Kråkflickan The Crow Girl

Victoria Bergman #1

Psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund is treating two fascinating clients: Samuel Bai, a child soldier from Sierra Leone, and Victoria Bergman, a middle-aged woman struggling to cope with a deep, unhealed wound from her childhood. Two individuals with the same problem: they both show symptoms of MPD, or multiple personality disorder.

Meanwhile, a young boy is found dead in a park in central Stockholm. The body has suffered appalling abuse. He appears to be of foreign origin, and the case is given a low priority when no trace of the boy’s identity can be found. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg and therapist Sofia Zetterlund are faced with the same question: how much suffering can one human being inflict on others before they themselves cease to be human and become a monster?

As the two women find themselves increasingly drawn to each other, paranoia, deceit and horrifying secrets threaten the cosy idyll of Old Enskede in the Stockholm suburbs. The Crow Girl is a powerful thriller about betrayal, and what it can do to people. The Crow Girl is the first part of the trilogy about Victoria Bergman.


Shortlisted for the Mörda Award (Captivating Crime in Translation) UK 2016
Close award list


  • The Crow Girl is a psychological crime novel that stands out on the ever-growing crime fiction market. As a reader you are surprised over and over again by the twists and turns and dead ends the two women stray into, at the same time as one gets disgusted and frightened by how childhood abuse can destroy a human being.”

    Helsingør Dagblad, Denmark

  • The Crow Girl is a psychological thriller that will take you to the darkest corners of human insanity. /…/ In a direct and sharp style without embellishments, the authors portray a painful dimension with a stunning strength that will leave readers breathless.”, Italy

  • “A profoundly frightening novel, a dark fairy tale that stands out in the Scandinavian crime fiction tradition. /…/ This novel is a psychological noir that analyzes the human soul and digs deeply into human vices, repressed, subconscious perversions, and the inherent violence of the human nature.”, Italy

  • “Erik Axl Sund’s style is in perfect harmony with the story they tell. This aspect makes their thriller easy to read, engaging and absorbing.”

    Panorama, Italy

  • “A raw and dark thriller, but at the same time elegant.”

    Barisera, Italy

  • “A Swedish thriller destined to become a literary sensation, written by an eclectic Swedish writing duo. /…/ An original voice, tough and dark, that stands out in the Swedish literary world.”

    Uomini & Business, Italy

  • “Erik Axl Sund has created an hypnotically fascinating story. The Crow Girl is a book that is full of violence and hard to put down.”

    Pravda Magazín, Slovakia

  • “A staggering thriller that keeps you off balance. For readers with a strong stomach, since it’s not just about the killing, there’s a macabre and cruel plan behind it all.”

    Esta, Netherlands

  • The Crow Girl is a thriller that resembles a house. A cold, dark house full of sinister secrets.”, Netherlands

  • The Crow Girl is a creepy thriller in which two extremes gradually crawl toward each other. /…/ The authors have a thorough knowledge of psychological patterns, and also know how to create an astonishing finale.”, Netherlands

  • The Crow Girl is a strange book where the tension only starts three quarters in – but then it really starts getting creepy – and it ends with a cliffhanger that makes sure you want to buy the second book as well.”

    NRC Next, Netherlands

  • “Very suspenseful.”

    Trouw, Netherlands

  • “The grand finale comes as a huge shock and the writers keep you in anxious uncertainty. We are looking forward to the next book.”

    VN Detective & Thriller Guide, Netherlands

  • “This is a debut out of the ordinary! Here, two author buddies have written something that really stands out from the published books I’ve had a chance to read. In fact, The Crow Girl is terrible. No, wrong expression. It’s a harrowing story that unfortunately feels very believable. /…/ Throughout this novel runs an undercurrent of impending threat, a creeping sense of danger that is very palpable also for the reader. It’s almost impossible to stop reading. It’s a good thing some of the chapters are quite short, sometimes just one page, so that one can get some respite. But good luck trying to avoid continuing reading… I’m impressed.”

    Gefle Dagblad, Sweden

  • “Oh no, I certainly do not like psychopathic serial killers who lock people up and torture them to death, not one bit… No, I don’t like those kinds of crime novels. Apart from Val McDermid’s The Mermaid’s Singing and The Wire in the Blood which are exceptional – and now also The Crow Girl by the debut author duo Erik Axl Sund. /…/ So, I surrender. I will not mock choices of subject any more. You can write about what the heck you want, as long as you do it well. Like Erik Axl Sund.”

