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The Darkest Room: A Novel Paperback – September 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Theorin’s deeply disturbing debut will remind many of Henning Mankell both in its thematic intensity and dark tone.”—Publishers Weekly
“Vividly rendered . . . The fully fleshed characters and excellent plot should appeal to all crime and thriller readers.”—Booklist, starred review
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Top Customer Reviews
The main setting is Eel Point, which is made up of an imposing and historic manor house, itself built using timber from a shipwreck and thus associated with superstitions by the locals who think it cursed. This is not helped by the dark reputation it has acquired over the decades after several deaths there. The author credibly uses the flashback technique to show us the numerous tragedies that have befallen the inhabitants of Eel Point over the years since the 1800s. In the contemporary setting, the reader is introduced to Joakim and Katrine Westin, a young couple who have recently moved from Stockholm to Oland, having bought the manor house at Eel Point. Together with their two young children, Livia and Gabriel, the family is in the process of settling into their new home when tragedy strikes. Tilda Davidsson is the novice cop who assumes responsibility on the island and finds her hands full dealing with suspicious break-ins throughout the island, a complicated love affair, and also a great-uncle who is recounting old family stories to her.
The different story arcs are well-explored and credibly told, with a cast of interesting characters that are also explored at length, especially the main characters, i.e. Joakim and Tilda.Read more ›
Having said that, in my opinion Johan Theorin is well on his way to becoming as big a writer as Henning Mankell. Like Mankell, this author's writing transcends the mystery genre and becomes literature. And fans of Scandinavian mysteries (of which I am one) will appreciate Theorin's wonderful descriptions of the Swedish island's fierce landscape and weather, almost transforming them into major characters.
Eel Point's bad karma may indeed be a factor when disaster strikes and Joakim is left to pick up the pieces. Little does he know that other dramas are playing out on the island, as well. A small band of thieves have started targeting uninhabited homes, and they soon set their sights on making larger hauls from houses whose owners are asleep. In addition, a twenty-seven year old police officer named Tilda Davidsson, who has just started a new job at Marnäs, is paying frequent visits to her grandfather's brother, former sea captain Gerlof Davidsson. At eighty, the old man remains extremely sharp. Not only does he have an excellent memory, but he enjoys solving difficult puzzles and finding connections that others miss. All of these plot threads eventually converge in a most unpredictable manner.Read more ›
One day Joakim comes home to discover that Katrine has drowned in shallow water near Eel Point's twin lighthouses. Although the police proclaim it an accident, Tilda Davidsson, a cop new to the area, isn't convinced and conducts her own investigation in her free time. And while a burglary ring breaks into summer homes and Tilda quietly gathers information, the grieving Joakim and his children feel that Katrine is somehow still with them.
Once again the setting is Öland, an island that the author is very familiar with, having spent many childhood summers there. Theorin's family, sailors and farmers, has lived on the island for generations. His physical knowledge of the area has combined with the stories and the history of the place to make wonderfully atmospheric books. The Darkest Room, in many ways, is even more atmospheric and horripilating than his first book, Echoes From the Dead, which I also loved.
A thin thread links this second book to the first, since Tilda Davidsson is the great niece of Gerlof Davidsson who played such a large role in Echoes From the Dead. Joakim Westin grieves so much for his wife that it's not always certain whether what he's seeing and hearing is really there. The three burglars are unpredictable, and that increases the sense of unease. And then Theorin weaves in the stories and histories of Eel Point from several generations. Each story explains a bit more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this book at a library sale in April when I was visiting my son. I started to read it and couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 1 month ago by JenningsWriter1Reviews
Very well-written, excellent character development. Very intense and suspenseful. I will look for other books by this author.Published 2 months ago by Patricia Land
Very disappointed. I love Theorin first book "Echoes from the dead" and I was expecting some similar thriller but I encountered a ghost's story. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Guzman
Theorin's writing uses great characterization and setting to pull the reader into intriguing stories about "real people". Read morePublished 8 months ago by Graham Botha
First book by John Theorin that I have read. I enjoy mysteries and this one is pretty good. Will read some of his other books.Published 9 months ago by Jackie Jack
it is difficult to appreciate what life is like living in Oland.to non-Swedes.Published 9 months ago by jkobi2011
Really enjoyed this book - not what I expected. A bit spooky and am glad Gerlof gets involved again. The super sleuth of the old folks home!Published 10 months ago by CMB
The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin has been sitting on my To Be Read pile for a while. It was only when I finished it that I realised it’s the second of a quartet of books, each set... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Elizabeth Lhuede
A very atmospheric novel set on the island of Oland, off the coast of Sweden. I found myself worrying about the safety of the main characters as the novel progressed - a rare event... Read morePublished 11 months ago by urszulat