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The Preacher (Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck, Book 2) Paperback – 4 Mar 2010
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Praise for Camilla Lackberg:
‘The hottest female writer in Sweden’ Independent
‘Heart-stopping and heart-warming … a masterclass in Scandinavian crime writing’ Val McDermid
‘Pacy … with flashing insight into the dark places of the psyche’ Sunday Times
‘Lackberg is an expert at mixing scenes of domestic cosiness with blood-curdling horror’ Guardian
‘Both chilling and thrilling’ Sun
From the Author
Your novels begin with visually distinctive crime scenes a body frozen in a bathtub or a girl arranged on two skeletons. Does imagery inspire your plots?
For me actually, specific images snapshots come first, and then the story starts to come together from those bits and pieces. I am very visual when I write, I "see" the story in pictures and writing a book is like having a movie running in my head 24/7.
One of the books strengths is the contrast between Erica's warm character and blossoming romance and the viciousness of the crimes. Was this a difficult balance to strike?
My goal when I started writing about my couple Erica and Patrik, was to make them as ordinary people as possible. They are no superheroes, they have the same joys, sorrows and obstacles in life as most of us, and I love writing about them falling in love, and still after six books in the series, I enjoy so much being able to follow their life. To me they really exist. They have become my closes friends and they are very, very real.
Theres plenty of humour in the book. The character of Mellberg for example is someone who would be detestable if he werent so ridiculous, and his pratfalls provide light relief. Few crime writers use humour, other than the gallows kind, so how did this style come about? Do you think it has become part of the books success?
I think my own sense of humour is quite goofy, and for example I love to play pranks on people.... But as a writer I am also interested in contrast. It is contrast that creates tension in a story, and it just felt natural to balance the dark parts of the book, with lighter parts. I guess I kind of want to take my readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and laughter is a wonderful thing to bring to the table....
Who do you imagine your typical reader to be?
I have thought a lot about who my average reader is. But I have to say that Im finding it harder and harder to find a specific type. I meet a lot of my readers in signings and reading sessions, and they range for 15-year-old girls to 80-year-old men.
How many books are planned in the series?
In Sweden it has been popular among crime writers to write ten books in a series. But I have always resisted deciding beforehand how many books I will write about Patrik and Erica.
Do you plan to keep all your work in Fjällbacka with Patrik and Erica?
I only focus on one book at a time, and have decided that I will write about Patrik, Erica and Fjällbacka as long as it gives me joy, and excitement. Beyond that, who knows what the future will bring!
Sweden seems to have a particular cultural attachment to crime fiction, where it seems to be taken pretty seriously by writers. Why do you think this is such a Swedish form?
We have a great tradition of crime writing in Sweden, and I think that started with a crime writing couple named Sjöwall & Wahlöö. They wrote great books in a whole new style, and set the bar high for all of us that has followed.
You have featured in Swedish gossip pages while most of our UK newspapers are filled with stories about talentless models. Could you tell us a little about how this happened, and how you feel about it?
For me the interest from the Swedish gossip magazines started when I divorced a few years ago. I was fairly well known in Sweden already, but it really chocked me that my divorce became headline news in Sweden. And after that it was like there was no going back, and the slightest thing in my life seemed to be of public interest.... Then it so happened that I met a new man who is also very well known in Sweden he is a policeman who was Swedens first winner of "Survivor"- and with that the gossip magazines and the tabloids just went nuts.... And I dont like that kind of attention in the media. But I try not to let it affect my life too much.
I believe there was a TV film made of the book in Sweden. What did you think of it? Are there plans for any other screen adaptations?
