single car accident on the side of the road, reeking of alcohol and with an empty bottle on the floorboards, Patrick begins to wonder if this was in fact an accident or a homicide. With the help of Erica, his fiancée, and his fellow police officers Patrick begins an investigation into this woman's death - not knowing that he will uncover a serial killer. The questions he must answer are: who is this killer, why this woman, and can the police catch them before another person dies? Will Patrick be able to figure it out in time?<br/><br/>Lackberg is an expert at plot development, description, and character perspective. Fjallbacka, Sweden comes to life in her writings. A continuation of her Patrick Hedstrom series, "The Stranger" will make you gasp at the tragedy and horrors that humans are capable of committing upon each other. Lackberg has the ability to dig into the human soul, extracting motivations and being able to put the human psyche in all its black and white onto a page.

Review by

No wonder the author writes about her home town but lives else where - there are nearly as many murders as in an english Midsommer town!!!

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