Thursday, June 27, 2013

review: the stranger by camilla läckberg

A serial killer has come to town in the fourth book in Camilla Läckberg’s Patrik Hedström series. The initial assumption is that Marit died after crashing her car, but Patrik notices some injuries not consistent with the crash. Soon after realizing she’s been murdered, the Tanumshede squad discovers other “accidents” were actually murders. At the same time as this investigation, a reality show is taping in town and one of the contestants is found murdered. The detectives don’t see a connection at first, but after a while they link the cases.

About halfway through The Stranger I realized who the killer was, but Läckberg kept it vague so I doubted myself until Patrik made the reveal. The pacing of the scenes with the mystery is excellent, but the extra information regarding the reality show and the wedding slow The Stranger considerably. Some of the subplots (Anna, Mellberg) were enjoyable, but added nothing to the individual novel although some tied up stories from previous books while the others are likely to be developed later in the series.

Although certain elements (such as what’s going on with Erica’s sister) will make more sense if the series is read in order, the books can be read as standalones. However, the ending was clearly a setup for the next novel, The Hidden Child. The Stranger would’ve been stronger if it had ended with the wedding.

About the audiobook: Although the accent Simon Vance used was appropriate for a novel set in Sweden, it did take some getting used to (I listened to the first disc twice). Another issue I had was the rhyming names of Anna and Hanna. On the page these names would cause no difficulty, but when spoken it was difficult at times to figure out which character was involved. Thankfully Anna and Hanna never interacted. The Stranger runs 11.5 hours and is published by HighBridge Audio.
Review copy from Audiobook Jukebox.

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