The Preacher (Fjällbacka Series #2)

( 32 )

Overview

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 campers, but their bodies were never found. But now, a young boy out playing has confirmed the grim truth. Their remains are discovered alongside those of a fresh victim, sending the tiny 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...

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The Preacher (Fjällbacka Series #2)

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Overview

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 campers, but their bodies were never found. But now, a young boy out playing has confirmed the grim truth. Their remains are discovered alongside those of a fresh victim, sending the tiny 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, religious fanatics and criminals. The suspect list is long but time is short—which of this family’s dark secrets will provide the vital clue?

Praise for The Ice Princess:

“The hottest crime genre of the moment is Nordic noir and Swedish writer Camilla Läckberg (who shares Stieg Larsson’s translator) is one of the reasons. As with all Scandinavian murder mysteries, it’s darker,
bleaker, and the plot far more sinister than similar American fare. Larsson fans who give Läckberg’s novel a chance to seduce them will be rewarded."—USA Today

“At the start of Läckberg’s haunting U.S. debut, biographer Erica Falck feels compelled to write a novel about why her beautiful friend Alex would kill herself. Läckberg skillfully details how horrific secrets are never completely buried and how silence can kill the soul."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Camilla Läckberg has written seven blockbuster novels in her native Swedish but, until now, no one has published any of them in the United States. Now Pegasus Books has stepped forward.”—The New York Times

“Heart-stopping—a masterclass in Scandinavian crime fiction."—Val McDermid

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In hardcover, this novel was hailed as "a precisely layered, highly engrossing story... [Stieg] Larsson fans who give Läckberg's novel a chance to seduce them will be rewarded." This standalone sequel to the international bestseller The Ice Princess brings detective Patrik Hedstrom back to the remote Swedish fishing village of Fjällbacka. His latest investigation is literally multi-layered: The naked corpse of a young woman has been discovered lying atop the long-buried remains of two earlier victims. An A-list Scandinavian mystery writer in a strong effort. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Jules Herbert

Publishers Weekly
Swedish bestseller Läckberg's worthy second thriller set in the coastal town of Fjällbacka (after The Ice Princess) opens with a grim discovery—the naked fresh corpse of Tanja Schmidt, a German tourist, on top of the skeletal remains of two young women, later identified as Mona Thernblad and Siv Lantin. All three were killed in the same way, but as Det. Patrik Hedström and his team soon discover, Mona and Siv went missing in 1979, and Johannes Hult, the prime suspect in their disappearances, is long dead. The reason for a sadistic killer's reappearance may be hidden among the many secrets and conflicts of a local clan of religious eccentrics. The troubled Hults, from conniving founder (known as the Preacher) to philandering spouses, show a Ross Macdonaldesque love of twisted family relationships, while Läckberg's colorful, diverse police force, staffed with the competent, the incompetent, and the merely distracted, recalls the humanist touch of Dutch author Janwillem van de Wetering. (May)
Publishers Weekly
This sequel to Läckberg's internationally bestselling The Ice Princess finds Scandinavian police detective Patrik Hedstrom returning to the earlier novel's small fishing village of Fjällbacka, Sweden, where the naked corpse of a recently slain young woman has been discovered on top of the long-buried remains of two other victims. Hedstrom investigates, and when another woman disappears, he focuses his efforts on a dysfunctional and antisocial local family. While Hedstrom's detective work is interesting, the audiobook is burdened with too many unrelated subplots and references to the previous novel. Additionally, some listeners will have difficulty remembering and distinguishing the Nordic names of the many characters. Though David Thorn's accent is unwaveringly authentic, his fluty, melodramatic narration fails to match the author's hardboiled prose. An Avon Pegasus paperback. (June)
Washington Post
“A clever plot and in-depth characterization aren’t the only qualities that elevate The Preacher above most other thrillers. . . .The Preacher can go up against the Larsson books head-on when it comes to narrative drive and skillful exploration of family secrets.”
Washington Post
Guardian
“[Läckberg] is an expert at mixing scenes of domestic cosiness with blood-curdling horror! A must for white-knuckle junkies.”
Guardian
Booklist
“Fans of Stieg Larsson novels hungry for brooding explorations of the dark side of Swedish society will find much to appreciate in Läckberg’s second mystery, following The Ice Princess. . . . [Narrator David] Thorn’s gravelly baritone underlines the brutal murders and ominous undercurrents, fueled by dark family secrets.”
Booklist
The Bookwatch
“Springs to life in audio.”
The Bookwatch
Irish Independent
“A welcome addition to the swelling ranks of Scandinavian crime writers! A good, solid read.”
Irish Independent
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451621778
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Series: Fjällbacka Series , #2
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 80,111
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Camilla Läckberg worked as an economist in Stockholm until a course in creative writing triggered a drastic career change. Her novels have all been #1 bestsellers in Sweden and she is the most profitable native author in Swedish history. Camilla’s books have been published in thirty-five countries. She lives in Stockholm.

