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Steenbloed by Johan Theorin
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Steenbloed (2010)

by Johan Theorin

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2321249,816 (3.68)3
Member:Boekenbeestje
Title:Steenbloed
Authors:Johan Theorin
Info:De Geus
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Rating:****
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The Quarry by Johan Theorin (2010)

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English (7)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (12)
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SYNOPSIS
As the last snow melts on the Swedish island of Öland, Per Morner is preparing for his children's Easter visit. But his plans are disrupted when he receives a phone call from his estranged father, Jerry, begging for help.

Per finds Jerry close to death in his blazing woodland studio. He's been stabbed, and two dead bodies are later discovered in the burnt-out building.

The only suspect, Jerry's work partner, is confirmed as one of the dead. But why does Jerry insist his colleague is still alive? And why does he think he's still a threat to his life?

When Jerry dies in hospital a few days later, Per is determined to find out what really happened. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more danger he finds himself in.

And nowhere is more dangerous than the nearby quarry...

I loved Johan Theorin's [bc:Echoes from the Dead|6562154|Echoes from the Dead (The Öland Quartet #1)|Johan Theorin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1298724923s/6562154.jpg|3269806]and [bc:The Darkest Room|7178978|The Darkest Room (The Öland Quartet #2)|Johan Theorin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327539716s/7178978.jpg|6264759] and this the third novel doesn't disappoint. Johan Theorin's main character Gerlof Davidsson, is moving out of the care home that he moved into in earlier novels. He's fed up doing nothing, sitting waiting to see who will be next resident to be wheeled out on a stretcher to the hospital or funeral home

He moves back to his cottage near the island's quarry, to live alone but close by are a number of 'holiday homes' and their part time residents.

Gerlof becomes entangled in the dark, troubling secrets surrounding his neighbours as the past and the present intertwine. This is mirrored in the development of tourism and its effect on the island, its inhabitants and the ‘old ways’

Theorin is such a wonderful writer, you become totally immersed in his words. His characters, plotting and the depictions of family relationship are exquisite. But it is the atmosphere the author creates soaking his stories in the wonderful sinister magic of the Swedish island of Öland, a place of dark myths, folklore and legend. The reader can almost feel the watery, weak arrival of Spring after the brutal winter and the sweet wind rushing over the Alvar

The location is like being on the edge of the world, one of those places where the sky meets the sea, beautiful, mysterious but ever so slightly disturbing.

Perfection... ( )
  jan.fleming | May 2, 2013 |
The Quarry is the third of Johan Theorin’s quartet of seasonal novels set on the Swedish island of Öland. It is the beginning of spring now and 83 year-old retired sea captain Gerlof Davidsson has decided to leave the senior citizen’s home in which he has been living. He doesn’t want to watch any more of his friends wheeled slowly from the home after dying alone in the night and he wants to spend however many years he has left at home in his cottage in Stenvik. As he settles himself back into his cottage he reacquaints himself with those villagers he has known for ever and starts to meet his new neighbours. Although the Swedes don’t really come to Öland in any numbers until the summer, Gerlof is not alone. There’s Per Mörner who inherited his uncle’s cottage near the quarry which was once a source of employment for villagers but is now abandoned. We also meet Vendela Larsson and her husband Max. Vendela grew up on the island as the poverty-stricken daughter of a quarry worker but now she is the owner of one of the newly built luxury homes and she has come here with Max so that he can write his latest self-help book (using an astonishing three desks and a significant amount of Vendela’s expertise).

Per’s father Jerry has recently had a stroke and so when his house is burned down Per, reluctantly, brings him to Stenvik to recover. It seems that Jerry’s shady past might be catching up with him and Per feels compelled to investigate what might have happened even though his relationship with his father is strained to say the least. If nothing else though it will take his mind away from the awful reality of his daughter’s hospitalisation for an unknown illness. Per is a brilliant characterisations in which a full range of human experience and emotion is credibly depicted. We see his frustration at not being able to do anything for his daughter, his ambivalence over his father’s unsavoury career and current circumstances and his yearning to connect with his own son and not knowing quite how to achieve it.

Alongside this main story there are multiple threads which are expertly woven together in a way that demands you read on while the suspense becomes almost unbearable. Gerlof, who can never resist a puzzle, spends some of his time helping Per with his investigation but he also embarks, rather guiltily, on reading his wife’s old diaries that he was meant to have burned after she died. He learns about some of the events in her life that took place while he was away at sea for long stretches and which just adds to the mystery unfolding before us all. Gerlof is one of my favourite characters of all time I think, the kind of 80-something I aspire to be: intelligent, thoughtful and pragmatic about the hand life has dealt him.

