Johan Theorin

Echoes From The Dead

"Not just highly recommended, essential.'"


Twenty years ago, Julia Davidsson’s five year old son disappeared on the Swedish island of Oland. Although presumed dead, his body was never found and Julia, to the despair of her family, has never recovered from the tragedy. It appears that the mystery will never be solved until one day Julia’s father, still living on the island, receives a shoe that he believes belongs to the missing boy. Although at first reluctant to return to the island, Julia makes the journey to confront her past and try to discover what really happened all those years ago.

The island folk have never forgotten the tragedy and are convinced that the killer was the damaged Nils Kant, a man capable of extreme acts of violence. But Nils Kant died before Julia’s son disappeared, so why are the islanders so convinced that he had a hand in it?

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This is an extraordinary debut crime novel that stretches the boundaries of the genre whilst elegantly enhancing it. Although a missing child is difficult subject matter to deal with, the book focuses on the aftermath of the disappearance rather than the agony of the search. Johan Theorin’s writing is clear and concise and the excellent translator is to be applauded. The story is never prurient or overindulgent and this allows the reader to feel genuine distress at the obvious pain of Julia, yet also offers valuable insight into how a missing child can impact on a family, often for decades. As a central protagonist Julia Davidsson is a highly complex character. On the one hand the reader empathises with the pain and loss she clearly feels, yet she is also obviously a difficult person as evidenced by her relationship with her father and sister. Yet it is the intelligent and ingenious plot that makes this book truly stand out from the crowd. The uncovering of past events across the years is very well written and will enthrall the reader... even the ending holds one last big surprise! Not just highly recommended, essential.

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