A riveting Swedish thriller that will take you to the serene and green island of Sandhamn!

  • Book: Still Waters
  • Location: Sandhamn
  • Author: Viveca Sten

Review Author: aditi3991



“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.”

—-Shannon L. Alder

Viveca Sten, an international best-selling Swedish author, has penned a fast-paced gripping thriller featuring Thomas Andreasson, in her book, Still Waters which is the first book in the Sandhamn Murders series. The story, set in Sandhamn, a small island in the central-peripheral part of the Stockholm Archipelago in central-eastern Sweden, begins with the discovery of a dead body of an outsider washed up ashore, tangled up inside a fishing net, followed by another murder of an outsider. Police detective Thomas Andreasson is trying hard to find the connection between the outsiders and the island, and what drew them to this quaint island town, and he has to figure it out ASAP before the killer strikes again.

On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

Thomas Andreasson finds himself in a twisted situation, when he could not figure out the connection between the murder of brother-sister duo, who are outsiders on the island of Sandhamn, and the island. Thomas has to come to a conclusion as soon as possible before the killer claims his another victim. With no clear motive or agenda behind these murders, Thomas turns to his childhood friend-cum-lawyer, Nora, who is struggling with her own marital issues, to help him solve the case. Little did Nora knew that her struggle to adjust her family life and work life is nothing compared to the investigation, which throws her into the face of death.

I won’t say that the book is a page turner, but it certainly kept me engaged till the very last page. The book is originally published in Swedish, later translated into English by Marlaine Delargy, an award-winning translator. The writing style of the author is really strong, packed with twists and turns that have enough capability to throws the readers off their edges and at times will elude them from the real motive. The narrative is engaging and free-flowing and the mystery builds up with lots of action and at times with lots of different motives.

The pacing of the book is really fast a the story jumps from one location to another. The setting of the book is a sight for the sore eyes of the readers. The author have projected the picturesque backdrop of Sandhamn islands with vividness, she not only captured the landscape, but also it’s people, customs and culture. And her arresting details of this quaint island transported me straight into that location.

The characters, both the main and the supporting ones, are depicted with realism and are quite well-developed. The main characters, Thomas and Nora, both are fighting with their personal issues and loss, thus making them look sympathetic in the eyes of the readers. Thomas is recovering from his divorce and the death of his newborn daughter, whereas Nora, managed to acquire her dream job in a different city, which requires the whole family to shift their base, not only that, her husband does not respect her choices, yet she is sacrificing every other day against her happiness. Thomas, along with Nora’s help, tries to solve the case and both of them are equally strong and brave.

The POV shifts from Thomas to Nora, thus letting the readers see through the main characters and to comprehend with their choices and demeanor. In, short, the characters are interesting and the mystery is a bit predictable yet unraveling. Occasional mystery readers will fall for this book, and the seasonal ones will find it brain-twisting but easy to anticipate the murder plot.

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