The Öland Quartet


Johan Theorin, born 1963, has spent all his summers on the island of Öland, where his debut, the crime novel Echoes From the Dead (Skumtimmen), which has received great international acclaim, takes place. In October 2009 he was awarded the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Echoes From the Dead, and then went on to win the CWA International Dagger 2010 for The Darkest Room (Nattfåk), book two in a planned series of four, all set on Öland, with one book for each season of the year. In April 2010 the third book, The Quarry (Blodläge) was published. (Source: Hedlung Literary Agency)

His last book in the so called Öland quartet, originally titled Rörgast, was published in 2013. The Spanish version El último verano en la isla, translated by Carlos del Valle Hernández has been published by Random House this month. According to Hedlung Literary Agency, Transworld has the English rights for the UK. The English title: The Ghost in the Grave

Now the sun is broiling the limestone-white island, but this vacation paradise is hiding dark secrets.

“The ghost ship came gliding through the darkness, across the glittering black water, making way for nothing and no one. It towered over the boy. It was rusty, as if it had been at sea for centuries. There was no one moving on deck, but an engine throbbed deep inside the ship like a living heart.

The rubber boat had begun to sink, so he had no choice. He reached up for the railing and climbed aboard.”

Elderly skipper Gerlof Davidsson wakes in the middle of the night to a boy pounding on his door. The boy staggers in from the shore and tells him of a ship full of dead and dying sailors and a crazy man with an axe.

It’s the start of a sultry peak season on Öland, as tens of thousands of tourists descend to celebrate Midsummer. But one of the visitors has returned home from another country to demand payment for a very old debt, and he leaves death and terror in his wake in the summer night.

In the throng of people, it is only Gerlof who begins to suspect who has come home, and why his goal is to get revenge on an entire family. He is the only one who has met the man before, in his youth, when the two of them suddenly heard knocking from a freshly-dug grave as they stood in the cemetery … (Hedlung Literary Agency)

I still believe I may have committed an injustice by not having included either The Darkest Room or Echoes From the Dead within my Top Five Crime Books. You can also find my review of The Quarry here.

4 thoughts on “The Öland Quartet

  1. Thank you, José Ignacio, for highlighting such a talented author. I’m looking forward to reading that last book in the quartet. I will also look forward to your review of it.

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