The Gingerbread House is the first book in English by the Swedish author Carin Gerhardsen. She has a background in mathematics and has worked as a computer scientist. This novel is the first in her The Hammarby Series, which is very popular in Scandinavia and features Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and his group in the Stockholm police. So far five novels have been published in this series in Sweden.
The title, The Gingerbread House, sounds kind of cozy. But this is not a cozy book. Far from it, it is actually quite raw and brutal. In the novel Gerhardsen lets loose a murderer with deep psychological scars from childhood abuse. In a very short span of time, several bestial murders take place in Stockholm. Soon it becomes clear that there is a serial killer out there. Are the murders completely random, or is there some common factor that links the victims to one another?
The story in this wonderful crime fiction novel is scary and brutal, but even so it is quite believable. It is well-told and in many ways evocative. It explores the uninhibited cruelty of children and the deep wounds thoughtless acts may create, and how such scars over time may grow and take possession of even grown-up minds when the conditions are right. Gerhardsen is a great observer and her descriptions are almost too good and to the point. Her characters are very authentic and interesting.
I enjoyed reading The Gingerbread House. It made me think, was entertaining, quite suspenseful and had some plot twists that completely surprised me. I liked Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and his team, and will be looking forward to the next book in this series!