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Read an Excerpt

The Preacher


  • The day was off to a promising start. He woke up early, before the rest of the family, put on his 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 held a magical attraction for a six-year-old. The fact that the King’s Cleft was forbidden ground made it all the more tempting.

The name had originated from King Oscar II’s visit to Fjällbacka in the late nineteenth century, but that was something he neither knew nor cared about as he slowly crept into the shadows, with his sword ready to attack. His father had told him that the scenes from Hell’s Gap in the film Ronja Rövardotter had been filmed inside the King’s Cleft. When he had watched the film himself, he felt a little tickle in his stomach as he saw the robber chieftain Mattis ride through. Sometimes he played highwaymen here, but today he was a knight. A knight of the Round Table, like in the big, fancy colored book that his grandmother had given him for his birthday.

He crept over the boulders that covered the ground and made ready to attack the great fire-breathing dragon with his courage and his sword. The summer sun did not reach down into the cleft, which made it a cold, dark place. Perfect for dragons. Soon he would make the blood spurt from its throat, and after prolonged death throes it would fall dead at his feet.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw something that caught his attention. He glimpsed a piece of red cloth behind a boulder, and curiosity got the better of him. The dragon could wait; maybe there was treasure hidden there. He jumped up on the rock and looked down the other side. For a moment he almost fell over backward, but after wobbling and flailing his arms around he regained his balance. Later, he would not admit that he was scared, but just then, at that instant, he had never been more terrified in all six years of his life. A lady was lying in wait for him. She was on her back, staring straight up at him with her eyes wide. His first instinct was to flee before she caught him playing here when he wasn’t supposed to be. Maybe she would force him to tell her where he lived and then drag him home to Mamma and Pappa. They would be so furious, and they were sure to ask, how many times have we told you that you mustn’t go to the King’s Cleft without a grown-up?

But the odd thing was that the lady didn’t move. She didn’t have any clothes on either, and for an instant he was embarrassed that he was standing there looking at a naked lady. The red he had seen was not a piece of cloth but something wet right next to her, and he couldn’t see her clothes anywhere. Funny, lying there naked. Especially when it was so cold.

Then something impossible occurred to him. What if the lady was dead? He couldn’t work out any other explanation for why she was lying so still. The realization made him jump down from the rock, and he slowly backed toward the mouth of the cleft. After putting a few yards between himself and the dead lady, he turned around and ran home as fast as he could. He no longer cared if he was scolded or not.

*   *   *

Sweat made the sheet stick to her body. Erica tossed and turned in bed, but it was impossible to find a comfortable position. The bright summer night didn’t make it any easier to sleep, and for the thousandth time she made a mental note to buy some blackout curtains to hang up, or rather persuade Patrik to do it.

It drove her crazy that he could sleep so contentedly next to her. How dare he lie there snoring when she lay awake night after night? She gave him a little poke in the hope that he’d wake up. He didn’t budge. She poked a little harder. He grunted, pulled the covers up and turned his back to her.

With a sigh, she lay on her back with her arms crossed over her breasts and stared at the ceiling. Her belly arched into the air like a big globe, and she tried to imagine her baby swimming inside of her in the dark. Maybe with his thumb in his mouth. Although it was all still too unreal for her to be able to picture it. She was in her eighth month but still couldn’t grasp the fact that she had another life inside her. Well, pretty soon it was going to be very real. Erica was torn between longing and dread. It was difficult to see beyond the childbirth. To be honest, right now it was hard to see beyond the problem of no longer being able to sleep on her stomach. She looked at the luminous dial of the alarm clock. 4:42 a.m. Maybe she should turn on the light and read for a while instead.

Three and a half hours and one bad detective novel later, she was about to roll out of bed when the telephone rang shrilly. As usual she handed the receiver to Patrik.

