Translation (c) 2011 by Erik J. Macki, Tara F. Chase
Published in the US by Pegasus, a Simon & Schuster imprint
Wandering around Barnes & Noble over the weekend, I gathered up several books to check out and possibly buy. Most of the books I picked up were on my “check out” list, but the cover and title of this one caught my eye. Even before I read the summary, the quote from Camilla Lackberg sold me on the book. (It just happens that this is the only book I bought — the others are going to be library books.)
An online flirtation can have horrific consequences, as Detective Inspector Louise Rick discovers when she is called to an idyllic Copenhagen neighborhood where a young woman has been left bound and gagged after a profoundly brutal rape attack. Susanne Hansson met her rapist on a popular dating website; reading the assailant is trolling the site for his next target, Louise is determined to cut hi off at the pass. But then a new victim is found — dead this time — and the case becomes even more complex when Susanne attempts suicide. From scanning seemingly innocent singles’ profiles to exploring a digital window on the city’s dark and dangerous nightlife, to understanding a troubled mother-daughter relationship, Louise races to uncover the shocking truth behind the crimes.
Call Me Princess is an enjoyable, quickly-paced procedural novel. It’s a thriller, in the sense that rapist-killer is being hunted, but it didn’t feel oppressive in the way that thrillers often can. The material — violent rape and the ramifications, along with the difficulty of investigating and prosecuting the crime — is heavy and dark, yet the books doesn’t ever bog down. Blaedel balances Rick’s personal observations and involvement in the case with the procedural aspects, along with what’s going on in her personal life.
I thought the subject matter was very timely and current. Most people I know, single, divorced, widowed, everyone who has been uncoupled for any period time in the last decade or so, has eventually tried online dating; among the women, security/risk of it is something they are extremely conscious of, especially after reading horror stories in the news (because of course the Very Bad Dates get press but the average or good dates do not). Blaedel uses Rick’s personal life as a reflection point for the dating scene generally — she feels safe, but is she? — and also the online dating experience of another character as a foil to the victims’ suffering and the online trolling Rick does in a professional capacity. It works very well, I thought, the triangulation of the failed online date, the apparently successful online date, and the apparently successful not-online relationship.
Blaedel’s website (in Danish) includes a booklist that places Call Me Princess as second in the Rick series, so I’m curious about the degree of involvement/development of other characters in the first and subsequent books. The other book available in English, Only One Life, is actually the third book of the series. I hope all the books get translated eventually, particularly the first one. (Why do publishers translate and publish series out of order? It’s frustrating for mildly OCDish people like me who really need to read series in order.)
I’ll definitely be reading more from this author, as quickly as it’s translated and published in English.