Book of the Week/Free Press Book Review 2/7/12

Camilla Läckberg is a #1 bestselling author in France, Spain, Italy, and all of Scandinavia, where she’s up to writing her ninth novel. Here in the United States, her second book, The Preacher (Free Press, 2012), is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and an addictive read right from the beginning.

In The Preacher, foul play was always suspected in the 1979 disappearances of two young women , and their bodies were never recovered. When two yet to be identified skeletons are discovered among a new murder victim in the King’s Cleft twenty-four years later, townspeople of the small fishing village of Fjallbacka are shocked.

The skeletons are eventually identified as the missing women, Siv Lantin and Mona Thernblad, with the third victim revealed of having a close connection to one of the original two missing women.

Detective Patrik Hedstrom focuses on the Hult family, a local clan of misfits, religious fanatics, criminals. Johannes Hult was a suspect in the 1979 disappearances, and originally thought to have hanged himself after being fingered by his brother, Gabriel. When another young woman, Jenny Moller, goes missing and Johannes actual manner of death was homicide, the suspect list grows longer.

Just when readers of The Preacher think they’ve figured out the “whodunits” and where the investigation is leading, Camilla Läckberg throws another curve into the story’s plot, which makes this book as much as an exciting read as her 2010 novel The Ice Princess. No one ever sees these turns coming, especially right up to The Preacher’s final pages. I was even surprised by this book’s final chapter.

There is a lot of back and forth switching of POV’s throughout The Preacher; perhaps it’s an attempt to keep the plot interesting. Nevertheless, it can be distracting at times, but can still keep readers glued to this book.

As a bonus, the US version of The Preacher also offers a peek at the first chapter of Camilla Läckberg’s next novel, The Stonecutter, set to released by Free Press in Spring 2013. It too appears to be just as fast-paced and exciting as her previous two books.

Rating: 4.5/5.0