Echoes from the Dead and The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin

I have finally read the first two novels by Johan Theorin: Echoes from the Dead (original title: Skumtimmen) and The Darkest Room (original title: Nattfåk). I had heard so many good things about the novels, so I was a little worried that they would not live up to my expectations. There was no need to worry as I absolutely loved these novels, and the second one was even better than the first. Grief is the central theme in both novels, and the author mixes the present with the past and turns the criminal novel into part ghost story with a phenomenal result.

A little boy disappears without a trace in the early seventies. In Echoes from the Dead the boy’s mother Julia starts investigating the disappearance with her father Captain Gerlof Davidsson twenty years later. Nils Kant, once the town’s bad boy, also plays a central part in the novel despite the fact that he died before the boy disappeared. He is rumored to still wander the fields of southern Öland at dusk.   

In The Darkest Room the Westin family moves from Stockholm to an old lighthouse keeper’s building at northern Öland. The legend says that the house was built from old shipwrecks, and it does not take long before the family hears other scary legends about the place. When strange things start to happen they wonder if there is any truth behind the stories.

Johan Theorin has won prestigious awards in Sweden for both novels. He plans on writing two more novels, which will take place in the spring and summer to finish his Öland-foursome, where each novel represents a season. I will definitely read those novels too.

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