JOHAN THEORIN

Swedish journalist and author, most famous for his ghostly crime novels set on the island of Öland.

Öland is the second largest Swedish island and is located in the Baltic Sea just off the southwestern coast of Sweden.
The Öland Bridge is a road bridge connecting the town of Kalmar on the mainland and the island of Öland. It is one of the longest bridges in Europe and has a characteristic hump at its western end which was created to provide a vertical clearance of 36 m for shipping.
In the winter Öland is windy and rather desolate but its open landscape, ancient settlements and lovely beaches attracts thousands and thousands of visitors in the summer.

Öland plays a very important part in the novels by Johan Theorin and the very special landscape is almost a kind of main character. Read more about Öland and the landscape where the books are set.

Johan Theorin portrait

Biography

Johan Theorin was born in 1963 in Gothenburg, but today he lives in Stockholm, where he works as a journalist and writer. Throughout his whole life he has spent the summers on Öland, where his mother’s family – sailors, fishermen and farmers – have lived for centuries. He has written four books on Öland, one for each season of the year.
The series is called the Öland Quartet Mysteries and in these books he lets the past with all its tales of supernatural phenomena meet the present in modern crime fiction stories of greed, guilt and revenge.

Books

The Öland Quartet series:

Echoes from the dead by Johan Theorin

Echoes from the Dead (Book 1 in the The Öland Quartet Series)
2008
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Original title: Skumtimmen (2007)
A six year old boy, Jens, disappears into the fog at Öland. His family and the police look for him for weeks but he is never found. More than 20 years later his mother, Julia, receives a phone call from her father, Gerlof Davidsson, a retired sea captain who still lives on the island. He has received a package with a child´s sandal in the mail – and he thinks the shoe belongs to Jens. Julia returns to Öland to find out more – and now she is told the story of Nils Kant, en evil man who lived on the island long ago…
This is a chilling psychological thriller, where the past extends its shadows into the present and the author creates a mysterious, foggy and ghastly atmosphere. The “alvar”, which is a large raised rocky plain on Öland plays an important role in the story.


The darkest room by Johan Theorin

The Darkest Room (Book 2 in the Öland Quartet Series)
2009
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Original title: Nattfåk (2008)
A young couple from Stockholm, Katrine and Joakim, and their two children move into an old lighthouse-keeper´s manor house at Eel Point on the east coast of Öland. The house was built long ago by timber from a shipwreck and has a strange history. The house is said to be haunted and there is a rumour that the dead gather in the house every winter to celebrate Christmas. Before long Kathrine is found drowned close to the house. It looks like an accident, but the young policewoman Tilda Davidsson, Gerlof´s niece, is not convinced…
This is a well written story, something between a crime fiction book, a family drama and a ghost story. The author uses the flashback technique to tell us about the many tragedies that have hit the inhabitants at Eel Point during the years and when the blizzard strikes Öland with snow, ice and wind the past and  the present close in on each other.


The quarry by Johan Theorin

The Quarry (Book 3 in the Öland Quartet Series)
2011
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Original title: Blodläge (2010)
Per Mörner, a marketer from Stockholm, has inherited an old house near the quarry in Stenvik on Öland. It is March and he is preparing for his children´s Easter visit, when he receives a phone call from his father, who is in mortal danger…
One of Per´s neighbours, Vendela Larsson, has grown up on Öland and has returned in hope to meet the elves she heard about as a child. The old sea captain Gerlof Davidsson lives close to the quarry, a place where trolls and elves – according to the old folk tales on the island – once fought a huge battle, which left a thick red layer in the rocks in the quarry from all the blood that flowed. Gerlof is old but cannot resist getting involved in the mysterious events around him. Soon the threads from the past come across the present – and in the center is the old quarry.


The voices beyond by Johan Theorin

The Voices Beyond (Book 4 in the Öland Quartet Series)
2015
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Original title: Rörgast (2013)
It´s summer and the tourists are invading Öland – and among them is the young boy Jonas Kloss, who is going to stay with his aunt and uncle on their luxury resort. One night he takes a small boat out onto the moonlight sea, but his boat is hit by a large ship and the horror he finds on board this ship is unimaginable.
The ship and its cargo are closely linked to the Kloss family, but also to the mysterious Homecomer, a man returning to revenge something that happened many decades earlier. Fleeing for his life, Jonas meets Gerlof Davidsson, the retired sea captain, who knows a lot about Öland, past and present, and now once more finds himself in the middle of a mystery with real axe-men and many old secrets.

Standalones:

The asylum by Johan Theorin

The Asylum 
2013
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Original title: Sankta Psycho (2011)
This stand-alone psychological thriller takes place on the Swedish west coast and is told from the point of view of Jan Hauger, a young man who is a child care worker. He takes a job at a nursery school attached to Saint Patricia`s psychiatric hospital, housing the most violent and insane criminals in the country. The children have their parents at the clinic and the nursery is connected to the institution by an underground tunnel, by which the children are brought to visit their parents.
Jan takes good care of the children, but there are some questionable events in his past and he also seems to be obsessed with a young singer, who is an inmate at the clinic. The story takes place in a very unique, dark and closed environment and Jan`s past is revealed bit by bit, which slowly increases the tension.