Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Call Me Princess by Sara Blædel

Title: Call Me Princess
Author: Sara Blædel

Genre: Fiction (Crime / Mystery / Denmark / Police Procedural )
Publisher/Publication Date: Pegasus Book (8/16/2011)
Source: NetGalley

Rating: Okay
Did I finish?: Yes, but I skimmed a good deal.
One-sentence summary: Danish police detective races to find a rapist before he strikes again, all while juggling stresses in her personal life.
Reading Challenges: E-Book

Do I like the cover?: Eh -- the book is about internet dating, not the dangers of walking alone at night, so the cover doesn't feel quite right to me.

First line: The pain cut into her wrists, and she couldn't react because her hands were tied so tightly behind her back.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow if you're a Scandinavian crime fic addict and you're in need of a new fix.

Why did I get this book?: I like some crime and mystery series, and I love things set in Denmark.

Review: This is Blædel's American (or English-language) debut, which is unfortunate, because this novel is the second in Blædel's series featuring Danish detective Louise Rick. By page 44, I noted on GoodReads that I was feeling a disconnect with the characters and I wondered if it was because I was coming in midseries -- so I feel slightly vindicated that is, indeed, the case.

The novel opens with a graphic, detailed rape so I knew immediately that this wasn't going to be my kind of book. I was expecting a little more nuanced plot, but instead, the crime is straight-forward: a man is raping women he meets online. I wasn't wild about the writing style (or translation, I'm not sure which): despite the detailed scenes of violence, the rest of the book detailing the investigation felt very vague and aloof. I didn't connect with the lead character, Detective Louise Rick, her bestie Camille, or anyone else in the story. Louise had interesting potential: she displayed a mixture of empathy and impatience with the victims, which felt real to me, and I would have liked to learn more about her. Sadly, despite the foreign locale, so much of the story felt familiar, from our heroine's failing romantic life to her tension with her supervisor. I didn't get a sense of Copenhagen or Denmark, either: the story really could have been set anywhere in the US.

In the end, not a favorite for me, but something must have grabbed because now, about a week or so later, I'm still wondering about some parts of Louise's life and I've been searching for info about the possible next English-language translation in the series.


  1. Sounds interesting, but I'm not in a mystery mood right now...and I agree that cover really doesn't say internet dating to me.

  2. Ugh! Why do translated series always seem to get the order screwed up?!? I was looking in to Jo Nesbo, because he's accrued quite a few blogging fans, and I couldn't really figure out what order his books are supposed to be read in because the English releases seem to have been all janked up. I learned my lesson when I read a Dorothy L Sayers novel out of order that when it comes to series, I MUST read them chronologically!

  3. @Serena: It's a good wintry mystery, a fast read, if you're in the mood for it.

    @Steph: EXACTLY!! I can't fathom why they started with this second book as it seriously had the feel of being midseries (including hints about the first book) -- so maddening. And it doesn't have the feel of a stand alone -- it's very clear what some of the personal issues will be in the third book -- grr grr grr!

  4. I also have a problem when they translate a series out of order. It only confuses me and makes me not want to start the series. I also go back to Nesbo, whose books I really want to read, but can't find in order. As far as this book goes, it might be one that I will pass up. It sounds rather graphic and I am a little uncomfortable with a book that opens with a horrific rape scene. I was glad to have read your thoughts on it though!

  5. How frustrating to translate the series beginning with the second. It's one thing that often keeps me from trying new international crime series. After reading an unsuccessful translation last week, I've temporarily soured on translated works (until, of course, I find another amazing one.)

  6. @Heather & @Carrie: And I have to say, this wasn't such a stand out book that it makes for a logical first book/introduction to the author. It was fairly middle of the road, I thought, so I can't fathom why they picked the second book to start with. Le sigh.

  7. I got excited when you mentioned Denmark :) I like certain types of crime fiction (Nesbo's books come to mind) but it has to be really smart and sophisticated and not too bloody or graphic. This one sounds like it missed the mark for you, but it's interesting that you are looking into reading another book by the same author.

  8. Wow that has no logic at all. And even more annoying if there's many references to things that you're supposed to know.

    I don't read many mysteries but this sounds good.

  9. I met my bf online, I guess I got lucky there then... But yes the cover does not fit