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The Preacher

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Hot on the heels of her phenomenal American debut, The Ice Princess, Camilla Läckberg brings readers back to the quiet, isolated fishing village in Sweden where dangerous secrets lie just beneath the community’s tranquil surface. During an unusually hot July, detective Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck are enjoying a rare week at home together, nervous and excited about the imminent Hot on the heels of her phenomenal American debut, The Ice Princess, Camilla Läckberg brings readers back to the quiet, isolated fishing village in Sweden where dangerous secrets lie just beneath the community’s tranquil surface. During an unusually hot July, detective Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck are enjoying a rare week at home together, nervous and excited about the imminent birth of their first baby. Across town, however, a six-year-old boy makes a gruesome discovery that will ravage their little tourist community and catapult Patrik into the center of a terrifying murder case. The boy has stumbled upon the brutally murdered body of a young woman, and Patrik is immediately called to lead the investigation. Things get even worse when his team uncovers, buried beneath the victim, the skeletons of two campers whose disappearance had baffled police for decades. The three victims’ injuries seem to be the work of the same killer, but that is impossible: the main suspect in the original kidnappings committed suicide twenty-four years ago.  When yet another young girl disappears and panic begins to spread, Patrik leads a desperate manhunt to track down a ruthless serial killer before he strikes again.


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Hot on the heels of her phenomenal American debut, The Ice Princess, Camilla Läckberg brings readers back to the quiet, isolated fishing village in Sweden where dangerous secrets lie just beneath the community’s tranquil surface. During an unusually hot July, detective Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck are enjoying a rare week at home together, nervous and excited about the imminent Hot on the heels of her phenomenal American debut, The Ice Princess, Camilla Läckberg brings readers back to the quiet, isolated fishing village in Sweden where dangerous secrets lie just beneath the community’s tranquil surface. During an unusually hot July, detective Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck are enjoying a rare week at home together, nervous and excited about the imminent birth of their first baby. Across town, however, a six-year-old boy makes a gruesome discovery that will ravage their little tourist community and catapult Patrik into the center of a terrifying murder case. The boy has stumbled upon the brutally murdered body of a young woman, and Patrik is immediately called to lead the investigation. Things get even worse when his team uncovers, buried beneath the victim, the skeletons of two campers whose disappearance had baffled police for decades. The three victims’ injuries seem to be the work of the same killer, but that is impossible: the main suspect in the original kidnappings committed suicide twenty-four years ago.  When yet another young girl disappears and panic begins to spread, Patrik leads a desperate manhunt to track down a ruthless serial killer before he strikes again.

30 review for The Preacher

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    A great detective story from the Queen of Nordic noir, translated from Swedish. The author has also been called Sweden’s Agatha Christie. The book is free-standing but it’s #2 in her 10-volume series featuring detective Patrick Hedstrom. The focus is on a crazy feuding family, descendants of a now-deceased charismatic preacher who passed his “healing ability” on to his two sons. The members of the family range from a wealthy accountant living on a big estate to “trailer trash” – a morbidly obese woman with t A great detective story from the Queen of Nordic noir, translated from Swedish. The author has also been called Sweden’s Agatha Christie. The book is free-standing but it’s #2 in her 10-volume series featuring detective Patrick Hedstrom. The focus is on a crazy feuding family, descendants of a now-deceased charismatic preacher who passed his “healing ability” on to his two sons. The members of the family range from a wealthy accountant living on a big estate to “trailer trash” – a morbidly obese woman with two 30-ish sons who live at home and live by robbing empty vacation cottages. She spends all her time rearranging photo albums from the days when she was a beauty queen. The blurbs call them a “feuding clan of misfits, religious fanatics and criminals.” OK, that fits. The immediate mystery is that the body of a young missing woman is found in a gorge in a scenic tourist area dumped off a cliff. Beneath that body are two skeletons of young women missing from twenty-four years ago. The new body has been tortured and killed in the same gruesome manner as the old bodies. A fourth woman has just gone missing. The plot proceeds with a lot of focus on the personal lives of the detectives as well as on the family members suspected in the recent disappearances just as they were suspected twenty years ago. (It helped me at first to make a genealogy chart to keep track of all the family connections.) The lead detective has a lot going on at home with his wife pregnant with their first child. The female detective on the team is subject to disrespect by some of the older men. We have a burned-out, lazy, know-it-all detective as well as an alcoholic. We are spared graphic details of the victims’ sexual abuse and torture but are given short entries of the women’s thoughts almost as if they had kept diaries. We are treated to a tightly-knit, plausible and complex plot. When an exhumation of a grave is ordered for DNA testing, we get three surprises fed to us one at a time as various results come in. We also get local color of Sweden in and around Fjallbacka, a small coastal tourist resort on Sweden’s western coast. This is the actual town where the author grew up. All in all, a good and enjoyable detective read. photos of Fjallbacka: top from kevinandamanda.com; bottom from AFAR.com photo of the author from book jacket and from carinteriordesigns.net

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This is the second book in this series by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg. She seems to be one of those love her or hate her authors as her ratings veer between one and five stars at random! Nevertheless I enjoyed this offering as much as the first book The Ice Princess. Our main characters, Patrik and Erica, are back and this time it is Patrik's turn to take centre stage as Erica sits at home heavily pregnant during a heat wave. I felt for her! The story was excellent although I got a little lost at times regard This is the second book in this series by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg. She seems to be one of those love her or hate her authors as her ratings veer between one and five stars at random! Nevertheless I enjoyed this offering as much as the first book The Ice Princess. Our main characters, Patrik and Erica, are back and this time it is Patrik's turn to take centre stage as Erica sits at home heavily pregnant during a heat wave. I felt for her! The story was excellent although I got a little lost at times regarding who was who and what their relationships were. There were a lot of characters and they were all related! The book also jumped around a lot from one person's perspective to another and occasionally I was forced to read back and work things out. This was a small price to pay though for a really entertaining story and a satisfactory conclusion to the mystery.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenni Wiltz

