From Publishers Weekly
Set predominantly on the Baltic island of Öland, Theorin's deeply disturbing debut will remind many of Henning Mankell both in its thematic intensity and dark tone. Two decades after the unsolved disappearance of a young boy, Jens Davidsson, who vanished one foggy autumn afternoon in 1972 and was presumed to have drowned, Jens's grandfather, Gerlof, a retired sea captain, receives one of Jens's sandals in the mail. Gerlof enlists his alcoholic daughter, Julia, who's still struggling to come to grips with the loss of her only child, to help solve the mystery. All leads point to infamous thug Nils Kant, who was rumored to have killed numerous people. But Kant allegedly died years before the fateful day that Jens disappeared, so who could've killed the boy? And why? Further investigation leads the unlikely sleuths to some startling revelations about their isolated island community and its much-storied history. (Nov.)
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*Starred Review* Another winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award, and another excellent crime novel. In the 1970s, on the island of Oland, a small boy disappears in the fog. For 20 years, his mother puts her life on hold until her father calls and says he has a clue. Returning to the island is hard for Julia, and she packs two bottles of red wine for assistance. Arriving at her childhood village, she is quickly drawn into her father’s circle of elderly friends, all interested in helping solve her son’s disappearance, but the solitary (and somewhat endearing) pensioners are not always willing to share clues. Julia’s modern-day search alternates with historical scenes from the life of Nils Kant, the village scapegoat and a suspect in the disappearance. This narrative strategy for drawing in the reader and advancing the story is reminiscent of Jo Nesbo’s outstanding Redbreast (2007), and it works equally well here. Julia finally faces her grief and begins to heal even as she begins to understand the many mysteries buried in the island’s history, giving the novel a hopeful and uplifting ending. The island, though vividly rendered, will not seem particularly foreign to American readers, and the fully fleshed characters and excellent plot should appeal to all crime and thriller readers. Essential for all crime collections. --Jessica Moyer