As he did in The Darkest Room Theorin has incorporated mythical elements of local folklore into the book intelligently. This time it is the legend of the trolls who, according to Vendela’s father, lived under the quarry and the elves who lived in the nearby alvar (sparsely vegetated area). In the middle of the alvar is a stone which, as a child, Vendela was taught to leave offerings on top of if she wanted her wishes to be granted. Her successes as a young girl fuelled her life-long fascination with elves and when she returns as an adult she is once again drawn to the stone and its magical powers. In a lesser writer’s hands I think Vendela would have been an unbelievable caricature but in Theorin’s she is a beautiful, sad person who has used fantasy to cope with the harsh deal life has thrown at her.

As has been the case with the previous two novels of this series I was once again enveloped by the atmosphere Theroin, ably aided by his translator Marlaine Delargy, has created here. It didn’t feel like I was just reading about the island’s slow awakening from it’s harsh winter to spring: I lived through the lengthening days, the appearance of the first butterflies, the people getting to know each other and themselves. I loved every moment of this book from its first word to its excellent closing line. I loved the intrigue, the gamut of real human emotions on display, the way that the past was connected to the present in surprising ways, the people who compelled me to find out more about them and the dual meaning of the book’s title. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
THE QUARRY is #3 in Theorin's seasonal quartet set on the island of Oland off the east coast of Sweden, connected to #1, ECHOES FROM THE DEAD, by the elderly character Gerloff Davidsson. In his mid 80s Gerloff decides that he must get away from the retirement home he is living in, and goes back to his summer cottage in Stenvik. Two new houses have been built there since he last
visited and the only other nearby resident is Per Morner who has inherited an old stone mason's cottage. [Look for the connection too to #2 THE DARKEST ROOM with the fleeting reference to Tilda Davidsson.]

Theorin weaves a fascinating story that binds the residents together. One of the new houses is owned by a writer whose wife lived nearby when she was a child. Little by little Theorin reveals that there are connections between these people that actually go back decades. And in the background is the constant quarrel between the elves and the trolls, and the coming of Walpurgis Night when the dark powers gather together.

THE QUARRY shows Theorin is a master story teller and the book is well deserving of all the accolades and listings that I have seen. ( )
  smik | Jun 15, 2012 |
A friend recommended Echoes from the Dead not long after it was translated into English and I fell in love with Theorin's writing. Each book in the Gerlof Davidsson series has gotten progressively better (which makes three series I've read recently where that's happened, the others being Cashore's Seven Kingdoms series and Westerfeld's Leviathan series). I think that The Quarry is the best of the three so far. I had trouble getting into it, but that wasn't the book's fault, but instead my own. I actually had to return it to the library, then get it again, but once I finally sunk into it, I couldn't stop reading. Theorin's characters are fantastic and the story he paints for us in The Quarry is as compelling as all of the twists and turns his characters must take. I liked the foray into the past, with one of the characters as a child. I liked Gerlof, as always. But also liked Per, the father at the center of the tail. But what I liked best about this book, and Theorin's writing, is the way he can subtly tie characters together with strings that gradually become apparent throughout the story. Some of them I picked up on, some of them were a surprise. I can't wait for the fourth and final book in this series, and I hope that Theorin will continue to write, because there's just something enjoyable about the way he writes his mysteries. ( )
  callmecayce | Apr 13, 2012 |
The Goodreads title listing is wrong, the correct English title is The Quarry (as on the book jacket shown here). ( )
  Maxine_ | Mar 4, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Det är inte stor litteratur, Theorin är trots allt inte tillräckligt estetiskt risktagande. Men det är smart och underhållande, särskilt i jämförelse med huvudfåran inom den samtida genrelitteraturen.
 
Blodläge” är en roman man tar sig igenom utan att direkt ångra sig efteråt. Men jag hade hoppats på en smula mer mystik och mindre schabloneri.
added by Jannes | editDagen Nyheter, Jonas Thente (Apr 29, 2010)
 
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Per Mörners vänsterhand var sönderbränd, hans revben var brutna och blöt och suddig, men känseln i hans kropp fanns fortfarande kvar.
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In a blazing woodland studio, Per Morner finds his estranged father, Jerry, close to death. He's been stabbed and two dead bodies have been discovered alongside him in the burnt-out building. The only suspect, Jerry's work partner, is confirmed dead, but why does Jerry insist his colleague is still alive?… (more)

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