Published: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Free Press
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Pages: 432 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
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.
Plain ol’ fiction murder mysteries aren’t all that common on my reading list, but I find that I do enjoy reading them on occasion. Prior to purchasing The Preacher, I had heard some promising remarks regarding Camilla Lackberg’s writing. The compliments from the bookish community were all very positive and I had heard it said that Lackberg was on par with Stieg Larsson. I was really impressed with the quality of the narrative and the characters involved, and would agree that Lackberg has similar talent to Larsson, though this book wasn’t quite on the same level as the Millennium trilogy.
Patrik Hedstrom is the primary character, though there are several perspectives throughout the story. Patrik is an officer at the local station where the bodies of three women were discovered. Two were skeletal remains, but the third was a woman that had recently gone missing. Officer Hedstrom is the lead investigator on the case and he’s definitely got his hands full dealing with the mysteries of the case at work and a very pregnant girlfriend at home. I enjoyed his perspective and he was a genuinely likable, sincere character unlike several of the other police officers who were careless layabouts.
The plot was well done, with numerous possibilities that kept me guessing until the very end. I would pin the blame on one character only to have another revelation make me completely change my mind. In the end, I was not all that surprised by who committed the crimes because there was something suspicious about them. The whole Hult family was pretty messed up and all fingers were pointing at one of them being involved, but there were some surprising reveals throughout the course of the novel. The ending chapters were where the real shockers happened, though the events happened very suddenly. I think the story should have wrapped up more slowly, but that’s just me.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I’d like to read some more of Lackberg’s novels in the future, especially The Ice Princess. I’d recommend this for anyone who enjoys murder mysteries or Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.