Thursday, 13 November 2014

Grey Doll & Criminal Reading: A Retro "Johan Theorin" Read

You know that I like to travel when I read (as opposed to reading whilst I travel, because travel I don't.) Where was I? Aah. Reading in a foreign manner....

A while ago I listened to "The Quarry" by Swedish writer Johan Theorin. I liked it so much that... discovering that it was actually the third in a series of novels set on the Swedish Baltic island of Öland... I ordered up the previous two novels.
I've got the break needed to get back to them and have just finished the first in the series "Echoes From The Dead" which confirms my respect for this writer. Well-crafted, filled with convincing characters, psychology and suspense, this too has that trademark of Theorin which may not be to everybody's taste... the lightest touch of the supernatural. I don't mean Stephen King scales of horror. I mean a light Nordic touch that accepts trolls, spirits, ghosts, whatever, as inhabiting the same space as you and I and that they may or may not take part in the narrative. (Think Indridason, Kallentoft...)

"Echoes From the Dead"- translated into English by Marlaine Delargy (Theorin, Asa Larsson, and John Ajvide Lindqvist) - tells the story of a child's death on the island of Öland in the 1970s. His mother, scarred by her loss, has returned to visit her father who lives in a residential home on the island. It is some twenty years later but someone has sent a package to the old man. It contains a child's sandal. This is a moving, gripping story but what I like about this series as much as anything else is the island itself - a place scarred by the lost industries of its past and now inhabited mainly by summer visitors who have renovated the old houses and come to enjoy the sea and beaches of the Baltic.
Er.. sounds a bit like Cornwall really.
Anyway, I'm off to start the second in the series: "The Darkest Room".

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