Voted Sweden's Best First Crime Novel by the Academy of Crime, and an international bestseller- a haunting debut crime novel about a missing child.
Throughout his life, Johan Theorin has been a regular visitor to the Baltic Island of land. His mother's family - sailors, fishermen and farmers - have lived there for centuries, nurturing the island's rich legacy of strange tales and folklore. A journalist by profession, Johan is currently working on the third novel.
Decades after her five-year-old son, Jens, disappeared from his grandparents' seaside cottage on the Swedish island of öland, Julia Davidsson still is unable to move on. The family is permeated with guilt; when Jens slipped away in the morning, Julia had gone to reconcile with his father, her ailing mother slept, and her father, Gerlof, was out tending his fishing nets. After receiving an anonymous package containing a child's shoe, Gerlof and two cronies play detective, their suspicions centering on Nils Kant, a violent local man who escaped capture and emigrated after killing a police official. They are undeterred by Kant's presumed death years before Jens vanished. Theorin skillfully shifts between past and present in detailing Kant's history, Gerlof's suppositions and discoveries, and Julia's gradual ascent from depression. A final twist reveals motives of greed and revenge and leads, at last, to closure. Theorin, who won the Swedish Best First Crime Novel Award for this book, is a mystery author to watch. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 8/08.]-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Set predominantly on the Baltic island of öland, Theorin's deeply disturbing debut will remind many of Henning Mankell both in its thematic intensity and dark tone. Two decades after the unsolved disappearance of a young boy, Jens Davidsson, who vanished one foggy autumn afternoon in 1972 and was presumed to have drowned, Jens's grandfather, Gerlof, a retired sea captain, receives one of Jens's sandals in the mail. Gerlof enlists his alcoholic daughter, Julia, who's still struggling to come to grips with the loss of her only child, to help solve the mystery. All leads point to infamous thug Nils Kant, who was rumored to have killed numerous people. But Kant allegedly died years before the fateful day that Jens disappeared, so who could've killed the boy? And why? Further investigation leads the unlikely sleuths to some startling revelations about their isolated island community and its much-storied history. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Evocative and haunting, with a subtle sense of
menace that grows with each page -- Simon Beckett, author of
The Chemistry of Death
An impressive debut novel...Theorin's excellence in conveying bleak atmosphere is matched by his insight into sensitive family relationships * THE TIMES *
Fantastic... Theorin's prose is wonderfully descriptive * GUARDIAN *
There is warmth in Theorin's narrative and the gradual piecing together of the story leads to an unexpected denouement * SUNDAY TELEGRAPH *
Sheer storytelling grip such as this is relatively rare. A particular strength is the evocation of locale and atmosphere here; it is masterfully done * THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE *