Book info

The Preacher (2011)

The Preacher (2011)
Rating
3.73 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
1605981737 (ISBN13: 9781605981734)
languge
English
series
publisher
pegasus
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The Preacher (2011)
The Preacher (2011)

About book: 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.

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!
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Reviews
Anna
A Swedish police procedural that is supposed to be thrilling, or at least is advertised as a thrilling one. But all the concentrating on the people and their motives and relationships and their inner dialogue makes it a cozy procedural. I'd love more thrill.A local detective in a small city somewhere in Sweden, Patrik Hedström, is investigating a murder. A naked, broken body is found close to holiday area, and two other bodies that turn out to be for people who disappeared 24 years ago, were found with this body. The other murders appeared solved, and the murderer made a suicide decades ago, but now suddenly it's not as clear as they imagined. Lots of threads seem to point to a bizarre Hult family, which surely has color, character and contradictions. I liked many of the characters, and the bizarreness of some of the situations. Like when Erica and Patrik had bizarre visitors, or the bizarre actions of Solveig, a fat woman of Hult family. Overall, 3.25 stars perhaps. Decent, could read more if there weren't any more thrilling detectives around, but way too sweet, not enough thrill or action, and way too cozy. After a book like this, I need something like a decent Harry Bosch as the next read.This is the second book of a series. I haven't read the first one (Ice Princess), but that would be the one where e.g. Patrik's and his girlfriend Erica's love story begins. In this book Erica is self-absorbed in her pregnancy (like a Swedish boss I had years ago - once she was pregnant, the only thing that interested her at all was her own belly), but I guess she adds to Patrik's character. As Patrik and Erica are afraid to bring their offspring to this world unless the murders of those three teenagers is solved first.
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 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.
Ron Hummer
Patrik Hedstrom is back to solve another mystery in Camilla Lackberg’s second novel in the series, The Preacher. The subplot involves his wife, Ericka, who is married to him now and pregnant, offers some comic relief to the murders in this story. The murder scene seems complex. A woman is murdered and there are two skeletons under the body, making Patrick wonder how they got there and if there is a connection in the murder. The police chief is there, offering his usual inappropriate comments. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people in the book and their point of views are included as well. I would say that there were so many that I lost count, whether it was other police officers, the police chief, and the murder suspects. Yes, there were some humorous moments in the book such as the mail order bride that the police chief got involved with as well as Ericka’s family who would spend so much time with her that she would go crazy and spill food all over them. While there were a lot of comic moments in the book, I would say that it was difficult to keep up with all the characters due to the constant changing of points of view throughout the story. It certainly took away from the mystery and the answers to who the killer was. The book would have been easier to follow if there point of view were limited. If that were the case, the story would have been easier to follow. Have to give this book two stars as a result.
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