    The bottom line: the novel's premise is interesting, but I did not enjoy the book because of the sloppy writing (a translation problem?), the unsympathetic characters, and the shame-on-you dirty writers' tricks Lackberg uses to keep readers from seeing or knowing what the characters see and know. I wrote a much longer version of this review for my blog, but the gist remains the same. While the plot was interesting (I did read all the way through to the end), it wasn't enough to overcome ho The bottom line: the novel's premise is interesting, but I did not enjoy the book because of the sloppy writing (a translation problem?), the unsympathetic characters, and the shame-on-you dirty writers' tricks Lackberg uses to keep readers from seeing or knowing what the characters see and know. I wrote a much longer version of this review for my blog, but the gist remains the same. While the plot was interesting (I did read all the way through to the end), it wasn't enough to overcome how annoyed I was by the rest of the book. The writing itself relies heavily on helping verbs, adverbs, and adjectives....so much so that I had to grit my teeth to finish the book. I'm not sure if these words just flow better in Swedish, or if perhaps the translator didn't lavish proper attention on this book. (The same translator also handled Stieg Larsson's books, and I don't remember having this problem with those books.) Whatever the outcome, the writing itself had me wanting to toss the book across the room. I also had a hard time sympathizing with any of the characters. I expected this to be the case with the suspects, but most of the police officers and supporting characters are equally lacking in self-awareness. Even the main characters are both pretty clueless, if well-intentioned. Any bits of insight delivered came from the narrator, not the characters. Lackberg also used a few dirty tricks to prolong the suspense. Characters frequently open letters or receive phone calls that change everything--and they tell us that it changes everything--but the reader doesn't get to see the letters or hear the person on the other end of the phone delivering the bombshell. This seems unfair--if the suspense requires elements of the plot to be hidden, keep them hidden from the characters, too. If the characters find out who's to blame, why not let the reader know, too? Unless, of course, it's to be sure he or she turns another 75 pages.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This is a follow up to the Ice Princess. This is really more like 3.5 stars, I marked it down from 4 stars because of the lack of Erica. This character that took center stage in the last book was relegated to the pregnant girlfriend role and I hated it. Her big story was having to deal with uninvited guests! Ridiculous! She seemed like part of the scenery. I also didn't like how Anna was relegated to a few pages, it seemed like the author just didn't know what to do with her after her big drama This is a follow up to the Ice Princess. This is really more like 3.5 stars, I marked it down from 4 stars because of the lack of Erica. This character that took center stage in the last book was relegated to the pregnant girlfriend role and I hated it. Her big story was having to deal with uninvited guests! Ridiculous! She seemed like part of the scenery. I also didn't like how Anna was relegated to a few pages, it seemed like the author just didn't know what to do with her after her big drama in book one. While I am still complaining, this book could have been 100 pages shorter because there was a lot of whining about the heat and a lot of back story about the suspects that was unnecessary, we don't have to understand or feel for them. On the good side, it was good to get to know the police personnel better, and the editing is improved from the first book. The mystery was decent and I am hoping that Erica is back full force in the next book or it may be the last of the series for me..

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I so want to be able to give half star ratings. I would give The Preacher a 4.5, for I enjoyed it very much. I reserve 5 stars for my most favorite, fabulous, couldn't put it down books. This one was close but not quite five. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vaso

    This is the first book I read from this author and gave me the best impressions!!! I will definately read more books of Mrs Lackberg!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    The Preacher starts with a six-year-old boy finds the body of a woman. Underneath it there are two skeletons, presumingly belonging to two young women who disappeared twenty years before. Evil has returned to Fjällbacka (maybe it has never left) and Detective Patrik Hedström leads the investigation to find out who the perpetrator is. Everything seems to point out to the Hults, family of religious fanatics and criminals, with an ongoing feud. Then, another girl goes missing, and Patrik finds it imperativ The Preacher starts with a six-year-old boy finds the body of a woman. Underneath it there are two skeletons, presumingly belonging to two young women who disappeared twenty years before. Evil has returned to Fjällbacka (maybe it has never left) and Detective Patrik Hedström leads the investigation to find out who the perpetrator is. Everything seems to point out to the Hults, family of religious fanatics and criminals, with an ongoing feud. Then, another girl goes missing, and Patrik finds it imperative that whoever is responsible for all these crimes is found and brought to justice. Especially because his girlfriend, Erica, is pregnant with their baby. I must say I liked this book better than The Ice Princess. Mostly because I felt that The Preacher was more focused on the aspects concerning the crimes. There were some bits with Erica, of course, and they could be annoying. Especially since she had a great difficulty in saying 'no' to unexpected and unwanted guests. Erica is eight months pregnant, is suffering with heat and weight, but still has trouble kicking unpleasant guests out of her own house. Or keeping from inviting them in. But despite this "doormaty" aspect of Erica's personality, she wasn't as annoying as in The Ice Princess. Anna, Erica's young sister, also features, and we get to know that she still hasn't learned how to choose a good man for her and her kids. And from the last we read about Anna, I can only predicted things will become worse. So, basically this book isn't as eye-rolling as the previous one, and we can focus more on what is important: the big mystery concerning a dead girl and two female skeletons. And, trust me, more secrets from a really weird and disturbed family are about to resurface. I also liked more the fact that there was religious fanatism envolved, because it seemed to increase the darkness already left by the fact that some girls had been murdered. In fact, this book reminded me of 'Criminal Minds', a series which has left me disturbed quite often, but which I really love and will keep on watching. The fact that envolved a feuding family, with secrets and a heavy connection to a religious group, made everything even more interesting. And I would be very keen to give The Preacher 4 stars straightway, without much thought, if it weren't for the things that annoyed me most while reading. The hangcliffers within chapters continue, and this is most annoying. I mean, if Patrik is talking with someone over the phone and that someone tells him something really important, we, as readers, do want to know what is being told. We don't want to know that Patrik never imagined it, nor do we want to wait until that phone conversation comes up some pages further into the story. Once or twice is fine; doing this all the time before moving to the next action concerning other characters feels like abuse. And it is a test to our reading and concentration abilities. Because after the cliffhanger, the reading goes on, there is something happening with someone else and we cannot be thinking about what was about to happen before that damned cliffhanger. Only to understand that yet another cliffhanger may be coming in our direction. Each chapter is full of these, so it seems that the story is a made of a lot of loose ends and we can only we hope they all tie up neatly in the end. A bit frustrating, this. I also wish we didn't have so many bits with Erica. All those guests showed up and Erica being such a doormat didn't add up anything to the developmant of the plot and should have been left out. We already now she's pregnant. We already know the action takes places in summertime and Erica is sweating constantly and tires easily. We really don't need a reinforcement of those details in the form of unwanted guests. Unless Camilla Lackberg wanted us to know that Erica, for all her willfulness, is incapable of saying 'no' when the situation demands it? Also, the descriptions of Erica and Patrick seemed just like a filler. I can't really say I'm interested in them. Then there was some predictability in the story. I was able to say who was the murderer ((view spoiler)[at least one of the murderers (hide spoiler)] ) and I found some connections pretty obvious ((view spoiler)[like Tanja, the dead young woman found in the beginning, being the daughter of Siv, whose skeleton was found as well (hide spoiler)] ). Even though there was some attempts of dirt-throwing into the readers' eyes, some stuff was kind of obvious. Anna's problems was also something that disappointed me. I was expecting her to have moved on for good, that the realization that her husband was a beast had taught her something. But no, here is Anna once more being a doormat, a spineless being who can't find it in her to (re)act when she sees danger ahead. She's depicted as a woman who can only attract (or is attracted to) hideous men who don't respect her, or her children. Is it really necessary to have such a weak character? I cannot help but wonder for how many books this will go on with Anna. (view spoiler)[And now that she's back with Lucas, the Monster, what will happen? Maybe Camilla is thinking of getting rid of Anna by having Lucas killing her. I don't really know, but this can't end well. (hide spoiler)] Mellberg, the once-disgusting and bad-tempered boss, is behaving oddly in the beginning of the book and everyone is suspicious of his good-humour. Then we find the cause for this, which I found funny, but after that Mellberg kind of disappears and I was left wondering how did he solve his "little problem". I also didn't like the end that much. Even though it allows the reader to understand some events of the past, at the same time it felt weird and I can't say it was the perfect ending. With all of this said, I'm giving 3.5 stars (rounded up to four). It is a good story, but there are too many little things I desliked. I'm hoping the next book, The Stonecutter, which I'm going to read next, will be even better.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kylie H

    This is the second book in this series and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. The story centres on Patrik more this time as Ericka is in the last stages of her pregnancy. The mystery revolves around a dead body which causes police to revisit the disappearance of two girls some twenty years earlier. As the investigation proceeds it appears that a particular family are about to have a lot of skeletons emerge that they would rather keep hidden. A well told story, I am looking fo This is the second book in this series and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. The story centres on Patrik more this time as Ericka is in the last stages of her pregnancy. The mystery revolves around a dead body which causes police to revisit the disappearance of two girls some twenty years earlier. As the investigation proceeds it appears that a particular family are about to have a lot of skeletons emerge that they would rather keep hidden. A well told story, I am looking forward to the third book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Gaynard

    This is a solid Scandinavian crime novel,which weaves together scenes of domesticity and scenes of horror, in a social democratic context that manages to have its fair share of religious fanatics. I would have rated it higher, but I felt that the use of the "omniscient" narrator sometimes got in the way of the story. I prefer to have everything necessary to the final understanding of the plot emerge from the story, rather than have the omniscient narrator come up with a lot of extra, missing mat This is a solid Scandinavian crime novel,which weaves together scenes of domesticity and scenes of horror, in a social democratic context that manages to have its fair share of religious fanatics. I would have rated it higher, but I felt that the use of the "omniscient" narrator sometimes got in the way of the story. I prefer to have everything necessary to the final understanding of the plot emerge from the story, rather than have the omniscient narrator come up with a lot of extra, missing material right at the end of the book. This was the first of Camilla Lackberg's novels I have had the pleasure to read. I will certainly read more of them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    Erica and Patrik are expecting their first child when a body is found on top of two skeletons that could be the bones after two women that disappeared twenty years ago. Could it be that the same killer is starting again? I love cold cases and this book was just as the first book thrilling to listening to. Besides the present story do we also get flashbacks back to when the first two women were taken. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, like who is behind the new kil Erica and Patrik are expecting their first child when a body is found on top of two skeletons that could be the bones after two women that disappeared twenty years ago. Could it be that the same killer is starting again? I love cold cases and this book was just as the first book thrilling to listening to. Besides the present story do we also get flashbacks back to when the first two women were taken. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, like who is behind the new killing? Is it the same person that killed and hid the first two women? But, the main suspect is dead so it can't be him. So was it someone else back then? The Preacher is a great book. The family Hult is heavily involved in this book. And the Preacher is the nickname of the man that came to Fjällbacka after a woman bequeaths her house to him. It is said that his sons could perform miracles when they were young. But, nowadays all the living relatives seem to be feuding. But, it was also, Johannes Hult, one of the preachers sons that was accused of kidnapping one of the women twenty years ago... Just as the Ice Princess is this book great, and I love besides the crime to get to know the characters more, and follow them through their lives.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I read The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg for Thillerathon by Booktuber Harriet Rosie. This is the second Läckberg book I’ve read and I plan on reading many more. Coming off the heels of reading a very dark thriller, this book was a welcome relief. Läckberg’s writing choices make writing about murder interesting without the heavy gloominess of many popular darker psychological thrillers. One of my favorite things about Läckberg’s writing style is the character development of the main characters, detective Patri I read The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg for Thillerathon by Booktuber Harriet Rosie. This is the second Läckberg book I’ve read and I plan on reading many more. Coming off the heels of reading a very dark thriller, this book was a welcome relief. Läckberg’s writing choices make writing about murder interesting without the heavy gloominess of many popular darker psychological thrillers. One of my favorite things about Läckberg’s writing style is the character development of the main characters, detective Patrik Hedstrom and his wife, writer Erica Falck. I enjoy reading about them more than about the main murder in the books, although these are interesting as well. Läckberg did such a good job of setting up these characters in the first book of this series and she continued to do so in this book as well. I found the premise of this book, which centered around a charlatan evangelical circuit preacher to be an intriguing one. At first glance, this book didn’t seem to be related to the title at all. Even after this main family was introduced, the patriarch’s long ago past seemed to be long in the past. Only after delving much further into the book (near the ending) did the title become a truly fitting one. One thing that bothered me about the book was that Patrik Hedstrom made a comment about followers of a religion as ignorant and simple minded fools. None of the characters argued with him about the point nor supported his opinion. I couldn’t help but think that this was just a way for Läckberg to convey her own feelings about religion and it seemed like a cheap shot to me. However, overall, I really liked this book. Not as much as I liked her first book in this series but nonetheless, it was a good read and one I would recommend to others.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nadia Giannakopoulou

