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Johan Theorin

Continuing with my immersion in Scandinavian mysteries, I just discovered this author.  Theorin is a journalist who lives in Gothenburg, but his novels are set on the remote island of Oland where his forebears lived for centuries.  They were hardy farmers and fishermen whose tall tales and ghost stories have found their way into Theorin’s novels.  The isolated setting alone creates a sense of danger, which the dark winters and harsh blizzards of the climate intensify.  Then there are the bogs thought to have been sites of ancient sacrifice.  A sense of menace grows palpably with each chapter of Theorin’s thriller-crime novels and the final plot twists are clever and surprising.  The unusual detective in this pair of novels is Gerlof Davidson, a retired sea captain.

Two of his books are available in the U. S. and they’ve just been added to eSequels, even though they aren’t new.  Another one is expected in 2011.

Echoes from the dead (Delta, 2008)      Somebody mails Gerlof a sandal that belonged to his grandson who disappeared twenty years earlier.  Gerlof and his daughter Rose piece together the strange tale that finally explains what happened to him.

The Darkest Room (Delta, 2009)     Stockholm schoolteacher Joakim Westin, his wife Katrine, and their two young children are just settling into a big old house on the remote northern island of Öland.  But tragedy strikes and Katrine drowns.  Joakim tries to carry on, but slowly becomes obsessed with the ghostly feeling that Katrine is still nearby.

–posted 8/19/2010

Posted August/19/2010

New Swedish mysteries by Lackburg

Well I’ve read The Ice Princess (Pegasus, 2010) by Camilla Lackberg  and I wasn’t impressed.  One thing is certain,  Steig Larsson fans will not like Lackberg’s books (try them with the Mary Higgins Clark crowd).  Her novels are about as far removed from the stereotypical Swedish mystery as you can get. There are no thugs, no chase scenes, no gloomy policemen.  Her main characters are biographer Erica Falck and policeman Patrik Hedberg and their growing attraction to each other, at least in the first book, eclipses the mystery they solve.  Lackberg’s mysteries are set in Fjallbacka, a coastal summer resort not far from Goteberg, but very little nordic atmosphere leaks into this plot–it could just as easily have been set in Bar Harbor.  Nevertheless Lackberg was voted Swedish Writer of the Year for 2005 and this book (the first to be published here) is getting a lot of hype.

–posted 8/12/2010

Posted August/12/2010

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