Book Review: Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin
March 13, 2011 13 Comments
This was my last (of three) books from the Great Transworld Crime Capers event. It is the first in a series of four books by the Swedish writer Johan Theorin. The books all take place on Öland, an island off the Swedish east coast. From what I read about the second book, it does not seem to be related to the first, so you can read them independently.
Echoes from the Dead: What it is about
Julia Davidsson has been grieving for her missing son for 20 years. He disappeared from his grandparents’ house on the Swedish island of Öland.
She lives in Gothenburg and has been taking time off sick as a nurse of and on for a long time now. She also drinks too much. Her husband left her not long after the disappearance.
Her father still lives on Öland, in an old people’s home. When he receives a childrens’ shoe in the post, he asks Julia to come and see if it could be Jens’, her son.
Together (and separately) they go around the island talking to people they think may know more about what happened 20 years ago. Is the island’s most notorious man, Nils Kant, who was buried 30 years ago, still alive after all?
Echoes from the Dead: What I thought
Rating: 4/5 Initially, I thought Julia was a little unbelievable, to be actively mourning for her son after so many years. I can’t say what I would do in her situation, and I don’t want to know, but it seems Julia had put her life on hold for the last 20 years, just until she would find out what happened to her son.
The book had a great sense of place. The island and, in places, its very few inhabitants, the sea, the wilderness, I could visualise it all very clearly.
Both Julia and her father become stronger people during their search. Gerlof, the father, manages long trips outside the old people’s home and Julia manages to stay away from the wine and pills and slowly starts to deal with her son’s likely death. These were great character developments, especially Julia’s.
The book wasn’t a exactly a thriller, but more than a mystery. Someone dies, under circumstances which are not immediately suspicious, but the idea that Nils Kant may still be around is frightening and makes the book suspenseful.
The book was also about family, family relationships, grieving and coping. Recommended.
I got this book: free from Transworld Publishers as part of their Great Transworld Crime Capers
I read this in: English, the original language is Swedish
Number of pages: 480
First published: 2007
Extra: Also read my review of The Quarry by Johan Theorin