“Hello, this is Patrik.” His voice was thick with sleep. “Okay, all right. Oh shit, yeah, I can be there in fifteen minutes. See you there.”

He turned to Erica. “We’ve got an emergency. I’ve got to run.”

“But you’re on vacation. Can’t one of the others take it?” She could hear that her voice sounded whiny, but lying awake all night hadn’t done much for her mood.

“It’s a murder. Mellberg wants me to come along. He’s going out there himself.”

“A murder? Where?”

“Here in Fjällbacka. A little boy found a woman’s body in the King’s Cleft this morning.”

Patrik threw on his clothes, which didn’t take long since it was the middle of July and he only needed light summer clothes. Before he rushed out the door he climbed onto the bed and kissed Erica on the belly, somewhere near where she vaguely recalled she once had a navel.

“See you later, baby. Be nice to Mamma, and I’ll be home soon.”

He kissed her quickly on the cheek and hurried off. With a sigh Erica hoisted herself out of bed and put on one of those tentlike dresses that for the time being were the only things that fit her. Against her better judgment she had read lots of baby books, and in her opinion everyone who wrote about the joyful experience of pregnancy ought to be taken out in the public square and horsewhipped. Insomnia, sore joints, stretch marks, hemorrhoids, night sweats and a general hormonal upheaval—that was closer to the truth. And she sure as hell wasn’t glowing with any inner radiance. Erica muttered to herself as she slowly made her way downstairs in pursuit of the day’s first cup of coffee. Maybe that would lift the fog a bit.

By the time Patrik arrived, a feverish amount of activity was already under way. The mouth of the King’s Cleft had been cordoned off with yellow tape, and he counted three police cars and an ambulance. The techs from Uddevalla were busy with their work and he knew better than to walk right into the crime scene. That was a rookie mistake, which didn’t prevent his boss, Superintendent Mellberg, from stomping around among them. They looked in dismay at his shoes and clothing, which at that very moment were adding thousands of fibers and particles to their sensitive workplace. When Patrik stopped outside the tape and motioned to his boss, Mellberg climbed back over the cordon, to the great relief of Forensics.

“Hello, Hedström,” said the superintendent.

His voice was hearty, bordering on joyful, and Patrik was taken aback. For a moment he thought that Mellberg was about to give him a hug but thankfully, this turned out to be wrong. Nevertheless, the man appeared completely changed. It was only a week since Patrik had gone on vacation, but the man before him was really not the same one he’d left sitting sullenly at his desk, muttering that the very concept of vacations ought to be abolished.

Mellberg eagerly pumped Patrik’s hand and slapped him on the back.

“So, how’s it going with the brooding hen at home? Any sign that you’re going to be a father soon?”

“Not for a month and a half, they say.”

Patrik still had no idea what had brought on such good humor on Mellberg’s part, but he pushed aside his surprise and tried to concentrate on the reason he’d been called to the scene.

“So what have you found?”

Mellberg made an effort to wipe the smile off his face and pointed toward the shadowy interior of the cleft.

“A six-year-old boy sneaked out early this morning while his parents were asleep and came here to play knights among the boulders. Instead he found a dead woman. We got the call at six fifteen.”

“How long has Forensics had to examine the crime scene?”

“They arrived an hour ago. The ambulance got here first, and the EMTs were immediately able to confirm that no medical help was needed. Since then they’ve been able to work freely. They’re a bit touchy . . . I just wanted to go in and look around a bit and they were quite rude about it, I must say. Well, I suppose one gets a little anal crawling around looking for fibers with tweezers all day long.”

Now Patrik recognized his boss again. This was more Mellberg’s sort of tone. But Patrik knew from experience that it was no use trying to alter his opinions. It was easier just to let his remarks go in one ear and out the other.

“What do we know about her?”

“Nothing yet. We think she’s around twenty-five. The only item of clothing we found, if you could call it that, was a handbag. Otherwise she was stark naked. Pretty nice tits, actually.”

Patrik shut his eyes and repeated to himself, like an inner mantra, It won’t be long until he retires. It won’t be long until he retires . . .

Mellberg went on obliviously. “The cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, but she was beaten severely. Bruises all over her body and a number of what look to be knife wounds. And then there’s the fact that she’s lying on a gray blanket. The medical examiner is having a look at her, and we hope to have a preliminary statement very soon.”

