Johan Theorin – The Darkest Room

Johan Theorin – The Darkest Room

Winter on Oland, the Swedish island the Westins have just moved to. Joakim is on his way home when a tragic message reaches him: his daughter has died in an accident. However, when he arrives home, it is not his daughter but his wife Katrine who drowned in the cold sea. How could this happen? Why was she at the shore at all? Joakim struggles with the new situation when their home seems to start speaking to them. It is his daughter who seems to be especially responsive. She can talk to her dead mother and thus an old tradition of Eel Point is kept alive: every Christmas, the dead return to tell their story.

“The darkest Room” is the second of Johan Theorin’s Quartet set on the second largest island of Sweden. This time he combines a crime story with spooky elements to which the weather conditions fit perfectly: a winter storm is coming and people retreat to their homes. We have the ideal setting for a classic ghost story: a haunted house, a mother killed and her murder still unsolved, a child responsive to the dead, a protagonist who does not really believe in old stories but has to surrender to what is happening. Apart from this, Theorin has a second plot which we follow together with the police: a series of robberies on the island disturbs the quiet life of the islanders.

The novel is a wonderful read for winter evenings, particularly because of Theorin’s capacities of creating an intensive atmosphere which drags you into the story.