    I keep wondering HOW on earth the writer thought of that story!! What was on her mind at the first place! Good work Camilla Lackberg! So promising for her next novels that I m sure gonna follow. Definitely better than Lackberg's first book The Ice Princess - stronger plot with many scenes of agony (ex. the grave moment: couldnt wait, had to turn the pages forward to see what was found!☺ ) Liked the fact that we were updated on Patrick and Erica's lives as well as on other people's stories that w I keep wondering HOW on earth the writer thought of that story!! What was on her mind at the first place! Good work Camilla Lackberg! So promising for her next novels that I m sure gonna follow. Definitely better than Lackberg's first book The Ice Princess - stronger plot with many scenes of agony (ex. the grave moment: couldnt wait, had to turn the pages forward to see what was found!☺ ) Liked the fact that we were updated on Patrick and Erica's lives as well as on other people's stories that were introduced to us at the first book. What really made it difficult for me though: too many names, had to go over again and again who is who and the relations between different people. Other than that, I strongly recommend the book and the writer! Cant wait for the next one!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a crazy good creepy dark Swedish crime series.. "The Preacher" is the second in the series and for me, it was even better in some ways than the first (which I loved - "The Ice Princess"). In this novel, the focus is mostly on Patrik, the police detective, rather than his partner, Erica, the writer. Much more focus on Erica in her first novel. Most of the action takes place with Patrik's leading an investigation into crimes of tortured and murdered young girls - two cold cases This is a crazy good creepy dark Swedish crime series.. "The Preacher" is the second in the series and for me, it was even better in some ways than the first (which I loved - "The Ice Princess"). In this novel, the focus is mostly on Patrik, the police detective, rather than his partner, Erica, the writer. Much more focus on Erica in her first novel. Most of the action takes place with Patrik's leading an investigation into crimes of tortured and murdered young girls - two cold cases from 20+ years ago that are linked to a current homicide and a missing girl they are trying desperately to find. This is all mixed up with the weird Hult family...any more and I'd give too much away. I can totally understand why Camilla Lackberg is the most successful author in Sweden today. Highly recommend her work if you like literate, weird, creepy police detective novels with good characters and sometimes darkly humorous writing. I'm going to start the third one, even though I have a pile of great books I want to read. I'm totally hooked on this series!

  14. 4 out of 5

    LENA TRAK

    AMAZING! It had me guessing till the very last chapter.... I love Lackberg!! I love the plot the twists and turns in the story... I love Erica and Patric... Best psychological thriller I've read so far..Mystery lovers, what are you waiting for??

  15. 4 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    This is my 3rd book in the Patrick Hedstorm series, and the worst among rhose. A very insipid tale told of young women found dead or missing in the 70s as well as in 2004... and connection sought for these different timelines of crimes. The side story of Erica, Patrick's pregnant partner and her sister Anne who is forever attracting the wrong kind of man, too wasn't thAt convincing. Would continue with the series as I have invested in the private lives of the investigators and their respect This is my 3rd book in the Patrick Hedstorm series, and the worst among rhose. A very insipid tale told of young women found dead or missing in the 70s as well as in 2004... and connection sought for these different timelines of crimes. The side story of Erica, Patrick's pregnant partner and her sister Anne who is forever attracting the wrong kind of man, too wasn't thAt convincing. Would continue with the series as I have invested in the private lives of the investigators and their respective families.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roderick Hart