    Dagens Nyheter, Sweden

  • “Certain stories creep under your skin. As an experienced thriller reader one can usually distance oneself from the depictions of violence that today’s crime fiction offers, but sometimes one cannot fend it off. The Crow Girl is one of those books. It is a very dark story. The author duo known as Erik Axl Sund offers no liberating solutions in their debut. /…/ An incredibly strong story by two authors who indisputably know how to write both engagingly and suspensefully, and who don’t flinch at illustrating the most loathsome acts without mincing words.”

    Sydsvenskan, Sweden

  • “The new Millennium.”

    Le Parisien, France

  • “The trilogy is probably the best thing that has happened in this genre after Stieg Larsson, and maybe even before him.”

    Kansan Uutiset, Finland

  • “The first book of this psychological thriller trilogy is in its creepiness the best thing that has been published in the crime scene in a long time. The only thing worth spoiling about the book is that it is exceptionally well written and the plot is both eventful and extremely interesting.”

    Metro, Finland

  • “The magnificent opening for the trilogy of darkness.”

    Torun Sanomat, Finland

  • “Erik Axl Sund really goes one step further in criminal thriller tradition.”

    Díaria de Notícias, Portugal

  • “The best souvenir from Sweden right now.”

    Jornal I, Portugal

  • “I’m still stunned by what I’ve just read! We’re still in March, but this is undoubtedly one of the best reads of this year. It’s disturbing, shocking, scary and awesome. Definitely recommended for fans of darker literature.”

    A Menina dos Policiais, Portugal

  • “A tense, violent and unvarnished narrative, written bluntly. In spite of all the darkness around characters and places, every time you put the book aside in order to breath, you can't help but grab it back, because you want to unravel the secrets hidden in each page. Chilling, intense, macabre.”

    Destante, Portugal

  • “Excellent debut.”

    Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

  • “First-class thriller for readers with nerves of steel.”

    Flesh Gwiazdy & Styl, Poland

  • “A dark, hypnotic and captivating novel.”

    La Gazette, France

  • “The fourth Millennium? / …/ The Crow Girl is perhaps the first generational thriller of its kind.”

    La Page des libraires, France

  • The Crow Girl goes beyond the borders of the mere crime fiction novel.”

    GQ, France

  • “The most haunting and shocking book which I've read since Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Cosmopolitan, Germany

  • “A gigantic book that lets Stieg Larsson, may God rest his soul, and actually all Scandinavian horror and crime specialists look like highly sensitive orphans”

    Die Welt, Germany

  • “This trilogy is likely the best thing to have happened to Swedish crime fiction tradition since Stieg Larsson.”

    El Mundo, Spain

  • “Brutal, upsetting and brilliantly written, it is the best crime novel of the year so far /…/ The joint authors rage against misogyny and sexism. They decry child abuse and human trafficking. And, perhaps most importantly, they tell a brilliant story. This novel is dark – jet-black dark. /…/ The authors’ biggest triumph, however, is to make 750 pages whizz past /…/ terse, direct and compelling.”

    Metro, UK

  • “A breakneck journey through a plot of labyrinthine complexity … Sund boldly places dissociative identity order at the heart of this extremely disturbing novel”

    Sunday Times, UK

  • “[A] challenging multifaceted descent into the abyss of evil and madness.”

    Publishers Weekly, US

  • “Make sure you are not home alone when you tackle this Scandinavian thriller …. Creepy is elevated to an art form in this tale of dysfunctional characters, peppered with paedophilia, guilt, pain, powerlessness, denial and betrayal. The subject matter makes for harrowing reading at times, but skilfully escalating suspense keeps you hooked all the way through its 760-pages. … translated into beautifully economic prose by Neil Smith, who also translates for Jo Nesbo. Ultimately, this novel proves that what frightens us most are not outward acts of violence, but the quiet horrors of the human psyche.”

    The Irish News, Ireland

  • “A compulsive page-turner /…/ There is so much action in its 768 pages that it’s easy to become overwhelmed but it is ridiculously entertaining.”

    Sunday Express, UK

  • “Dark, powerful, disturbing and creepy.”

