Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg

Title: The Preacher
Author: Camilla Läckberg
Translator: Steven T. Murray
ISBN: 9780007253951
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 2009
Paperback, 432 pages
Genre: Police Procedural, #2 Hedström and Falck mystery
Rating: B-
Source: Purchased from Bookcloseouts.

First Line: The day was off to a promising start.

It's summer in Fjällbacka, Sweden. Erica Falck is close to the end of her pregnancy, and her partner, police detective Patrik Hedström, has taken some vacation time to be with her. Unfortunately, the body of a young German woman is found on the beach, and Patrik is called in to lead the investigation. Since the heat has turned Erica into one continuous mood swing, Patrik is ashamed to admit that he's looking forward to getting back to work.

When the bones of two young women are discovered buried beneath the German woman, speculation is high that the skeletons are of two young women who disappeared in the area in 1979. Patrik now has more work than ever before which means that Erica is left unwillingly on the sidelines to deal with freeloading relatives who like to show up uninvited on the doorstep of any family member who owns beachfront property away from the city.

For me, the weakness of this book was in its plot. The title of the book itself turned out to be a big clue, and the solution was clear to me early on-- including the answer to the DNA question that was stumping all of the police. Fortunately the plot was only a minor irritant to me because what I like so much about Läckberg's books isn't her plotting, but her marvelous cast of characters.

Although it was disappointing that Erica Falck took a backseat in this investigation, she was left in charge of the comic relief. Her reactions to some of the freeloaders showing up at her house made me laugh and cheer (and be extremely thankful for having family and friends who never just "show up" for free room and board).

Läckberg's cast of characters is a large one, and even though they're not all likable, they are all very well drawn. During the course of the investigation, I came to know about their lives and personalities, and I have definite favorites as well as a character or two whom I believe just has to go.

The Preacher may be the second book in this series, but it stands very well on its own. If you're a character-driven reader, as I am, and if you're willing to overlook a weak bit here and there in the plot, you're going to be amply rewarded with a wonderful cast of characters.

(Note: I read the UK paperback edition of this book. It was published in hardcover in the U.S. this past April.)


  1. Cathy - Thanks for this review. I think it's interesting how sometimes, the actual mystery isn't what gets and keeps our attention; it's the characters. And that can be a good thing, too...

  2. I'm on the waiting list for this at the library. I loved her previous book!

  3. I do like great characters, but I need some plot to go with them. This does sound like it's worth a read, though.

  4. Margot-- Yes, it can. It can certainly be a more realistic take on events. I remember reading one book and thinking that the author didn't seem to be overly concerned with the mystery, but he was going where the characters were taking him. This particular group of characters had many other-- equally-- interesting things going on in life. Granted, this approach isn't going to work very often!

    Jill-- I did, too!

    Kathy-- It's a big hunk o' book, so if the plot was a complete wash, I would not have continued keeping it above the waterline in the pool! LOL

  5. I really liked the first book, which I listened to on audio -- I'll make a point of looking for this one.

  6. Beth-- Great! I hope you enjoy it!


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