Book review: Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist

By Jon Massey on December 9, 2010 10:14 AM |


John Ajvide Lindqvist
£17, Quercus

Lindqvist's effort is exceptionally chilling right up to the point he reveals the source of evil in his tale - then it becomes a little dull.

This Scandanavian spook-fest, by the man who wrote Let The Right One In, is truly a beautifully-crafted chiller - for the first two-thirds of the text.

Anders and Cecilia take six-year-old Maja on a trip across the ice from their island home to a remote lighthouse.

All is fun until their fractious offspring spots something outside, tears down the steps and runs out onto the ice where she simply disappears.

No hole in the frozen sea, no trace. Just the slightest hint of a warning from a local on the shore.

Flash forward and Anders, now an alcoholic, returns to the island having split from his wife to blend his seemingly hopeless search for their daughter with a suicidal bid to drown his sorrows.

Nevertheless, his very presence in the place seems to tempt the fates and the mysterious evil begins to unfold.

Up to this point, Lindqvist's writing is focused and the plot twists and turns expertly in his feverish grasp. However, he then makes an error.

He reveals the source of the darkness and abruptly all sense of peril and fear is lost as Anders' quest is reduced to a character going through the motions until the inevitable Final Reckoning sequence.

Suddenly it's a book you're not afraid to read after the sun's gone down but a curious supernatural fable.