Thursday, January 22, 2015

Favourite Discoveries of 2014 (4)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2014 comes from Lynn Harvey who chooses a Swedish writer.

Lynn Harvey's Favourite Discovery of 2014

My favourite discovery of 2014 was a retro-read of the three "Öland" books of Swedish writer Johan Theorin who writes a wonderful mixture of modern crime and psychological chill. The towering presence in these books is Öland itself, a long, flat island connected to the Swedish mainland by a bridge. Once peopled by fishermen, sailors and quarrymen it has become a desirable summer holiday destination for successful Swedes. In Theorin's hands, the island still resonates with its history, landscape, folklore and ghosts, alongside its incomers – not to forget – enough modern day crime to satisfy the Euro Crime reader

The first in the series, ECHOES FROM THE DEAD, deals with the legacy of a child's sudden disappearance some twenty years before. In true Theorin style the story combines present day life with a look back into the community's history and its characters before driving through to its moving and suspenseful end. The second, THE DARKEST ROOM, is a truly atmospheric winter read. A young family moves into a run-down manor house at Eel Point. As Öland begins to face the Baltic winter blizzards, one of the family is found drowned. Theorin weaves supernatural and natural strands together so well that it seems that both worlds will collide in its tense conclusion. Finally, with THE QUARRY, we are more firmly rooted in present day Öland, predominantly peopled by holiday homers, returners, and a few elderly islanders. But there are still traces of past tragedies and secrets which filter in with the fog, fairies, trolls and the contemporary crimes of murder and greed. All of the Öland novels are beautifully translated into English by Marlaine Delargy and I think they are jewels in the realm of Scandi-Noir.
The final part in Johan Theorin's Öland quartet, The Voices Beyond, will be published in July.

No comments: