Book Review: The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg

The Preacher
Camilla Lackberg
Simon & Schuster/Free Press, February 2012
ISBN 9781451621778
Trade Paperback

Never think that past deeds won’t come back to haunt you. You know better. This is never more true than the events in the latest novel by Camilla Lackberg. With a soap opera feel The Preacher reaches into the past and brings terrible truths to light and woe to the wrongdoers.

In 1979, two young women disappeared in the little southwestern Swedish tourist town of Fjallacka. In 2003, a little boy playing in the early morning discovers the body of a recently missing young woman. Underneath her body are the bones of the pair from so long ago. Enter detective Patrik Hedstrom and his team to begin the investigation of the murders. In the suspect spotlight is the Hult family whose patriarch was a well known charismatic preacher. One of his sons fell under suspicion for the original murders but supposedly committed suicide. When another girl goes missing, and one of the Hults is severely beaten, the tension amps up as Hedstrom, who is missing being with his very pregnant wife, finds himself against the clock to prevent another murder. In doing so, he uncovers secrets and lies and literal buried evidence.

This book is filled with so many fascinating characters and with everybody having strained relations with nearly everyone else, it really is like a soap opera. I enjoyed the dry subtle humor to help break up the tension. While Patrik deals with the murders his wife suffers not only the hardship of late term pregnancy but also visiting friends and family who are wonderfully, devilishly selfish, and do not seem to notice their stressed and expecting hostess. For a foreign based murder mystery, this one fills the bill.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, April 2012.
Author of Night Shadows and Beta.