Monthly Archives: January 2014

Book Review: The Asylum by Johan Theorin

I found this book listed online somewhere (I can’t remember where exactly) and thought ‘yeah … looks like a creepy crime novel, why not?’ and put a hold on it at my local library (since I hadn’t heard of this author before, I didn’t want to part with money to buy it). When my hold came through, I picked it up and saw the recommendation on the top ‘If you like Stieg Larsson, try a much better Swedish writer’. Well, that’s a tough call – I haven’t got around to reading Larsson yet but everyone who I talk to highly recommends his work.

So with great trepidation I started reading The Asylum … and OH MY GOD! I was hooked from the get-go. I always forget how incredibly amazing Swedish crime is.The story follows Jan Hauger as he successfully secures a job at The Dell, which is the pre-school near St Patricia’s Regional Psychiatric Hospital (a way to keep children close to their parents who are patients). St Patricia’s has fondly been nicknamed St Psycho’s by the locals for a reason – including that it houses a notorious serial killer.

However, what makes this book such a page-turner is the little plots and twists. You have a couple of chapters in the present, then a snippet from Jan’s creepy little past. Just when you have it figured out, Theorin throws in another side plot that’s oh so crucial to understanding the present. What started off as a ‘something to read to take a break from my PhD work’ turned into such a gripping read that I had read the whole book in 24 hours – it was THAT thrilling.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially the crime readers – it won’t disappoint and will keep you hanging on until the very end. Slightly disappointed in the ending, but only because I felt sorry for Jan in regard to his quest (I don’t want to give anything away).

I also love that for my *first* online book review – I am giving this a 5/5 (and looking forward to reading more from Theorin)