15 November 2011

Review: The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg

Note: The Preacher is the second in a series by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg. This review assumes you've read The Ice Princess but contains no spoiler to either novel.

Camilla Läckberg's second Erica Falck / Patrik Hedstrom mystery returns the reader to Fjällbacka, a small Swedish fishing village, which is a popular tourist spot during the warmer months. When the police are called to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, they are surprised to discover that the body is arranged alongside the remains of two women who were reported missing more than twenty years earlier.

Patrik is put in charge of all three cases and soon uncovers many local secrets, from flimflam to adultery to blackmail. He has his hands full: Not only is the triple investigation complicated but several of his fellow police officers are messing up on the job. When a second young woman goes missing, Patrik is desperate to find her before she becomes another murder victim.

In the meantime, Erica is facing her own problems trying to adjust to impending motherhood and entertaining a series of unwanted guests. Being eight months pregnant during a heat wave isn't helping her mood either. Naturally, Erica discusses the cases with Patrik, but she plays a much smaller role in The Preacher than she did in the first book.

Although the majority of the story takes place in the present, Läckberg uses flashbacks and changes the point of view when describing the events surrounding the disappearances of the first two women. This device works well, giving the reader a deep sense of the horror of the earlier crimes.

Läckberg's strengths are in her characterizations and sense of place. The mysteries themselves are an odd mix of complex yet not that difficult to figure out. If you're interested in a straight police procedural that will have you guessing all the way to the end, then The Preacher is not for you. On the other hand, if you like good characters, a gritty crime, and a plot that moves beyond the investigation, you'll like Läckberg's work. Although this is no cozy, Erica and Patrik's relationship and the doings of the police force keep the reader engaged.

I listened to the unabridged audio edition (HighBridge, 15 hr, 45 min) read by David Thorn. As I said in my review of The Ice Princess, his accents and pronunciations added to the Swedish feel of the novel. Thorn knows how to build the tension and does an excellent job with both male and female characters. If he continues to narrate Läckberg's books, I'll continue to listen.

The Preacher at Powell's
The Preacher at Book Depository
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Published by Pegasus, 2011
ISBN-13: 9781605981734
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Rating: C+

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 11/15/11, 6:54 AM  

I have this one, but I don't have The Ice Princess. Do you think this book would stand alone?

Sandy Nawrot 11/15/11, 6:56 AM  

Surely I tried to find this at my library, but I'm going to look again. Sometimes these types of books are all about the mystery, but often the most satisfying ones are about the people.

Daryl 11/15/11, 8:26 AM  

Intriguing .. of course anal me needs to read the first book first .. thanks!!

Barbara 11/15/11, 10:48 AM  

I'd much rather have characters that interest me than a story that keeps me guessing to the end. I must look for The Ice Princess, then this one.

Zibilee 11/15/11, 11:15 AM  

It doesn't bother me when a thriller is more character driven versus mystery focused, so this one sounds like something I might like. I am glad that you enjoyed it and will be looking forward to checking this one out when I can. I will have to check with Sandy to see if our library has them! Great review today, Candace!

SuziQoregon 11/15/11, 5:22 PM  

Oh yeah - definitely right up my alley. You were probably about due to add another series to my list.


Sheila (Bookjourney) 11/15/11, 6:33 PM  

You had me at the good characters... I love characters I feel I would know if I passed them on the street.

Julie P. 11/15/11, 7:55 PM  

I think I'll start with THE ICE PRINCESS first.

Jenners 11/15/11, 8:10 PM  

All these Swedish mysteries and their hard to pronouce place names!

Anonymous,  11/15/11, 8:54 PM  

Just ordered The Ice Princess. The Swedish setting feels right for a cold winter night's read. -Fay

Serena 11/16/11, 8:08 AM  

What is it about Swedish authors and their books in winter time? This sounds like a good series.

Anonymous,  11/16/11, 11:28 AM  

I read The Ice Princess and liked it but didn't love it. Maybe I'll try this one on audio. I tend to like foreign mysteries that way.

Reg / Steve 11/16/11, 12:22 PM  

While David Thorn does a creditable job with the Swedish pronunciation, it annoyed me that he said "Erika" with the stress on the second syllable. I have never heard the name pronounced that way by a Swede, who generally put the stress on the first syllable. And then he's not consistent with it either. Otherwise, enjoy the audio version! And hang in there, the upcoming books get better each time. Steve, the translator of books 1-4

Unknown 11/16/11, 6:01 PM  

I need to remember to look for the first one on audio with my library, sounds like a good series.

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