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Echoes from the Dead (The Öland Quartet #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  4,173 ratings  ·  344 reviews
Can you ever come to terms with a missing child? Julia Davidsson has not. Her five-year-old son disappeared twenty years previously on the Swedish island of Oland. No trace of him has ever been found. Until his shoe arrives in the post. It has been sent to Julia's father, a retired sea-captain still living on the island. Soon he and Julia are piecing together fragments of ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published March 7th 2009 by Black Swan (first published 2007)
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This is a story about victims. Not about being a victim, or the modes of victimization and self-victimization, but a story about victims moving through lives that have victimized them.

Or maybe it is about loss.

There is a mother who lost her son twenty years before and descended into alcoholism, deep depression and a loss of society.

There is a grand/father who lost his grandson and most of those he's cared about in his life -- simply through the movement of time -- who's never had the love of t
Franco  Santos
Me gustó mucho este libro. Johan Theorin nos hechiza con una prosa exquisita. Amo cómo describe los paisajes nórdicos, los climas y los sentimientos de los personajes. Lo que tiene de particular este autor de novelas negras es que ahonda en mitos escandinavos. Éso le da un toque mágico y hermoso, que me cautivó con vehemencia.

El relato es lento, como toda novela escandinava, pero te absorbe con firmeza. Te hace viajar a Suecia, más precisamente a Öland, y con su estilo de escritura nos hace sen
This was the book that I won last year through a Goodreads contest. I just now got around the reading it and wished I hadn't put it off. This is an exceptional thriller with twists and turns around every corner and an ending that you don't see coming.

In 1970, on a day when fog covers all, a little boy disappears never to be seen again. Years later his grandfather, now living in an assisted living establishment, receives one of his sandals in the mail. Just that and nothing else. So begins the j
Jim Coughenour
The new word in this book is alvar, the limestone pavement habitat on the Swedish island of Öland – a topography that plays the same role in this story as the Yorkshire moor does in Wuthering Heights. And if this is an odd way to begin a review, well, it's an odd book.

Echoes from the Dead is another Scandinavian crime story riding in on the crest of Henning Mankell's deliciously cheerless Wallander novels – but it's less a policier than a sometimes whimsical, mostly sad family drama. I could ade
Carey Combe
I am obviously out of step with the rest of the reviewers. It wasn’t bad, but I just kept skipping huge chunks because I wasn’t interested enough. in the end just skipped straight to the end of the book...
Absolutely loved it. Beautifully written. Great misterious scandinavian atmosphere. No hot shot detectives, no fancy investigations, no boring clichees.
Ellen Keim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oakes
A very haunting story, Echoes From the Dead begins in 1972, when Jens, a 6-year old boy, decides that he'll scale the garden wall while his grandmother's taking a nap and everyone else is away from the home. We are told right away that in the fog,Jens encounters someone identifying himself as Nils Kant, and after that, he's just gone. Flash forward 20 years, and his mother, Julia, has still not gotten over his disappearance. Most everyone has assumed he'd drowned; she's not willing to believe he ...more
This novel has the best sense of place I’ve read in a long time. Theorin paints with a few words scattered through his dialog: sparse yellow-brown grass in a small meadow, low, gnarled juniper and moss-covered stones, wind, cold, limestone beaches, pointy firs. He writes of Öland Island, off the southeastern coast of Sweden. I waited until I finished the book to look up photographs, but you may want to have a look now. It is a scrubby island landscape with the ruins of a most intriguing castle.

Maria João Fernandes
Nem tudo é o que parece.

1972. Na Suécia, na isolada ilha de Öland, Jens desaparece, sob a supervisão dos seus avós. Da última vez que nós vemos o pequeno rapaz de 6 anos, ele encontra-se com um cidadão local, no meio do nevoeiro cerrado. A partir daqui, ninguém sabe o que realmente aconteceu. Mistério? Algum, sim.

