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'A magnificent and truly terrifying thriller' Image

About the Author

Kerstin Ekman is one of Sweden's most prominent novelists. She was born in 1933 in Risinge, a small village in the middle of Sweden. She has written many novels which have been widely published in other Scandinavian languages, German, Finnish, Dutch and French, and have won numerous prizes and awards. She became a member of the Swedish Academy of Arts and Letters in 1978, but resigned in 1989 when the Academy did not make a statement that she could approve of about the Rushdie case. Blackwater has been awarded the Swedish Crime Academy's Award for the best crime novel, the August Prize, and the Nordic Council's Literary Prize.


Blackwater is a densely plotted psychological thriller set in northern Sweden, near the Norwegian border. Centered around the unsolved murder of two sleeping campers, the novel focuses on the anguish of Annie Raft, a teacher who discovers the bodies, and Birgir Torbjornsson. Eighteen years later Annie again sees the mysterious young man she saw running through the woods that night. He is her daughter's lover. Annie's identification sets in motion a spiral of tragic events that lead to the shocking denouement. In her first novel to be published in the United States, Ekman, the winner of several literary awards in Sweden, creates an aura of fear and malaise as she depicts a suspicious, isolated community shocked by a crime but unwilling to give up one of its own. She infuses the novel with the eerie atmosphere of the North, where it's either always dark or light but never truly warm. Blackwater is rich in psychological nuance and character. Highly recommended.-Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.

Annie Raft and her six-year-old daughter arrive in the remote Swedish village of Blackwater one midsummer night to meet Annie's boyfriend, who never shows up. In the morning, they stumble across two campers who have been stabbed to death in their tent. At the center of the subsequent murder investigation are the town's physician, who could have mistaken the campers for his wife and her lover; the members, including Annie's boyfriend, of a back-to-the-earth commune; and the Brandbergs, a family of rough-and-tumble locals who don't cotton to outsiders. It turns out that the youngest Brandberg, Johan, terrified of his father and half-brothers, has recently run away from home and in fact was seen passing close to the murder site on the night the campers were killed. Eighteen years later, with the double murders still unsolved, a string of coincidences leads to Annie's death and the eventual unraveling of the mystery. This is splendid fiction, dark and compelling, filled with off-center characters and ominous events, told smoothly through multiple points of view. Its setting-the logging-ravaged Scandinavian woods-matches perfectly the sense of gloom that permeates the plot. Despite having written 16 previous novels, Ekman is making her English-language debut here, and the translation seems flawless. It's no surprise that this novel, first published in Sweden in 1993, has won the Swedish Crime Academy's Award for Best Crime Novel, the August Prize and the Nordic Council's Literary Prize. Major ad/promo; author tour; foreign rights sold in 14 countries. (Feb.)

"[A] rich adventure, the kind of long, lush, thoughtful page-turner many of us crave but rarely get our hands on" -- Beverly Lowry * New York Times *
"The best novel I've read this year" -- Rose Tremain * Independent *
"A powerful, atavistic book...full of threat and mystery. Wonderful strong stuff" * Lisa Cody *

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