Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Preacher

Title: The Preacher

Author: Camilla Lackberg

Number of pages: 422

Started: 28 July 2010

Finished: 3 August 2010

Opening words:

The day was off to a promising start. He woke up early, before the rest of the family, put on clothes as quietly as possible, and managed to sneak out unnoticed. He took along his knight’s helmet and wooden sword, which he swung happily as he ran the hundred yards from the house down to the mouth of the King’s Cleft. He stopped for a moment and peered in awe into the sheer crevice through the rocky outcrop. The sides of the rock were six or seven feet apart, and it towered up over thirty feet into the sky, into which the summer sun had just begun to climb. Three huge boulders were solidly wedged in the middle of the cleft, and it was an imposing sight. The place had a magical attraction for a six year old. The fact that the King’s Cleft was forbidden ground made it all the moirĂ© tempting.

Plot summary:

In the fishing community of Fjallbacka, life is remote, peaceful – and for some, tragically short.

Foul play was always suspected in the disappearance twenty years ago of two young holidaymakers in the area. Now a young boy out playing has confirmed this grim truth. Their remains, discovered with those of a fresh victim, send the town into shock.

Local detective Patrik Hedstrom, expecting a baby with his girlfriend Erica, can only imagine what it is like to lose a child. When a second young girl goes missing, Hedstrom's attention focuses on the Hults, a feuding clan of misfits, relgious fanatics and criminals. The suspect list is long but time is short – which of this family's dark secrets will provide the vital clue?

What I thought:

This was a decent read. The plot was perhaps rather convoluted in places, and I thought the translation (or perhaps the original drafting in Swedish) was a touch clunky in places, primarily in some of the dialogue, but it was a good read regardless. I wasn’t 100% convinced by a couple of the sub-plots in it either, in particular then ones involving Erica Falck (the girlfriend of the main detective in the book). In many ways the stories were a bit of an aside and reached no conclusion. The one about Erica’s sister in particular. It rather felt as though it was a minor sub-plot (about something rather serious) that was never really developed, but presumably is going to feature in future books as well.

That said, it was another good Swedish thriller, although I think I probably preferred her first book The Ice Princess better.

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