Quote: ‘That first summer he had knocked on the door of every lone man and village eccentric he knew and asked to have a look in their cellar and loft. he had been met with both profanities and invitations for coffee, but what remained with him was the loneliness, the fact that there was such loneliness everywhere. It corroded the region at the edges, spreading like a sickness among those who remained when all the others had moved away. And now he was one of them. One of the lonely people.’
Crime fiction is a notoriously hard genre to make a mark in. It takes something special to stand apart from the crowded masses. Stina Jackson’s The Silver Road is one of those standout books.
Translated from the author’s native Swedish, this book came highly recommended in The Irish Times. The front cover made bold promises of being ‘haunting, intoxicating’ and a book ‘to take up your whole weekend.’ That is exactly what happened to me. I picked up The Silver Road last Friday and read it in huge swathes.
Three years after his daughter’s disappearance, Lelle still spends his entire summer driving up and down the silver road desperately searching for her. Summer is a time of round the clock daylight and a chance to check every byway and lane along the route. When winter comes, he must once again go through the motions of his day job and endure total darkness and despair.
The novel is split between two characters. We also meet the teenage Meja who moves to the area with her troubled mother. Both Lelle and Meja share a sense of loneliness throughout the book until their lives cross paths and the truth about Lelle’s daughter’s disappearance slowly emerges.
I found this to be a claustrophobic read. The sense of neverending day and night, long drives on remote roadways and an endless amount of cigarettes all served to create an incredible tension that was not broken until the climax.
I was haunted. I was intoxicated.
Believe the hype. This is a book that you will want to consume and be consumed by.
- The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award awarded The Silver Road Best Swedish Crime Novel in 2018
- Like I said above, Crime Fiction with a different perspective raises the bar and expectations of the reader. ‘An Isolated Incident’ by Emily Maguire was another book that renewed my faith in the genre.