The Swimmer
by Joakim Zander

Overview -

A deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew in this electrifying debut thriller--an international sensation billed as - Homeland meets Stieg Larsson- that heralds the arrival of a new master sure to follow in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson, John Le Carre, and Graham Greene.  Read more...

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More About The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

A deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew in this electrifying debut thriller--an international sensation billed as -Homeland meets Stieg Larsson- that heralds the arrival of a new master sure to follow in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson, John Le Carre, and Graham Greene.

In the end, you cannot hide who you are.

Klara Walldeen was raised by her grandparents on a remote archipelago in the Baltic Sea, learning to fish and hunt and sail a boat through a storm. Now, as an EU Parliament aide in Brussels, she is learning how to navigate the treacherous currents of international politics: the lines between friend and enemy, truth and lies.

But Klara has accidentally seen something she shouldn't have: a laptop containing information so sensitive that someone will kill to keep hidden. Suddenly, she is thrown into a terrifying chase across Europe, with no idea who is hunting her or why.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, an old spy hides from his past. Once, he was a man of action, an operative so dedicated that he abandoned his infant daughter to keep his cover. Now, he is the only man who can save Klara . . . and she is the only woman who can allow him to lay old ghosts to rest.

This item is Non-Returnable.

  • ISBN-13: 9780062337245
  • ISBN-10: 0062337246
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 9.09 x 7.02 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.41 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Espionage
Books > Fiction > Action & Adventure

BookPage Reviews

Whodunit: Not your little girl anymore

Joakim Zander’s terrific debut, The Swimmer, breaks the mold for Swedish suspense novels, which are so often police procedurals. This trans-global tale hews more closely to John le Carré or Olen Steinhauer than to Henning Mankell or Jo Nesbø. With settings as diverse as Syria, Afghanistan and Langley, Virginia (to name but a few), The Swimmer traces the occasionally intersecting arcs of a spy forced to abandon his infant daughter in the aftermath of an assassination attempt, and a young woman in possession of a lethal secret she has no desire to know. It’s not giving too much away to say that the infant daughter and the young woman are the same person, separated by 33 years. Told largely in the third person, The Swimmer has first-person chapters strewn throughout, authored by the titular “Swimmer,” who also happens to be the aforementioned spy. As spies go, he’s a particularly literate one, and his descriptions are atmospheric and exotic. As is the case with most modern spy novels, there is a focus on terrorism and the ruthlessness of operatives on both sides. This is a first-class debut.

James Grippando’s latest thriller, Cane and Abe, finds narrator Abe Beckham caught up in what the Brits would call “a spot of bother.” First off, his one-time squeeze turns up murdered, her body dumped in Florida’s alligator-infested Everglades. Beckham immediately becomes a person of interest. He’s elevated to full-on suspect when his wife disappears under suspicious circumstances: First there was the shouting match; then the broken glass from a beer bottle found in the Beckham home that bears traces of his wife’s blood type; then her smashed cell phone, found on a deserted section of Tamiami Trail. And if all that isn’t enough, add to the mix Beckham’s failed lie detector test. Overzealous cops, shady lawyers and a shadowy figure from Florida’s Big Sugar industry round out the cast, and the tangled web they weave seems strategically poised to ensnare Beckham. The surprises never quit coming.

Heathrow, the business-class lounge. A chance encounter between a wealthy businessman and an attractive woman. A pair of matching martinis. Some small talk: “Married?” he asks. “I’m not,” she replies. “You?” “Yes, unfortunately.” Out of that short interchange, and with the unguarded intimacy of fellow travelers who know that their time together is brief, the pair concoct a what‑if scenario around the notion of the hastened demise of the businessman’s wife. (We’ve all done this, right?) So begins Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, an intricate tale of murder planned and plans gone hopelessly awry. The narration is always in the first person, but the narrator changes again and again: businessman Ted; his comely martini companion, Lily; Ted’s avaricious wife, Miranda; and, last but not least, a dogged cop named Kimball. All four have dirty secrets, and each is willing to betray at least one of the others to further his or her agenda. There are Hitchcockian overtones, as well as the sort of last-page narrative tweak that would undoubtedly bring a Mona Lisa smile to Sir Alfred’s usually taciturn countenance.

Scandinavia spawns first-rate mystery novelists the way Japan churns out championship figure skaters. I’ve been a huge fan (of both) for quite some time, but my first exposure to best-selling Danish author Sara Blaedel comes with her latest work, The Forgotten Girls. The title refers to developmentally challenged children whose parents found them to be too much trouble and dropped them off at a government facility, essentially writing them out of their family’s narrative. Two of these forgotten girls were identical twins named Lise and Mette. According to their doctor’s records, they died in childhood, only one minute apart. Problem is, 30 years later, one of their bodies turns up, fully grown, on the rocky shore of a forest lake. If one twin was still alive, is the other one as well? If so, where is she now? And how, if at all, does this death connect with the series of brutal murders that have taken place sporadically in the forest over the years? This is the puzzle that police investigator Louise Rick and journalist Camilla Lind must piece together, hopefully before the killer strikes again. Tautly suspenseful and sociologically fascinating, The Forgotten Girls demonstrates yet again that the finest contemporary suspense fiction emanates from Europe’s snowbound North.


This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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