    So we continue with our two main characters, Ericka Falck and Patrik Hedström. Now, however, Ericka is pregnant and physically unable to contribute much to the investigation. In fact, she is almost entirely sidelined. So what does she do in this book, apart from being heavily pregnant and uncomfortable in the heat? She reluctantly looks after two sets of visitors who invite themselves to the summer house. The first lot are relatives (with dreadful children) to whom she has never been close, and So we continue with our two main characters, Ericka Falck and Patrik Hedström. Now, however, Ericka is pregnant and physically unable to contribute much to the investigation. In fact, she is almost entirely sidelined. So what does she do in this book, apart from being heavily pregnant and uncomfortable in the heat? She reluctantly looks after two sets of visitors who invite themselves to the summer house. The first lot are relatives (with dreadful children) to whom she has never been close, and the second lot an acquaintance of Patrik’s whom she stupidly invites, together with his wife, without checking with Patrik first. In both cases the visitors expect to be waited on hand and foot and appear blind to her condition. I can only think this reflects experience on the author’s part of free-loaders who descend on summer houses. Credible as they are, neither of these episodes advance the narrative in any way. Ericka’s sister still figures, though not so much as in the first book. Anna is an animal without a backbone who, having divorced her abusive husband meekly goes back to him as a result of one act of aggression I will not spoil by describing. The author might argue that as a counterpoint to Anna we have Annika, the secretary at the police station. Annika is a strong person who, unlike Anna, has taken the wise precaution of having no children. So she is not only strong but happy. However, the way in which she practically runs the station seems far-fetched to me, and her ability to browbeat our hero Patrik does not ring true. Yes, she might well make all of the points she does in convincing him to have more sympathy for Ericka’s plight, but he would hardly end up as the cowering creature he does under her criticism. Patrik’s boss, Mellberg, while still a cartoon character, is less in evidence in this book. There is a reason for this but I can’t refer to it without spoiling things for the reader. Which leaves three other policemen: Martin who is young and enthusiastic, Ernst, who comes across as a bad-tempered night-club bouncer, and Gösta. Gösta is nearing the end of his career and is more interested in golf than upholding the law. Much is made of his hole in one and there is a danger that he will become a stock character too. But the author develops him very well. The way she deals with his response to the crimes under investigation, and particularly his sympathy with the victims, is handled very well. The plot is considerably more sophisticated than that of the previous novel, The Ice Princess. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better, though it’s probably the sort of narrative expected of a crime writer at this time. It is at once more clever and less likely than its predecessor. I continue to have no interest in the relationship between Ericka and Patrik, which is no doubt a reflection of me as much as the book. I don’t want to meet them again and will not be inviting them into my summerhouse. _____________________________________________________________ A note on the translation credit which reads: Translated by Henning Mankell’s Steven T Murray. I have two Mankell novels, both translated by Ebba Segerberg. Having compared one of these (Steget Efter) with the original it seems to me that Ebba has done a good job.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Qhuay

    I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first one, but it was still a pretty solid book. The writing was still engaging and the characters interesting, but the plot was lacking. I don't think the situation with The Preacher and the Hult cult was taken to it's true potential. We barely knew the Hults, except that there was some serious bad blood right there and that every single one of them had something to hide. I would like to know more about what drove them to do the thing I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first one, but it was still a pretty solid book. The writing was still engaging and the characters interesting, but the plot was lacking. I don't think the situation with The Preacher and the Hult cult was taken to it's true potential. We barely knew the Hults, except that there was some serious bad blood right there and that every single one of them had something to hide. I would like to know more about what drove them to do the things they did. Also, Anna's side story is driving me crazy. How can that woman be so dumb? I can't believe she went back to her abusive asshole of a husband after what he did to their daughter. The fact she's always getting mad at Erica for pointing out the truth and wanting the best for her is infuriating. She wants to act adult, mature and rational, then she does stupid childish things that endanger her and her kids. Unbelievable! Anyway, this series is worth keeping reading it, so that's what I'll do.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle Kirby

    Whew this second installment of the Patrik Hedstrom series had even more characters than the first. Brother's sister's cousin who? While I like the series' dark story line and I love the two main characters, I could not keep track of all characters, especially in the Holt(spelled right?) family. The scandalous activities of said family didn't help the confusion. Patrik and Erika were cute in this story, expecting their first child ( and feeling the strain of that) all the while playing host for Whew this second installment of the Patrik Hedstrom series had even more characters than the first. Brother's sister's cousin who? While I like the series' dark story line and I love the two main characters, I could not keep track of all characters, especially in the Holt(spelled right?) family. The scandalous activities of said family didn't help the confusion. Patrik and Erika were cute in this story, expecting their first child ( and feeling the strain of that) all the while playing host for annoying friends and family members who are taking advantage of the couple's ideal vacation spot of a home. The murder mystery was interesting, again alternating between past and present, and again I didn't guess the killer until the end. All in all a solid mystery with interesting main characters but way too many extras.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rusalka

    Urgh. These books have so much potential. I am persisting, as I am sure the author must wake up at some stage and realise that potential. Until then, I just feel a bit frustrated. I picked the twists hundreds of pages before they were revealed. The first major one particularly as there was so much clunky and heavy handed foreshadowing. I was like "I bet it's that" and 120pp later, they worked it out. I should be a Swedish policeman apparently. Crime rate would be right down. As long a Urgh. These books have so much potential. I am persisting, as I am sure the author must wake up at some stage and realise that potential. Until then, I just feel a bit frustrated. I picked the twists hundreds of pages before they were revealed. The first major one particularly as there was so much clunky and heavy handed foreshadowing. I was like "I bet it's that" and 120pp later, they worked it out. I should be a Swedish policeman apparently. Crime rate would be right down. As long as everyone was as painfully obvious as they are in this series. I read this book for a challenge for someone with the same marital status as myself. I'm in a de facto relationship, and it is hard to find someone in a book in similar circumstances. One, as we expect people to be married so it takes less explaining if couples are married. And as someone who is not married, there is a lot of explaining that happens. You have to justify your lifestyle constantly. And secondly, as if you have met the couple before, it is a nice way to end a book. Nice and neat, with a little, quaint wedding. Nawww. So to have people not in that circumstance was very refreshing. That is, until the translator got lazy. The word he is looking for is "partner". Not "wife". We'd be trundling along and then there would be a wife thrown in. Who's the wife? Is there an ex? I'm confus... oh. He means Erika. But as his world view or English skills can only deal with a binary it seems, it just was lazy and annoying. I mean, maybe the Swedish word is the same? But part of being a translator would be finding the right words in your target language, wouldn't it? Petty problems, but both enough to jar me and annoy me enough. One day, I hope to love Camilla Lackberg. Just not today.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    When a young boy finds a female corpse and runs home to tell his parents about his discovery, the police also discover the skeletons of two women murdered more than twenty years earlier. Suspicion falls on members of a family with religious fanatics. DNA testing through blood samples plays a role in the investigation. Whether it was the translation or the narrative itself, this book just failed to grab me. I struggled to finish it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Linda Branham Greenwell