    The Times, UK

  • “[A] gruesome, compelling and deeply unsettling debut thriller /…/ This is Nordic uber-noir, so dark and uncomfortable that it is like wading through a sewer. /…/ we are left gasping for breath. ”

    Daily Mail, UK

  • “Thriller of the Month. /…/ The most disturbing book you’ll read all year. /…/ There’s a fantastic twist in store, very well executed, and a successful conclusion for the complex web of evil Sund weaves over the course of the novel. His Sweden, too, is pitch-perfect and the sheer over-the-top awfulness of it all is clearly recognized by the author. /…/ There’s obviously always darkness in store in thrillers, but The Crow Girl feels like it’s taken a step further into the night.”

    The Observer, UK

  • “The Swedish thriller tipped to make a killing.”

    The Guardian, UK

  • “Skilfully escalating suspense keeps you hooked through its 760-pages. This novel proves that what frightens us most are not acts of violence, but quiet horrors of the human psyche.”

    Press Association, UK

  • “[A] breakout novel /…/ peddling high-concept stories [with a] compelling voice.”

    Wall Street Journal, US

  • “Written in an unadorned but fiercely concentrated style /…/ [The Crow Girl] takes the reader down the mean streets of Stockholm to minatory locales where unspeakable deeds are done. The personalities of the women at the heart of the book (particularly the single-minded Jeanette), all driven in distinctive ways, are carefully and successfully wrought. The narrative slowly and surely exerts an inexorable grip; its multiple timeframes do not interrupt the unerring building of tension. And, as with the best of Scandinavian crime fiction, from Henning Mankell to Stieg Larsson, there is still room for an acute element of social commentary. Like Mankell and Larsson, the Erik Axl Sund duo are careful to present an unvarnished picture of their society, some distance from the smoothly functioning social democracy that British readers once imagined the country to be. /…/ If you’re not fazed by the daunting length and unsparing gruesomeness of The Crow Girl, you will find it to be among the most wide-ranging and forceful Scandinavian crime novels you have encountered.”

    Financial Times, UK

  • “[A] hit across continental Europe. It’s easy to see why /…/ A smart, rewarding psychological thriller, with an emphasis on both of those genre terms.”

    Kirkus Reviews, US

  • “The reader is immediately sucked into a grim world where no one is who they seem, where lies are told and revised. To say much more would spoil the tangled, engrossing web this best-selling, award-winning psychological thriller weaves. /…/ This disturbingly fascinating look at revenge, abuse, and the impact of childhood on adult choices is not for the faint of heart, but it is highly recommended for those that appreciate dark, psychological mysteries.”

    Library Journal, US

  • “It’s an extraordinary, complex, unpredictable piece of work that clocks in at over 700 pages! But don’t let the size put you off — you won’t be able to stop turning the pages.”

    New York Post, US

  • “What is it about Sweden that produces such deliciously, darkly off-kilter thrillers, featuring idiosyncratic, complex characters such as Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and now Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg? As Kihlberg investigates a killer who targets immigrant children, she must deal with xenophobia, extreme right-wing politics, and other hot-button issues that only deepen our morbid fascination.”

    O Magazine, US

Photo: Sandy Haggart Erik Axl Sund
  • Crime
Reading material

Swedish edition

Rights sold

Brazil, Companhia das Letras

Bulgaria, Era

Canada, Penguin Random House

Catalonia, Empúries

Czech Republic, Euromedia

Denmark, Lindhardt og Ringhof

Estonia, Varrak

Finland, Otava

France, Actes Sud

Germany, Goldmann

Hungary, Libri

Iceland, Uppheimar

Israel, Keter

Italy, Corbaccio

Japan, Kodansha

Korea, Minumsa

Latvia, Zvaigzne ABC

Netherlands, Cargo

North Macedonia, Heart Books

Norway, Front

Poland, Sonia Draga

Portugal, Bertrand

Romania, RAO

Russia, Corpus

Serbia, Samizdat

Slovenia, Ucila

Spain, Mondadori (World Spanish)

Sweden, Ordupplaget

Taiwan, Locus (Complex Chinese)

Thailand, Matichon

UK, Harvill Secker

Ukraine, Folio

US, Knopf

Film rights sold

UK, Buccaneer

More From Erik Axl Sund


Victoria Bergman