1992. Vinte anos após o desaparecimento do filho, Julia recebe uma chamada do pai e juntos começam a investigar o passado. A par da narrativa, de ritmo quase parado ou mesmo inexistente
Nov 27, 2008 Jmm rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jmm by:
Twenty years ago Julia Davidsson's 5-year-old son Jens disappeared into the fog on the remote Swedish island of Öland and was never found. Everyone except Julia believes Jens wandered down to the shore and drowned. Unable to accept that her son is dead, Julia withdraws from her family and stumbles through life using alcohol and medication to deaden the pain of not knowing. Then, after all these years, her father Gerlof calls to tell her that someone has sent him one of Jens's sandals in the mail ...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Just when I thought I had discovered the best Scandinavian authors, I find Johan Theorin. He is one good story teller and this is a book I did not want to put down, even for a minute. The story is about a little boy of six years old, who disappeared in 1972 and was never found. Twenty years later, his eight-year old grandfather, who was taking care of him on the day he disappeared, has received one of the boy's sandals in the post and he contacts his daughter and asks her to come down to the Isl ...more
Kat Hagedorn

Finally, I get a decent book from LT-- one in which I'm not rolling my eyes at the writing every few pages or wishing the themes were less yawn-inducing. And, actually, I have no idea how well written the original book was since this is a translation of a Swedish murder mystery. Because it climbed to the top of the charts over there, I expect the decent writing is coming through in the translation (especially in terms of the descriptions of the island of Öland and its co
Many years ago a small boy disappeared. He climbed over his parents’ garden wall and disappeared into the mist.

Now, twenty years on, the first piece of evidence has come to light. A new investigation begins.

A simple story, but Johan Theorin builds on it very well indeed.

He builds characters.

First there’s Julia. it was her son, Jens, who disappeared. She has never come to terms with her loss, never learned to live with it. She was already separated from her husband, and her refusal to accept that
Another strong Scandinavian mystery. The father-daughter protagonists who come together to solve the mystery of little Jens' 1972 disappearance really grow on you, and the pace of the book is awesome. Theorin goes nonlinear, even in the present, which is quite a gift. The book, which addresses many key issues such as old vs new Scandinavian culture, island village vs mainland, etc is quite atmospheric. You can really feel the old shipping days and the lively Orland community that sadly got repla ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Minna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime-readers
Shelves: mystery, owned, crime
I was going to do a comparison between this book and John Ajvide Lindqvist's Människohamn (Harbour) because the description of them were so similar and they were published at roughly the same time. The premise for the book is that a child went missing during a visit near the sea and that one parent (in this book the mother, in Harbour the father) can't get over the tragedy and seeks comfort at bottom of every bottle. In the now the parent has returned to the scene, trying to get closure and to f ...more
New series, new author for me. I liked it very much. Looking forward to the rest of the series. It was so well written I had to look back and check - it was a translation.
One of the best I have read this year. I was captivated by the characters and the suspense made me never want to put the book down. I am so looking forward to Johan Theorin's next book to be in my hands.
I found the character of Julia to be pathetic. Quite possibly one of the saddest, most pathetic literary characters I've read. She lost her son, at 5 years old, over 20 years ago. but she makes no effort to get over it and get on with her life. She drinks too wine, and wallows in self pity. Then her father - who's in an old person's home tells her he has a sandal, possibly the one her son, Jens wore the day he disappeared.

The story revolves around two people, who may or may not be dead. Nils Kan
Mar 20, 2010 Joanna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime/mystery lovers
What is it about Swedish crime/mystery writers?? Although this is not a typical crime story, no witty, big mouch characters, detectives, computer hackers. Five year old boy disappears from his grandparents house without a trace on the foggy day on the small, quiet island on the Baltic Sea. Twenty years later his mother is still in depression, without life, energy, friends, close to falling into alcoholism. Her 80-years old father has just moved to the retirement home, when his friend brings him ...more
João Carlos
1 - Johan Theorin é um jornalista sueco, nascido em 1963 em Gotemburgo. De acordo com o seu próprio relato, a família da sua mãe – marinheiros, pescadores e agricultores – viveu durante séculos na Ilha de Oland, situada no Mar Báltico, a segunda maior da Suécia, com cerca de 140 Km de comprimento e apenas cerca de 16 Km de largura, visitada por imensos turistas no Verão e quase desabitada no rigoroso Inverno nórdico;
2 - Apaixonado pelas magníficas paisagens e pelas velhas histórias - contadas po
Ingrid Verschelling
Schemeruur is het debuut van Johan Theorin.

