Echoes From the Dead by Johan Theorin


I picked this up based on a Goodreads recommendation and my local library had it.  This is a Swedish mystery translated into English.  I think that this accounts for the fact that the dialogue seems stilted at times, probably a translation issue not a writing issue.

If you are looking for fast paced thriller, this is not the book for you.  This moves at a much more sedate and at times non-linear pace. The focus is more on the after effects of the crime over time.  The central crime is the disappearance and assumed murder of a young child that occurred 20 years in the past.

The case is reopened with the appearance of one of the child’s sandals.  This brings the mother back to the “scene of the crime” and reunites the local people who were around at the time of the child’s disappearance.  Nothing is as it seems, the resolution is not what I expected and it was good to see that it was not a stereotypical child abduction/pedophile story.

The mother, Julia, reunites with her father in the course of investigating the new evidence.  The writer did an excellent job with the depiction of loss and depression that follows in the wake of a child’s disappearance.  I could completely relate to Julia’s issues with not being able to “let go” or move on from the loss of Jens.  I have always imagined that having a child disappear without a trace would be worse than a situation in which you know they are dead.  The not knowing would drive me mad, in Julia’s case she hangs on to her sanity with the aid of drink and isolation.

My only criticism would be that the ending or reveal seemed somewhat abrupt, however I have since realized that this is book one in a quartet so that is maybe to be expected.

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