Thursday, January 24, 2008
Echoes from the Dead is set on a chilly, windswept island off the coast of Sweden. The story follows Julia Davidsson and her father Gerlof as they delve into the twenty-year-old disappearance of Julia’s young son, Jens. It is a quieter book than some mysteries. Julia’s long-held grief over her lost son is very well portrayed. Gerlof is a former ship’s captain in his eighties. The search for new information about Jens is partly a way to escape the care facility where he lives and feel important again. And then there is the shadowy figure of Nils Kant. He is revealed in historical chapters interspersed throughout the story. Nils is legendary on the island, evoked almost as boogieman, and Gerlof thinks he was involved in Jens’s disappearance.
The best part about Echoes from the Dead was that Theorin kept me guessing about what happened to Jens and Nils Kant, and about what might happen to Julia and Gerlof.
Monday, January 21, 2008
The story takes place in Berlin during the winter of 1946-1947. With resources at a frightening low, this is the worst time for one of the coldest winters on record. Pavel Richter, a decommissioned American soldier, is just barely getting by when another former-soldier comes to him for help covering up the death of a Russian midget. When the friend later turns up dead, Pavel is drawn into an investigation of multiple murders. There’s also a monkey and a hooker with a heart of, well, maybe not quite gold. I loved this book. It’s especially great for readers of Alan Furst, Philip Kerr, and those who, like me, loved Winter in Madrid.