Op een mistige dag aan het eind van de zomer verdwijnt Jens, een jongetje van vijf jaar op het Zweedse eiland Öland. Een grote zoektocht volgt, maar er is geen spoor van hem te vinden. De moeder, Julia, is radeloos en wordt erg depressief. Het is het begin van een nachtmerrie voor haar. Iedere dag vraagt ze zich af wat er met Jens gebeurd is. Twintig jaar later worstelt ze nog steeds met de gevolgen van de verdwijning van haar zoon. Hij is nooit gevonde

Wow. What a ride! This is not something I would've chosen myself at library but my friend in Sweden recommended it and our library had it. She was concerned the suspense may have been lost in translation but.....not the case. Every chapter made me want to keep reading. I'd stay up til 2 or 3a losing sleep hoping to get to the end to see if Julia would find peace in her sons disappearance. Yet my heart would race a lot it was creepy.

This book was great. I now know why Helena read it 4
Translated from the Swedish, this compelling story mingles past and present very skillfully. Julia Davidsson has been mourning the loss of her five-year-old son Jens for twenty years. He disappeared into the fog one day and was never seen again, presumed drowned, but his body was never found and Julia is haunted by the fact that he may still be alive and wants to know what happened to him. She has, over the years, distanced herself from family back on the Baltic island Öland because it's just to ...more
I'm just under half way through this book and I am struggling.It doesn't grip me and I couldn't care either way about the characters.Really don't care if Julia finds out what happened to her son when he disappeared 20 years earlier,did he drown or was he murdered I really don't care.However once I've started a book I need to finish it,maybe not right away but assuming I'll live for a few more years then I will finish it.Did finish it and it did improve slightly by the end.The problem could be th ...more
Sadly, it took about 200 pages before this book finally grabbed my attention. I usually stick w/ a book til the end regardless but I did set this one aside for a few days before feeling like I was ready to finish it. The writing was good but somehow the detailed descriptions of the characters lives didn't really tell me much about them. They seemed very one dimensional & I never quite understood
why it took 20 years for a mother & grandfather to look harder for the truth about their 5 ye
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Not what I expected, if you like a crime book with a cracking pace and edge of your seat, page turning excitement, skip this book. What a rambling book, it just had paragraph after paragraph of never ending words that ultimately had me wondering when we were getting to the good bit, it never came.

I found the characters very wooden and lacking in depth, the plot didn't really build momentum, in fact it wavered and failed on my opinion, the ending wasn't worth the amount of reading I persisted wi
Dec 01, 2008 Charlotte rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people depressed about the economy, so they can see their lives aren't so bad
Shelves: mystery
What is going on with these depressed Scandinavian writers? The guy at Aunt Agatha's was telling me last week that he met a crime writer from Iceland who said that setting stories there is really limiting because they only have like five murders per year. So a serial killer plot is sort of out. Then we speculated about whether the murder rate would increase now that Iceland's entire economy has collapsed. All of which is to say, if you like drawn-out, sort of subdued murder mysteries that take p ...more
Michele Weiner
At last, a real mystery. It is the story of a little boy who disappeared one day, and how his grandfather and mother found his murderer twenty years later. There were plenty of twists and lots of very annoying missed opportunities for communication. in the first pages, the author tells you that the grandfather's name, Gerlof, is actually pronounced Yair-loff, which distracted me so much that I could hardly attend to the plot.

Every time the name appeared, I would need three tries (Ger-loff, Hair
This book actually turned out to be a lot better than I thought. The language at first came across rather stilted, but as i became more accustomed to reading the odd phrases I got more hooked on the story.
The three main characters Nils, Julia and Gerlof all had an integral part in the story, but for me the stand out character wasn't Nils, it was Gerlof. The old man saw things and probed in a natural way to make a slow burning book come full circle to an exciting ending and a mystery solved.
I c
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Scandinavian Myst...: Johan Theorin 4 32 Oct 14, 2011 09:05PM  
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Throughout his life, Johan Theorin has been a regular visitor to the Baltic island of Öland. His mother’s family – sailors, fishermen and farmers - have lived there for centuries, nurturing the island’s rich legacy of strange tales and folklore. A journalist by profession, Johan now lives in Gothenburg.

Echoes from the Dead (originally published in Sweden as Skumtimmen) is Johan’s first novel. In 2
More about Johan Theorin...

Other Books in the Series

The Öland Quartet (4 books)
  • The Darkest Room (The Öland Quartet, #2)
  • Blodläge
  • Rörgast
The Darkest Room (The Öland Quartet, #2) Sankta Psyko Blodläge Rörgast På stort alvar

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