    The novel takes place in Sweden. Police Investigator Patrik Englund is enjoying a vacation with his very pregnant wife, Erica, when he learns that a six-year-old boy has discovered the dead body of a young girl while out playing. Beneath the young girls body are the skeletons of two more women who disappeared in 1979. Autopsies prove that all three had been slowly tortured over the course of many days before dying. The story is told through flashbacks to 1979 (when the first 2 women were murdere The novel takes place in Sweden. Police Investigator Patrik Englund is enjoying a vacation with his very pregnant wife, Erica, when he learns that a six-year-old boy has discovered the dead body of a young girl while out playing. Beneath the young girls body are the skeletons of two more women who disappeared in 1979. Autopsies prove that all three had been slowly tortured over the course of many days before dying. The story is told through flashbacks to 1979 (when the first 2 women were murdered), from Patriks perspective, Ericas perspective - and from several other characters perspective The story develops into the past of the Hult family, whose family patriarch, Ephraim Hult, was a highly successful evangelical preacher, and whose two sons Johannes and Gabriel had supernatural healing powers when they were children. A rift developed between the 2 brothers because of the dad, Ephraim. Ephriam and Johannes have both been deceased many years when the story opens

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    This was an exceptionally written crime and murder mystery. The grandfather pretended to be a pastor-healer. He encouraged his grandson to be the same. Said he had a gift. Skelential remains were found from twenty years earlier and in the present day two more young women were murdered. Who was the guilty one? This was a fast paced book. The story went in many directions. I'll be reading more of Camilla Lackbergs books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

    After years of anticipation (on my part, at least) Camilla Lackberg's first novel, The Ice Princess was finally published in the U.S. a month ago. (It's been in English translation in the UK and Canada since 2008.) I'm happy to say that the book really delivers--it reminded me a lot of Karin Fossum's Don't Look Back with its portrayal of a claustrophobic small town rife with secret scandals and tensions. In The Ice Princess, Lackberg did a great job of imbuing each character--even minor ones--with an interesting bac After years of anticipation (on my part, at least) Camilla Lackberg's first novel, The Ice Princess was finally published in the U.S. a month ago. (It's been in English translation in the UK and Canada since 2008.) I'm happy to say that the book really delivers--it reminded me a lot of Karin Fossum's Don't Look Back with its portrayal of a claustrophobic small town rife with secret scandals and tensions. In The Ice Princess, Lackberg did a great job of imbuing each character--even minor ones--with an interesting back story and relevance in the story's greater context. And she also set up an enjoyable relationship between main character Erica Falck and her new lover, Detective Patrik Hedstrom. Given all of this, I was eager to get my hands on the second installment in this series, The Preacher. This novel is also forthcoming in the US, but I figured it would be awhile and so bit the bullet and ordered a copy from the UK. Unfortunately, I have to admit, that I was more than a little disappointed by this novel. Not really in terms of Lackberg's writing--she's still very good at balancing a murder investigation with a domestic subplot (here, Erica's pregnant with Patrik's baby, she's still having trouble with her sister, etc.) However, this doesn't pay off as much because of some rather notable shortcomings, which are as follows: 1. The murder plot here is much, much more grim. Now don't get me wrong--a faked suicide in the previous book is pretty grim (as were the background scenarios that lead to said murder), but this book takes it to another level. Several murders, preceded by bone breaking and other forms of slow-death torture, enacted on teenagers, over many years. Not nice stuff. It's a lot to take honestly, and if I'm going to read about those sorts of acts, they better be in the service of a pretty well developed, large-scale plot. And, also, you better have a pretty credible uber-sadist in the story, because well, there's got to be a pretty good explanation for why you decided that kind of pain needed to be inflicted on your characters. 2. This brings me to problem 2. The rationale for these murders--if not the exact murderer himself--is obvious within the first 100 pages. I'm not exaggerating. It became so overwhelmingly apparent how Lackberg was going to explain the "reason" for the above-mentioned violence/torture that I actually skipped ahead in the book to confirm that I was right. And I was. This is horribly disappointing for reasons I'm sure I don't have to explain. 3. The murderer is--and don't worry, I'm not spoiling here--presented as part of a large feuding family almost immediately. So the possibilities of who the actual killer are extremely limited from the get go. This makes the whole investigation, which is actually, admirably complicated, rather anticlimactic. Not that into this family's backstory, either. 4. Erica is actually not very present in this story at all. Which is a shame because she's likable and interesting and, because she's not on the police force, gives a murder plot a less procedural point of view. Patrik is definitely front and center here. And I like his character, too, but really--not as much. Given the fact that Erica has started writing True Crime novels, it seems to me that she could have been more involved here. And Lackberg even draws attention to the fact that she's twiddling her thumbs while she waits to have her baby. It's like she knows that there's not enough Erica in the story, but started writing it that way and can't go back. Instead, she uses the scenes with Erica to provide the comic relief--lots of horrible house guests descend on she and Patrik because it's summer and everyone loves coming to their small town over the summer. But those scenes aren't--with one macaroni-suffused exception--really all that good. So sad. 5. The novel's format is a little too reminiscent of The Ice Princess, which makes Lackberg's approach to plot development/reveal seem a little too mechanical. The investigation scenes are intercut with italicized passages in the voice of one of the victims, which is exactly what she did in her first book. In The Ice Princess this worked out rather cleverly--you actually thought the italicized passages might be narrated by the killer, until it becomes obvious that the speaker is dead as well. In The Preacher adding these passages is probably supposed to make the reader sympathize more with the victims, which is totally unnecessary, given what we're told they had to go through before they died. Of course we empathize with them. Now you're just rubbing our faces in the tragedy of it all, which we don't really need. It's overbearing. That about does it for the major problems. I like Lackberg's characters, though, and I honestly like the way she handles their development, back story, etc. quite a lot. And I definitely would read another of her novels (there's one more in English translation, and she's gotten a big book deal to release all her books in the US)--but I might not be in such a rush to order the next installment this time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    I like the way she writes so far and the human aspect of her characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Writer

