Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review: The Quarry by Johan Theorin

Some secrets should never be revealed!

As the last snow melts on the Swedish island of Oland, Per Morner is preparing for his children's Easter visit. But his plans are disrupted when he receives a phone call from his estranged father, Jerry, Begging for help.

Per finds Jerry close to death in his blazing woodland studio. He's been stabbed, and two dead bodies are later discovered in the burnt-out building. The only suspect, Jerry's work partner is confirmed as one of the dead. But why does Jerry insist his colleague is still alive? And why does he think he's still a threat to his life?

The Quarry is the third in a seasonal quartet of books set on the quiet island of Oland but the first I have read and while the synopsis suggests a straightforward crime thriller it has a great deal more to offer. The crime provides a focus for the story but it is the other threads so skillfully woven into it that make this book stand out.

Spring is beginning to stir on Oland...........old Gerlof has left the retirement home and returned to his island cottage ....
" The sunshine in the middle of the day was beginning to entice the butterflies out. For Gerlof they were the most important sign of spring. Even as a little boy he had waited to see the first butterflies appear and to see what colour they were."
Butterflies symbolize transformation and spring transforms the environment. It is the season of new beginnings and the old year giving way to the new. This theme is central to the whole story as all of the main characters , in different ways, are in the process of change, of letting go of the past and moving into a new cycle of their lives.

The old nordic myths also have a part to play which adds another delightful dimension to this tale. Elves that can grant one's secret desires and trolls that lurk in the island's deserted quarry help create a wonderful dark and haunting atmosphere.

The suspense builds slowly as, slowly, hidden secrets are brought to light and the characters are forced to face their greatest fears.

Rather different than what I expected in the most positive way. I loved it and look forward to reading the previous two in the series.
Highly recommended!

Translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy
Genre: Crime suspense
Publisher: Transworld, 2011

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  1. This sounds great! I especially like the inclusion of old myths, it sounds like it might be a bit like In the Woods with the mythical stuff in the background of the modern story.

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  3. Danielle - I thought it was very good and I love anything that includes myth and legend. Hope you will enjoy it.

  4. This sounds like a fantastic book! I've come to love International authors after my introduction with Stieg Larsson. This one is going on my TBR list!