Echoes of the dead by Johan Theorin


Swedish writers have a world of their own and they differ from their American counterparts when it comes to describing scenic, beautiful landscapes and the famous European countryside. Story of the book is reflected in its name. It mainly revolves around 5-6 characters.

The story is about disappearance of a 5 year boy Jens. Story starts in Gothenburg where Jens’s mother, Julia, resides. She is depressed, lonely and on her own. She is depressed because her son Jens disappeared 20 years ago on a foggy night in Oland. One night her father Gerlof calls to tell her that she should immediately come to Oland as he has received Jens’s shoe in post. Anonymous sender has also called into check if the shoe has been received. Subsequently, one of Gerlof’s (who is already octogenarian himself!) closest friend Ernst dies and the death is termed as an “accident”. Suspecting foul play, Gerlof goes on a secret mission to find out who send the shoe and who is responsible for his 5 year old grandson’s disappearance. Enter one Nils Kant, richest kid in town, who was partially responsible for drowning his 4 year old brother. Because of many senseless murders that followed, police is on a lookout on him. He fled Oland to Costa Rica. He comes back to Oland in a body bag in 1962 but the village is still haunted by his presence and all unexplained happenings are blamed on Nils. Jens disappeared in 1972 – 10 years after Nils Kant died but villagers think Nils is behind his disappearance. Book gyrates around Gerlof’s look-out for truth and he works on one theory after another to find out what happened on that foggy day. In the end he is stunned what he finds about his grandson’s disappearance.

Most of the book is in a small village orbiting around 5-6 characters at the most. The pace of novel is very slow – especially the first 70% of the book. The book picks up pace in the last 30% with the find of additional inklings and Nils Kant account coming to a climax. Gerlof does not renounce right till the end and becomes the main protagonist of the story. If you like reading a bit of super natural and mystery combined with less drama then this is book for you. I rate it a 3.75/5. Happy reading!


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