Deon Meyer Makes a Bold Claim about Scandinavian Crime Fiction
Posted by: Keir Graff
Mystery Month madness continues as we continue to mark the publication of Booklist‘s May 1 Mystery Showcase with all sorts of crime-fiction extras. Here on Likely Stories we’re opening each day with a red-hot recommendation from a red-hot author. Deon Meyer is a best-seller both in his native South Africa and abroad. His novels have been translated from Afrikaans into 25 languages, and he has been nominated for and won a wide variety of awards. In her starred review of Meyer’s Thirteen Hours (2010), Joanne Wilkinson wrote: “Expertly cutting away from the politicized police investigation to the plight of a terrified young girl literally running for her life, Meyer also steeps his novel in the day-to-day life of a country still reeling in the wake of radical transition.” When we asked Meyer to share his favorite crime-fiction read of the past year, he didn’t hesitate to make a recommendation—and a bold claim as well.
His prose is mesmerising, lean and lovely. His novel is dark and atmospheric, like the Scandinavian landscape he writes about. His story is beautifully crafted and cleverly weaved. He is Swedish, and he’s better than Larsson and Mankell.
His name is Johan Theorin, the book is Echoes from the Dead, and it’s my favourite crime fiction of the past year.
A child’s shoe arrives in the mail, and brings hope that Julia Davidsson’s son might still be alive. The child disappeared 20 years ago, but the mystery goes back much further. Perhaps to the Second World War.
Set on the Swedish island of Öland (Theorin spent his childhood summers there), Julia and her aging father try to piece together the past, and soon someone wants to stop them.
Echoes from the Dead was voted Best First Mystery Novel 2007 by the authors and critics of the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers and won the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger at the 2009 Crime Thriller Awards.