I loved the Swedish TV-series and especially the casting, which was great. They did the two first books and the series had very high ratings when it aired in Sweden, so they will now film the next two books come this fall. As of distribution abroad, I dont know when and if that will happen, but we are actually in discussions with a French production company who are interested in "The Ice Princess"See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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I think that Camilla can and that she will do it easily and with a similar improvement to that we have seen in Karin's work.
the first ,set in a small Swedish coastal town,which is
basking in a hot summer.It is a riveting read ,and confirms
her place amongst the panoply of first-rate Scandinavian
A naked young woman is found murdered,together with the
skeletons of two women who went missing from the town 20 years
previously.The likeable Detective Patrik Hedstrom,whose wife
Erica is heavily pregnant, leads the investigation,impeded by
some indolent and incompetent colleagues.After a teenaged female
holiday-maker goes missing the enquiry turns it's attention onto
the dysfunctional Hults family.
Interspersed with the police procedural aspects are details
of the relationships and domestic lives of some of the characters,
emphasing the fact that horrendous crime is often rooted amongst
ordinary people and their normal concerns.
The reader can never be sure as to the motivation for the
crimes,and it is this that holds one's attention to the end.
If some of the other reviews I have read here are to anything to go by, Lackberg has suffered from this comparison. Her writing is of a very different style and format. The feminine side of her has resulted in a book that focuses on the relationships and emotons of the key characters as well as on the mystery involved. In my opinion, her writing is to be compared with that of Faye Kellerman The Ritual Bath than any other writer.
This book opens with the discovery of the corpse of a young girl ... and, under her corpse are the skeletons of two women who disappeared in the late 1970s. It is up to Patrik Hedstrom to lead the investigation team to find out what has happened.
Before long, suspicion falls on one family ... but, as the key suspect for the earlier murders is long dead, who could be guilty?
As a long time fan of CSI, I have to admit that I beat Patrik to part of the solution, but thatdid not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
I'm moving on to The Gallows Bird next. I just wish The Ice Princess were available on Kindle too! I guess I'll just have to wait for that one!
You are considering "tuning into" my current favourite, Skandi author. And trust me I've read a few.
I disagree with a fellow reviewer - read the Ice Princess first - agreed it is not necessary, and not as good as this one - but the back-stories around Erika's sister and Patrik and their getting together - is helpful in understanding his self-doubt when it creeps in as well as their financial circumstances.
The story - which I loved - and only worked out 70 pages from the end (of 419)- is teriffic but detailed elsewhere by others.
And in summarising it I fear i will give away the final couple of twists.
Instead here's why I prefer Mrs Lackberg to the others from her grouping.
Like most I started with Stig Larsson and devoured his trilogy in a weekend by the shore.
Picked up on Jo from the Snowman's excessive marketing - before retracing his bibliography back to the start and enjoying the cynacism and the healthy disregard of rules by Harry Hole all the more.
Thanks to Amazon's "people who bought that, also bought..." logic I then tripped around maybe 20 other crime writers from the colder climes of Europe before alighting in April upon the Ice Princess.
Its been said everywhere but (a) she doesnt waste words unnecessarily (b) gives far more depth and flesh and detail into her characters (which is refreshing after nesbo)(c) in my view structures her books better (in particular the frequent use of parallel stories from different times as in The Preacher) (d) does not hide behind the now cliched "cop with issues" tag that I now so pointedly despise and (e) lays her stories on top of perfectly normal physical landscapes and families.
I will always be a sucker for the deliberately slow-pacing of the Van Veetern novels of Hakan Nesser but have now relegated him to second on my all time Skandi-chart on account of the shere humanity on show from this lady. I scoffed a little on the strap-line to the Ice Princess - but it is even truer here. "Heart-stopping AND heart-warming". A real neat trick to pull off within a novel belonging to a fairly stoic genre.
Definitely life-affirming - which given the subject matter and motivations of the completely mad killers written about here - is great writing.
Am sure others will scoff - but I truly felt emotional depth in this book. The Icelandic chap Indridason probably goes closest in this regard. The dilemma of sister Anna is truly upsetting but written with stunning clarity and warped logic. The psychological aspects of characters' motivations in these books is beautifully put down on the page.
Well done to all involved. The editor and translator to name but two of the team responsible. And the dedication at the start is very sweet given what has happened since.
Highly recommended. My book of the year so far.
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