“Has anyone been reported missing around that age?”

“No, nowhere near it. An old man was reported missing about a week ago, but it turned out that he just got tired of being cooped up with his wife in a camper and took off with a chick he met at Galären Pub.”

Patrik saw that the team around the body was now preparing to lift her carefully into a body bag. Her hands and feet had been bagged according to regulations to preserve any evidence. The team of forensic officers from Uddevalla worked together to get the woman into the body bag in the most efficient way possible. Then the blanket she was lying on also had to be put in a plastic bag for later examination.

The shocked expression on their faces and the way they froze instantly told Patrik that something unexpected had happened.

“What is it?” he called.

“You’re not going to believe this,” said one of the officers, “but there are bones here. And two skulls. Based on the number of bones, I’d say there are easily enough for two skeletons.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Highly recommended - if you don't mind the terrible job of profreading.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the setting, the complex story. My only complaint has to do with the TERRIBLE proofreading job done on this book. I read The Ice Princess also, and found no errors. The Preacher became almost annoying to read and follow the complex story because I had to fill in missing words, misspelled words, mechanics errors. I also plan to write the publisher

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Filled with characters, dark mystery with character

    A small boy plays among the rocks of a well-known Swedish tourist spot. A policeman sleeps beside his heavily pregnant wife. A rebellious teen heads home. There's an oppressive summer heat hanging over all, and then there's a dead and very curiously positioned body. The scene is set for an exciting Swedish mystery, and the reader is pulled into the lives of a large and varied assortment of characters, each viewing the world in their own different ways, each hiding secrets as they navigate the world of conventional, and unconventional, courtesy. Twisted relationships reveal themselves smoothly, each hint and detail leading to the next, keeping the reader glued to the page. And the Preacher, past or present, is a complex, conflicted character.

    As Patrik investigates death, Erica struggles with the weight of new life inside and old relationships intruding on every breath. Recent murder contrasts with long-forgotten crime. Sodden rain contrasts with oppressive heat. And families, with all their attendant tribulations, become a recurring theme. Meanwhile the family once famous for miraculous healing proves inadequate to the task of healing itself.

    The novel grows darker as clues appear and disappear, like sun between clouds. The story is satisfyingly twisted, the characters complex, and the sense of time and place very real; an enjoyable dark suspense with a well-drawn Swedish setting, solid police-work, and a cast of characters well able to support a series. I suspect from some comments in the story that this isn't the first of the series, but it's a perfectly good place to start.



    Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review; I enjoyed the read but struggled with some formatting errors, hopefully fixed in the final copies.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    Great Read

    I couldn't put the book down. I. tried to figure out the ending but just could not figure it out. GREAT STORY!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    highly recommended-look for yourself!

    execellent!!a really great writer,lookingforward to stonecutters.an ideal book for abookclub.mystery readers will love her.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    horrible book. Horrible translation

    Imbecikic characters and storylines. Possible the transator is the problem but realy... don.t waste your time. I figured out the ending so early but kept reading hoping i was wrong. Ugh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2011

    Great Read - Check it out!

    I've read both this and The Ice Princess and I'm impressed with how she weaves in the varying threads to create a cohesive story. Can't wait for the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    Highly recommended

    I loved this book so much that I ordered the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    One of the best thriller series I have read in a long time.

    I could not put the book down. It kept me guessing and wondering throughout the whole story. The way the author blends story lines together is very refreshing and unusual.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    Terrific story..keeps your attention!

    I really liked this story. I want to read all her books as available!
    Hope they keep translating them! I could hardly put it down and the characters are so interesting.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    Another talented Swedish author.

    Along with Larsson, Nesser, Mankell, Roslund & Helstrom, this is an author I enjoy reading. I've put her The Stonecutters on my to-read list. Fast moving fiction.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    Far-fetched and full of characters who do not have any common se

    Far-fetched and full of characters who do not have any common sense and a bunch of keystone cops headed by a delusional chief. The main characters are also problematic...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A horrible waste

    It doesn't bother me that many readers are able to find value in this pathetic excuse for a novel, but to have professional critics compare it to the likes of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo is inexcusable. At the start I, too, considered the translation to be sub par but after further reading I recognized the writing as the lowest level of pedestrian and, worse yet, condescending. Lackberg should have kept her job as an economist. This book is absolute garbage.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

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    Posted March 31, 2012

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