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Echoes from the Dead

(The Öland Quartet #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  6,403 ratings  ·  493 reviews
On a gray September day, on an island off the coast of Sweden, six -year -old Jens Davidsson ventured out of his backyard, walked out into a fog, and vanished….Now twenty years have passed, and in this magnificent debut novel of suspense—a runaway bestseller in Sweden—the boy’s mother returns to the place where her son disappeared, drawn by a chilling package sent in the m ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Delta (first published 2007)
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Willie In the book we discover the 'treasure' has been kept in a box by one of the characters for the 20 years since she dug it up, the jewels are then added…moreIn the book we discover the 'treasure' has been kept in a box by one of the characters for the 20 years since she dug it up, the jewels are then added into one of the ships in a bottle that are being made. I like to think that the cross is eventually buried with the child.(less)

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3.83  · 
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 ·  6,403 ratings  ·  493 reviews

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Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, swedish-lit
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
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
My favorite element in this book is the sense of place. Öland is a barrier island off the Baltic coast of Sweden. Theorin sets four novels for each season. In autumn there are very few residents in the tiny fictitious village of Stenvik. The emptiness of the thinly-soiled limestone landscape and the sparse population make for a memorable setting..... perfect for uncovering past crimes and mysteries. I'm looking forward to learning more about Öland with a new story and new characters ...more
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2012
Absolutely loved it. Beautifully written. Great misterious scandinavian atmosphere. No hot shot detectives, no fancy investigations, no boring clichees.
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.
Carey Combe
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
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...
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
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have found a new favorite author. I enjoyed Johan Theorin"s 1st book in the Oland series very much. A five year old boy disappears from the Oland Island southeast of Sweden. He was never found and his mother has been grieving for 20 years. His grandfather receives a sandal in the mail that looks like the sandal Jens was wearing on that day. The grandfather Gerloft calls his daughter Julia to come to see him so they can resolve what happened to Jens.

It was a very good mystery. I had to make mys
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scandinavian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Echoes from the Dead takes place on the Swedish island of Oland. The author makes you feel like you are actually there. His descriptions take you into the atmosphere of the town. This is not your typical mystery and the answers unravel slowly. I will read more books by this author.
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A still-grieving mother, Julia, comes home to a remote Swedish island in hopes of finding out what happened there twenty years ago to her little son, Jens, who disappeared in the fog one day and was never found. Her rickety old father, Gerlof, the stubbornest resident in the old folks' home where he now lives, has been sent a sandal that looks like one of the pair Jens was wearing the day he vanished. After one of Gerlof's equally antiquated friends is murdered, Gerlof and his friends redouble t ...more
Kat Hagedorn
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, mystery

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
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime-readers
Shelves: owned, crime, mystery
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
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable. Kind of creepy/mysterious. 2nd book of Theorin's I've read set on the island of Oland, just off the Swedish mainland. The stark landscape is much a character as the myriad individuals we get to meet along the way. Told mostly through the eyes of a mother who's boy wandered out onto the Alvar (limestone) in the fog and disappeared, and her father who puts together clues as to the boy's disappearance and what might have happened to who they suspect the murderer is.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best crime novels I have read in some time but not just a crime novel. The violence in it is not excessive and not prevalent the atmosphere is developed well. The themes of loss of a child family relationships and the importance of place and memory are well thought out. It is the first book of four and I will be looking out for the others.
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Janette Fleming
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Echoes from the Dead is a translated fiction work from Swedish author Johan Theorin. Originally published in 2007, the Swedish Academy of Crime gave it the Best First Mystery Novel award. It is first in a series called The Öland Quartet.

Julia Davidsson is existing rather than living. Since her 5-year-old son disappeared 20 years ago, Julia has become estranged from her family and entered into a loving relationship with alcohol, Her stupor and self-inflicted exile are interrupted when she receive
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is about Julia, the mother of a young boy (Jens) who disappeared 20 years ago. Julia is haunted by this occurrence and has become estranged from her family because of it. Julia's parents were watching Jens when he vanished and Julia can't help but blame them to some extent.

Julia's mom has since died and Julia's dad (Gerlof) has developed a serious illness. Now, someone has sent Jens' sandal to Gerlof. Gerlof informs Julia and she goes back to visit him. Gerlof and Julia are determined
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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

Other books in the series

The Öland Quartet (4 books)
  • The Darkest Room (The Öland Quartet, #2)
  • Blodläge (The Öland Quartet #3)
  • Rörgast (The Öland Quartet #4)
“Eighty was not as old as some thought, but of course it was easier to understand when an old person disappeared without a trace than when it happened to a child.” 0 likes
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