Title: The Preacher
Author: Camilla Lackberg
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Free Press
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When a six year old boy in Fjallbacka, Sweden discovers the bloody corpse of a woman, Patrik Hedstrom is on the case. But things quickly become more complicated when the skeletons of two more women are discovered under the more recent body. When the bodies are connected to the family of evangelical preacher Ephraim Hult and another girl goes missing, Patrik must work as hard and fast as he can to find her before it’s too late.
The Preacher is the sequel to The Ice Princess, and though they share a same setting and characters, they are very different novels. While The Ice Princess centered on Erica Falck, a true crime author who investigated a murder, this one features her now-husband, Patrik. Erica and Patrik are married, and she is pregnant with their child. While Patrik does consult Erica about the case, and they must deal with annoyances at home, this is very much Patrik’s show.
There are many characters in The Preacher, and more than one narrator. In fact, the narration jumps among so many characters that it can be jarring at times, though it does provide interesting insight into each of them. Readers would do well to have a pad of paper and pen close by while reading so they can make note of the characters, especially the interconnected family of Ephraim Hult which is large, but also very important to the storyline. Despite the number of characters, Lackberg develops all of them well.
It’s the motivations of the characters that are really the driving force of this novel; they are the key to the plot and help Patrik figure out what is really going on and who the kidnapper/murder actually is. Though the novel can drag a bit, especially with its clunky dialogue, it’s the characters where the novel really excels. Lackberg has created many different, layered, three-dimensional characters, and the solution behind the mystery isn’t obvious.
Though The Preacher is a choppy second novel, it’s still interesting enough to be worth a read. It’s slow at points, but Lackberg presents such a fascinating (and disturbing) family dynamic with the Hults that readers will be hooked. It’s not necessary to read The Ice Princess before The Preacher, but those who skip the first book would miss out on great character development and a much smoother read. If you love crime fiction with complex and rich characters, The Preacher is definitely a read you should consider.
Other books by Camilla Lackberg: