Book review: Killer’s Island by Anna Jansson

by Peter

Killer's Island by Tove JanssonKiller’s Island (original title «Drömmen förde dej vilse») is the first book in Swedish crime fiction author Anna Jansson’s series featuring the female detective Maria Wern that has been translated into English. This is somewhat odd for a couple of reasons. The first is that Killer’s Island is the 11th book in this series, which makes it an unusual starting point. The second is that this series is already familiar to a relatively large number of lovers of crime fiction: The TV series featuring Maria Wern is well-known and is even distributed on DVD both in UK and US! So Anna Jansson is no ordinary debutant.

Anna Jansson

Anna Jansson (born 1958) is a Swedish author of crime fiction novels and childrens books. She lives in Visby at Gotland.

Crime fiction

  • 2000 – Stum sitter guden
  • 2001 – Alla de stillsamma döda
  • 2002 – Må döden sova
  • 2003 – Silverkronan
  • 2003 – Dömd för mord
  • 2004 – Drömmar ur snö
  • 2005 – Svart fjäril
  • 2006 – Främmande fågel
  • 2007 – I stormen ska du dö
  • 2007 – Pojke försvunnen
  • 2008 – Inte ens det förflutna
  • 2008 – Hantverkarsvett är dyrare än saffran
  • 2009 – Först när givaren är död
  • 2010 – Drömmen förde dej vilse
  • 2011 – Alkemins eviga eld

Anna Jansson

Perhaps Killer’s Island has been chosen as the first translation in the Maria Wern series because of its content? I don’t know the quality of the other books in the series, so I can’t really say – but I do know that Killer’s Island is a very solid, well-written thriller about a psychotic murderer on the island of Gotland. Anna Jansson weaves together old myths, modern technology and current reality into a frightening and at times almost appalling plot.

A boy is set upon by thugs and dies. A police officer trying to help the boy is brutally attacked herself. A nurse is beheaded. And more. Also, bodies are strangely, mystically arranged.
A nightmare is unfolding on the otherwise mostly idyllic island of Gotland.

The police force, including detective Maria Wern, has a very hard time understanding the motives underlying the violence and the choice of victims. Even worse is that the killer seems almost omnipotent: he sees everybody, he knows everything, he even has access to the inner secrets of the police investigation.

Killer’s Island is well-written and excellently composed. We learn a lot about the main characters, we are acquainted with each of the victims: the book has vividly drawn, quite interesting characters. The descriptions are great as well. Also, Jansson is very good at understanding and describing the psychological consequences of the horrific violence inflicted by the killer.

Killer’s Island is a suspenseful, very compelling and entertaining crime fiction novel by an author I hope we will see more from in English.

Related Posts:

Previous post:

Next post: