(June 15, 2010 - Pegasus)
At the start of Läckberg's haunting U.S. debut, the first of her seven novels set in the Swedish coastal town of Fjällbacka, biographer Erica Falck returns home to sort through her deceased parents' belongings and work on her next book. But this is not the same hometown she grew up in. Summer tourists are turning the former fishing village into a thriving resort, and Erica's controlling brother-in-law is pressuring her to cash in by selling the family home. The apparent suicide of childhood friend Alexandra Wijkner contributes to Erica's grief. Once inseparable, they drifted apart before Alex's family abruptly moved away, and Erica feels compelled to write a novel about why the beautiful Alex would kill herself. Läckberg skillfully details how horrific secrets are never completely buried and how silence can kill the soul. A parallel between the town's downward spiral and the fate of one of Fjällbacka's wealthiest families adds texture.