Audiobook Review: The Stranger

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Many thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and to HighBridge Audio for sending a copy of The Stranger by Camilla Läckberg (Patrik Hedström #4). Nothing better than a thriller that offers multi-dimensional characters, a clever plot, and a spinning whodunit!  I couldn’t make heads or tails of the leads in this multiple-murder-mystery, and for that, I’m thankful.  Love a novel that keeps me guessing to the bitter end.  Time to visit Fjallbacka!

When a local woman is killed in a car crash, and the circumstances just don’t add up, Patrik Hedström is on the case.  The woman killed in what appeared to be a single-person drunk driving accident rarely drank a drop. Foul play becomes evident.  If this case was not enough, a tawdry reality show is taping in the local town, and a murder victim pops up on that scene as well.  How in the world are these two murders linked? How could a mind-mannered woman’s car accident be connected to the murder of a reality show contestant?  ARE they related at all?

So many of the characters swirling around each case are questionable, you’ll wonder what to make of them.  Too many are characters that will make you cringe.  A few of them will make your blood boil.  In other words, you will have quite a nice list of potential murderers.  See if you can figure it out.  Guess away.  Perhaps you will do better than I did.

What I like most about Läckberg’s writing is the people of her novels.  She pens them with great attention to detail, and by the end of the story, you feel as though you’ve known each one for years.  She offers her readers just as much material on her bad guys as her heroes.  Getting a glimpse of what makes anyone tick – good or bad – can be fascinating.  I also find her protagonist detective Hedström immensely likable, albeit the cooing between he and his fiancée did make my eyes roll a couple of times.  Their love for one another was immensely sweet, if not too sweet.  This is perfectly manageable though, since those moments did offer a few breaks from the anxiety surrounding the case work.

I also love that while Patrik Hedström is a series, you can pick up any of them, and enjoy a fast-paced story.   A few of the personal details of the characters may leave you scratching your head for a little bit, but you’ll still be able to hunker down with a smart mystery.

Truly, I can’t say much more about The Stranger, because even the smallest tip of the hat could give away too much.  I don’t want anyone to have an advantage when taking on this tale.  What I will say is that it’s a page burner that will keep you alert.  The title doesn’t even make sense until the end.  Now that’s tricky.

Now I must turn my attention to the narrator of this audiobook, Simon Vance.  One word: BRAVO.  Brilliant! Masterful embodiment of every character.  Vance breathed the perfect amount of emotion into every one. If you are thinking of giving The Stranger a try, I highly recommend the audio version.  It’s worth your while!

4 stars for The Stranger by Camilla Läckberg.