Review: The Preacher — Camilla Läckberg

Read: 37
To Go: 63

Book List:
31. The Dressmaker — Kate Alcott
32. Spin — Catherine McKenzie
33. The Elegance of the Hedgehog — Muriel Barbery
34. Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy
35. A Necessary End — Peter Robinson
36. Envy — Sandra Brown
37. The Preacher — Camilla Läckberg


Finished reading: July 9, 2013

After reading The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg, which I very much enjoyed, I wanted to dig into the rest of the Patrik Hedstrom series, starting from the beginning. While I was in the BMV I found The Preacher, the second in the series. They didn’t have the first book, The Ice Princess, in stock, so I just made do with what was available.

In The Preacher, the inhabitants of Fjällbacka, a small Swedish town, are shaken when a young boy discovers a woman’s body while he’s outside playing. When the police arrive, they find the remains of two other women, campers who’d gone missing decades prior, resting under the victim. Patrik Hedstrom is assigned the case, and starts his investigation with only one tenuous lead. He focuses his attention on the Hult family, a squabbling clan of religious fanatics and criminals, trying to connect the cold cases to the freshest murder. But the suspect list is long and, with another young woman gone missing, he doesn’t have much time to catch the killer.

I’ve put off writing a review of The Preacher for a while because as much as I enjoyed it, I’ve had a hard time articulating why without sounding trite. For that reason, this will be short.

One of the reasons I was so excited to start reading Camilla Läckberg when I got that first book in the prize pack was because of Stieg Larsson: his Dragon Tattoo series opened up the Canadian market to an influx of Swedish crime fiction, and I, personally, was eager to read more of it. With The Drowning and now The Preacher, Camilla Läckberg blew Larsson out of the water almost effortlessly. Her mysteries are disturbing and full of twists; her writing is concise and sharp; and Patrik and Erica are the ultimate crime-solving duo.

The Preacher presents a particularly nasty crime for Patrik to solve, with a surprising (and, I’ll admit it, upsetting) finale. And the Hult family, each member harbouring their own secrets, is a formidable opponent for the Tanumshede police officer to go up against.

Erica takes a step back from her role as partner in crime(solving) in The Preacher, because of her pregnancy, and focuses on her sister Anna. Having left an abusive marriage, Anna is in a new relationship with a man who Erica immediately distrusts—and with good reason—which creates tension between the sisters, leading to a falling out with disastrous consequences. Although I’ve been reading the series out of order, Anna’s background arc is one I’m really invested in. Seeing her return to her abusive ex-husband by the end of The Preacher had me itching to pick up the series’ third book to read what comes next.

But of course, I was going to pick it up anyway—I’m hooked on Camilla Läckberg’s gory small-town murder mysteries.

Next book: Hidden — Catherine McKenzie

– Kelsey


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