‘Frozen Moment’ is Camilla Ceder’s first novel. This Swedish crime thriller seems pretty run of the mill at first. As the back cover of my edition states ‘Move over Wallander.’ Says it all, really. But I just got very hooked on this book and fast. Now, I don’t think it’s the most sophisticated book I’ve read, but it’s good for a cold winter’s night.
It opens with a grizzly murder in a remote location. A motor mechanic and sometimes photographer, Lars Waltz, is shot dead then run over. Motive – unknown. Enter jaded detective Christian Tell and his team, set to solve the case. But something doesn’t add up. The murderer is driving a hired vehicle. There’s no real motive. And there’s the strange case incident with one witness, Seja, who lies about discovering the body with her neighbor.
Then another murder occurs – in a similar mode (a man named Olof Bart), but the victims are seemingly unrelated in any way. What is the secret behind the murders of these two middle-aged men?
And then there’s the second story, threaded with the current murder case. The story of Maya, a teenager trying to find her way in the world when she herself is damaged. But what is her connect to a murder case that occur 20 years after we first meet her?
The real stand out for me with ‘Frozen Moment’ is that it delivers characters with unusual depth, and presents complex human behaviors and relationships in a well-crafted and memorable way. Her examination of the role of toxicity and enmeshment in families is understated, but somehow almost equally chilling as the murders themselves.
This insight into the dark side of human nature is probably due, in part, to Ceder’s background in social work and psychology, but brought to light by her ability to tell a good story. Her social commentary on gender roles, racism and care for children and young people in need, also adds interest.
There’s also a bit of romance between two key characters for good measure (I guess). While it reveals interesting aspects to each personality and adds some tenderness to the story, this element was, to me, the most irritating aspect. I suspect it was designed to show that sometimes emotions can get in the way of good old fashioned policin.
Anyway…if you’re into icy thrillers, you’d probably enjoy Frozen Moment. It does deliver even if it is in a pretty familiar format. Sometimes is nice to go with what you know!
Publication Date: 2010 by Orion Publishing Group
ISBN 978 0297 859475