The Preacher-Camilla Lackberg

The Preacher

Camilla Lackberg

Free Press/Simon and Schuster, Feb 7 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451621778


In Fjallbacka, Sweden, police detective Patrik Hedstrom is on vacation spending time with his eight months pregnant mate Erica when the call comes from Superintendent Mellberg.  A six-years old boy exploring the mouth of the King’s Cleft discovered the corpse of a naked lady.  Patrik arrives in time to get his boss away from contaminating the crime scene.  When Forensics lifts the body, they find the skeletal remains of two more victims.  Mellberg asks Patrik to lead the investigation as his other detectives, Martin lacks experience and Ernst lacks imagination; Martin resents not getting a chance to lead and Erne rages over the Kid getting another case.


Patrik believes the older skeletons are female teens, Siv Lantin and Mona Thernblad, who vanished in 1979.  The autopsies affirm that each victim was tortured in a deliberate simmering manner until death provided relief.  The latest deceased is identified as German Tanja Schmidt.  Time becomes precious when a young girl vanishes without a trace while evidence points to the Hult family.


The keys to this strong Swedish police procedural (see The Ice Princess) are the profound look inside the souls of the key players to learn what motivates each them; including negative incentives and the discerning glimpse into group dynamics when time is running out.  Using flashbacks to 1979 to tell the tale of the Hult evangelical healers who are involved in the present day investigation enhances the overall tension.  Although Erica’s sister Anna’s domestic problems with her ex add to the look at what moves people, this subplot takes away from an otherwise taut Swedish whodunit.


 Harriet Klausner

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