    Before I start with my review, I must inform that Prædikanten (The Preacher) is the second book written by Camilla Läckberg with the village policeman Patrik Hedström and the posh bookwriter from Stockholm Erica Falck. The first one is titled Isprinsessen (The Ice Princess) and you could find the review here. Falck, who got knocked up by Hedström after they got together in the first book (one starts to wonder how slutty can one be? LOL Just kidding), was now moving to Fjällbacka, a sm Before I start with my review, I must inform that Prædikanten (The Preacher) is the second book written by Camilla Läckberg with the village policeman Patrik Hedström and the posh bookwriter from Stockholm Erica Falck. The first one is titled Isprinsessen (The Ice Princess) and you could find the review here. Falck, who got knocked up by Hedström after they got together in the first book (one starts to wonder how slutty can one be? LOL Just kidding), was now moving to Fjällbacka, a small village near Göteborg in Sweden, for good. She lived in her old folks' house with the goofy policeman and had to refrain herself from too much investigating activity now that she looked like an elephant with her huge belly. Therefore, now the investigation act was conducted by Hedström as he was suddenly called in from his holiday to handle a murder case in the small town. A body of a naked woman and two skeletons were found in some touristy spot in Fjällbacka. The woman turned out to be a German tourist wandering in Sweden while the other two skeletons were the remnants of the two missing women in the mid 1978s. With Hedström leading the investigation, helped by a bunch of airheads at the policestation, the Fjällbacka police corps surprisngly could uncover the dark past of the Hult family. The grandfather, Ephraim Hult, was a well-known local preacher. His two sons - Johannes and Gabriel - were blessed with the ability to cure people and they were local legends. It all went smoothly until summer 1978 when Gabriel reported his own brother to the police after he saw the missing woman climbed up to Johannes car and never to be seen again. The Hult family intrigue is already interesting enough to be explored further in the book. It's like the good old The Bold and the Beautiful TV-series kind of style. Poor people resent rich people and the other way around. Ex-beauty queen-turned-into-fat-cow Solveig Hult blamed Gabriel's family for her husband Johannes' suicide and Gabriel despised Solveig and his two criminal sons Robert and Johan for keep barging into their lives and demanding their rights on the farm they were living in. Sure enough, Fjällbacka is suddenly the criminal capital of Sweden again as Hedström tried to figure out what had really happened 30 years ago in that small town and why all tracks always lead back to the Hult family. The book is a real teaser and apparently Läckberg has perfected her art of writing as she beautifully played her readers curiousity by switching between one scene to another without disrupting the continuity of her novel. It's definitely better than Isprinsessen but you can't really see Godfather 2 (no matter how good it is) before watching Godfather 1 first, right? I feel the same with the Falck-Hedström duo solving Fjällbacka's mysterious histories. I absolutely can't wait to read the third book called "Stenhuggeren". Bear with me and wait for the next review!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Blue

    A swing and a miss. This book was quite different from the first book, Ice Princess, even switching who was the primary narrator (in-book). I found it predictable, to have too much angst and not enough consequences. I was not impressed with the ending, nor did I like it, but it would have been a worse book had the case ended differently. (view spoiler)[ Leukaemia - I know I have seen crime shows that u A swing and a miss. This book was quite different from the first book, Ice Princess, even switching who was the primary narrator (in-book). I found it predictable, to have too much angst and not enough consequences. I was not impressed with the ending, nor did I like it, but it would have been a worse book had the case ended differently. (view spoiler)[ Leukaemia - I know I have seen crime shows that used the 'two different DNA in the same person' shtick, and probably the leukaemia one specifically - and I do not watch any television and have not for years. I understand that it was probably an answer for the author as to how to have the bloodtest not just end the case there, but that does not make it less of a Chekov's gun and predictable. Noose - The charaters/cops, from the retelling of the story of Robert finding his father, never showed any hesitation or questioning of "I saw him laying on the floor with the rope around his neck". Unless the rope was strong enough to kill him but frayed enough to drop him, or someone else pulled him down first, the rope could not have possibly killed him. The story, evidence aside, did not make sense. As for the consequences thing, mostly I dislike how the cop that screwed up a bunch never got any reprimand, not even when breaking a promise to the chief, AND when there was a perfect opportunity for it the wife's call about the baby interrupts it and that is the end of that. Thinking it over, there were other instances too where the characters did things that didn't change the course of events at all, good and bad. On the topic of the wife, she went from a main character to a nothing character with filler scenes that did nothing at all for the book apart from whine and set up for a story in the next book. She caused problems (but small and quickly solved) for herself, interrupted the main character's more monotonous or suspenseful moments with a home-break, insisted on getting involved/helping but backed down and never solved her boredom, and went into labor in a really odd moment for the book as if the writer wanted to just avoid writing the argument about the cop that actually hurt the case and might have been why the investigation was so far behind. The only thing the wife did do of use was start up a plotline about Anna but it was not pursued at all with it kinda but poorly cliff-hanging for the next book. (hide spoiler)] I am no longer so dissapointed that Overdrive lacks #3 and beyond.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    In the summer of 2003, in Fjällbacka, Sweden, the newly dead body of a young girl is found on top of the skeletons of two other dead girls who had been missing since 1979. Detective Patrik Hedström, who we met in Lackberg’s previous book, The Ice Princess, is called back from his vacation to take charge of the case. Hedström now lives with Erica Falck, who is eight months pregnant with their baby. (Erica was the main character in The Ice Princess.) It is hot, and Erica is miserable, but Patrik's attenti In the summer of 2003, in Fjällbacka, Sweden, the newly dead body of a young girl is found on top of the skeletons of two other dead girls who had been missing since 1979. Detective Patrik Hedström, who we met in Lackberg’s previous book, The Ice Princess, is called back from his vacation to take charge of the case. Hedström now lives with Erica Falck, who is eight months pregnant with their baby. (Erica was the main character in The Ice Princess.) It is hot, and Erica is miserable, but Patrik's attention quickly turns elsewhere when yet another girl goes missing. Patrick and his colleagues zero in on the Hult family, the deceased patriarch of whom, Ephraim, was a charismatic and charlatanical preacher. Ephraim’s sons, Gabriel and Johannes, and grandson Jacob were all deeply affected by Ephraim’s teachings. On the surface they seem pious, but something is rotten in the state of Sweden. Discussion: Erica’s attempts to occupy herself with a succession of boorish guests are probably meant to provide a sort of “comic relief” to the tension of the investigation, but instead, I just found these parts as boorish as the company. The police procedural portion of the book didn’t bowl me over either. Patrick is appealing as a character, but most of his colleagues are not, and the various interactions and complications of the Hult family are almost as daunting to master as was Stieg Larsson’s Vanger family in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In fact, it is a bit similar to that book, but without Lisbeth of course (who made all the plot complications tolerable). Certainly though there is a sub-theme of hatred of and aggression towards women (except, ironically, in the case of the murderer). Evaluation: A little more complicated and predictable than I like, but not without appeal, especially if you are into Scandinavian mysteries. This one is kind of interesting in that you get a view of Sweden in the summer, when everyone is sweltering.

