Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel

Call Me Princess is an astonishing novel is preoccupied with two of the most important issues of our times: online dating and sexual assaults against women.
     The facts in this case take place in modern day Copenhagen. Detective Louise Rick is getting ready to go home after a hard day’s work, when she receives a call that puts her plans for a nice evening with her companion into hold. A woman lies in a hospital bed injured after she’s been battered and raped and she’s willing to testify about who was the person behind the attack. Things though do not turn out to be so simple, since the unfortunate woman, cannot really remember the face of the man, while the name he has given her is not his real one either. Suzanne, who lives in an apartment, just under her own mother’s home, seems to be at a loss. The shock she’s going through is quite severe and she wants badly to get over it and move on with her life, but at the same time she knows that if she doesn’t see that man behind bars she will never have peace of mind again. She also knows that now is the time to move away from her mother and the negative influence she has on her being. Rick, who from the very first moment monitors Suzanne closely, soon comes to realize that the mother is the one who inflicts the most pain on the woman’s psyche, and is determined to help her out any way she can.
     However, while these events take place, the perpetrator hits again, and this time the things get completely out of control, as his new victim, a woman called Christina ends up dead. As the two parallel cases begin to unfold the investigators soon find out that both of the women met their future rapist in some internet dating websites. In a world where people seem to be withdrawing into their own selves all the time and becoming more and more lonely, websites like that are supposed to offer a way out for those seeking their life’s partner, but at the same time they give the opportunity to some twisted souls to make true some of their most danger fantasies; and it’s exactly that world that Rick needs to infiltrate in order to achieve her goals.
     The author is not only preoccupied with the crimes but also with the personal life of her heroine. Rick seems to be a solid, strong woman; however she’s full of small weaknesses and big insecurities. For the past few months she’s been living with her boyfriend, a fact that she likes and dislikes at the same time; every now and then she thinks that she should at last have a kid, especially when she’s hanging out with her best friend’s son, but the idea also scares the shit out of her; and finally she’s trying to have some stability in her life, some set rules and practices, but of course that’s impossible since she’s married with the job. An all and all complex character, hers is.
     The world that Blaedel presents to as is somehow bleak, but not worst from our everyday reality. Right here, in these pages, we meet people trapped in their personal little boxes, sinful souls, women dressed in melancholy. Every single one of them seems to be looking for something to hold on to; either that is a brief love affair, a good old family or just a relationship. Internet for some of them is the solution, for some others the problem. But loneliness remains.
     This is a novel that talks about crime, but also about the undercurrents of society, and as such it can be read by anyone, no matter if he’s a fan of the genre or not. Where are we heading? That seems to be the question in the author’s mind, but the answer is not to be found anywhere in the text, since it lies deep within each one of us.
     Call me Princess is a great story about modern day life, written by a great writer, who seems to be able to look with a clear eye in the darkness that lurks in the heart of man. Well done.
     This book comes out in America next week.Watch a video about the book below:

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