The Crow Girl | Penguin Random House Canada

The Crow Girl

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The newest crime novel sensation: In this shocking and suspenseful psychological thriller, a police detective must confront a monstrous evil that forces her to question how much suffering one person can inflict upon another before creating a monster.

In a Stockholm city park, police discover the mutilated body of a young boy. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg heads the investigation, battling an apathetic prosecutor and a bureaucratic police force unwilling to devote resources to solving the murder of a nameless immigrant child. But with the discovery of two more children's corpses, it becomes clear that a serial killer is at large. Jeanette turns to therapist Sofia Zetterlund for her expertise in psychopathic perpetrators and their lives become increasingly intertwined, professionally and personally. As they draw closer to the truth about the killings--working together but, ultimately, each on her own--we come to understand that these murders are only the most obvious evidence of a hellishly insidious evil woven deep into Swedish society. As viscerally dramatic as it is psychologically intense, The Crow Girl is a tale of almost unfathomably heinous deeds, and of the profound damage--and the equally profound need for revenge--left in their wake.


“[F]ull of chills and spills, [Crow Girl] incorporates numerous hot-button themes, including non-European immigration, extreme-right-wing politics, and slavery, elements of an already dark tale that encompasses incest, genocide, and murder. . . . The story is well-told. . . . [Sund’s] plot snakes its way into some strange territory indeed. . . . A smart, rewarding psychological thriller, with an emphasis on both of those genre terms.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[D]eterminedly and dementedly dark. . . . [A] compulsive page-turner. . . . [R]idiculously entertaining.” —Sunday Express

“A breakneck journey through a plot of labyrinthine complexity. . . . Sund boldly places dissociative identity order at the heart of this extremely disturbing novel.” —Sunday Times (UK)

“[S]kilfully escalating suspense keeps you hooked all the way through. . . . Ultimately, this novel proves that what frightens us most are not outward acts of violence, but the quiet horrors of the human psyche.” —The Irish News 

“Brutal, upsetting and brilliantly written, it is the best crime novel of the year so far. . . . The joint authors . . . rage against misogyny and sexism. They decry child abuse and human trafficking. And, perhaps most importantly, they tell a brilliant story. . . . This novel is dark—jet-black dark. . . . The authors’ biggest triumph, however, is to make 750 pages whizz past . . . terse, direct and compelling.” —Metro (UK)  

“Erik Axl Sund—a.k.a. Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Axlander Sundquist—may look like ageing rockers (like Jo Nesbø, they were in fact rock musicians), but they share a steely command of the writerly art.” —Financial Times 

“Creepy is elevated to an art form in this tale. . . . The subject matter makes for harrowing reading at times, but skilfully escalating suspense keeps you hooked all the way through its 760-pages. Erik Axl Sund is the pseudonym for authors Jerker Eriksson and Hakan Axlander Sundquist and their Swedish original, a bestseller in their native land, has been translated into beautifully economic prose by Neil Smith, who also translates for Jo Nesbo. Ultimately, this novel proves that what frightens us most are not outward acts of violence, but the quiet horrors of the human psyche.” —The Herald 

“[T]he next big thing. . . . The Crow Girl is a pulse-pounding thriller that manages to linger on character depth and puts an emphasis on supporting characters that are usually given short shrift. With its heady mix of graphic violence, noirish thrills and social commentary, the book has all the hallmarks of Nordic noir and is a must-read for Scandinavian crime fiction enthusiasts. . . . The Crow Girl should herald a big upsurge for Nordic noir, it’s a huge book and a landmark achievement for its authors. It will definitely turn heads worldwide as a darkly delightful must-read.” —Crime Fiction Lover 

“Horrors abound in the pseudonymous Sund’s scathing first in a trilogy that rips asunder the appearance of Sweden’s contemporary welfare state to reveal just about every conceivable human crime.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] complex and very dark narrative. . . . [The Crow Girl is] not a book for the squeamish or for those who favour the cosier end of crime. . . . The narrative slowly and surely exerts an inexorable grip; its multiple timeframes do not interrupt the unerring building of tension. And, as with the best of Scandinavian crime fiction, from Henning Mankell to Stieg Larsson, there is still room for an acute element of social commentary. . . . The personalities of the women at the heart of the book (particularly the single-minded Jeanette), all driven in distinctive ways, are carefully and successfully wrought. If you’re not fazed by the daunting length and unsparing gruesomeness of The Crow Girl, you will find it to be among the most wide-ranging and forceful Scandinavian crime novels you have encountered.” —Barry Forshaw, author of The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction, Financial Times 

“[V]ery well executed. . . . [Erik Axl Sund’s] Sweden, too, is pitch perfect.” —The Guardian 

From the Hardcover edition.