  28. 5 out of 5

    June Ahern

    "The Preacher" is Swedish author Camilla Lackberg's second police mystery mystery. I did not read the first one, and think after this book, probably will not. As I said in the past about my reviews of book and critique of authors' works is often based upon my reading preference at the time of reading it. The story is set in Fjallbacka, a Swedish coastal town and begins with a young female’s body found murdered. On further investigation her body is placed on top of the remains of two young girls "The Preacher" is Swedish author Camilla Lackberg's second police mystery mystery. I did not read the first one, and think after this book, probably will not. As I said in the past about my reviews of book and critique of authors' works is often based upon my reading preference at the time of reading it. The story is set in Fjallbacka, a Swedish coastal town and begins with a young female’s body found murdered. On further investigation her body is placed on top of the remains of two young girls who were reported missing 24 years ago and never found. The local policeman who helps to solve the case is Patrik Hedstrom. He appears a thorough enough detective, but I found something about him that seemed to bother me. Perhaps it was his preoccupation with his wife who is very pregnant during a very hot summer. And to make matters worse, their home is plagued by visiting annoying relatives. I didn’t find this information about his wife and the relatives all that interesting and certainly not enough to take me away from the solving of the case. Other subplots in this book I found, often just as uninteresting and take it away from the story. In fact I had a hard time really relating to just about anybody in this book. The story seemed to go in one direction and then we went to other characters in their dysfunctional roles and quite soon I lost track of my interest in the story. The conversation between characters is stilted, and maybe this is something lost in translation. Initially I decided to read this book because two of my other favorite Scandinavian mystery authors who books I find most interesting and they are Henning Mankell and Steig Larssen. The Skye in June

  29. 5 out of 5

    Saretta

    Come l'autrice sia definita la nuova Agatha Christie mi è sempre meno chiaro, il giallo in questione ruota attorno a un'unica famiglia e il lettore può, senza difficoltà, ridurre la rosa dei colpevoli e anche trovare l'assassino. Le indagini questa volta le segue completamente Patrik, Erika, incinta, si limita a vagare in casa afflitta da visite di amici e parenti e dal caldo (ma proprio caldissimo) - qualcosa evidentemente mi sfugge della Svezia, e io che mi lamento dell'afa in Lombardia.< Come l'autrice sia definita la nuova Agatha Christie mi è sempre meno chiaro, il giallo in questione ruota attorno a un'unica famiglia e il lettore può, senza difficoltà, ridurre la rosa dei colpevoli e anche trovare l'assassino. Le indagini questa volta le segue completamente Patrik, Erika, incinta, si limita a vagare in casa afflitta da visite di amici e parenti e dal caldo (ma proprio caldissimo) - qualcosa evidentemente mi sfugge della Svezia, e io che mi lamento dell'afa in Lombardia. --- Why the author is defined as the new Agatha Christie is a mystery to me; the crime in the novel is obviously related to a precise family and the reader easily can guess the killer among a bunch of probable ones. The investigation is carried on by Patrik and Erika, pregnant, has only to wander in her house grieved by family and friends coming over and by the hot Swedish summer - I miss something about Sweden I guess, I used to complain about the muggy North Italy weather.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adriananas

    This book was OK, but that is all it was. The development of the mystery was not thrilling at all, as it was a bit boring and dragged out. way too much information about characters that don't matter and don't have any role in the solving of the murder. After a while I started to skip all the bits about Erica because they were so irrelevant. Too much vital clues about the murder are revealed too late in the book. I wish they were spread out more evenly, as the first part of the book felt a little This book was OK, but that is all it was. The development of the mystery was not thrilling at all, as it was a bit boring and dragged out. way too much information about characters that don't matter and don't have any role in the solving of the murder. After a while I started to skip all the bits about Erica because they were so irrelevant. Too much vital clues about the murder are revealed too late in the book. I wish they were spread out more evenly, as the first part of the book felt a little uneventful. All in all, an OK book, but left a lot to be desired from a crime novel. Where is the suspense and thrill?

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