“Let the Old Dreams Die” by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013)

Let the Old Dreams Die

If you’ve read any books from the bestselling Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, such as Handling the Undead, Little Star, Harbor, or his big international hit Let the Right One In, you know he’s got a knack for telling some cold, dark, scary stories. In Let the Old Dreams Die he presents international readers with his first short story collection, showing his breadth not just as a horror writer, but also as a skilled storyteller.

“The Border” is a story about illegal smuggling across an important line of demarcation, but this particular border agent has a talent for spotting and knowing when someone is smuggling, except in this case it turns out to have more to do with her than she knows. “Eternal/Love” is about what happens when your loved one is brought back from the dead, still human, but irrevocably changed. The book also features some important sequel stories, in “Final Processing” to his book Handling the Undead, and “Let the Old Dreams Die” to Let the Right One In.

The collection is a lot of scary fun, working as a good introduction for readers wanting to try Lindqvist for the first time. But it also satisfies cravings for fans: showing his full spectrum as a writer, and providing some much needed new material in various settings, revealing his skill at telling a story that will leave you unable to sleep the night you finish it.

Originally written on April 16, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Let the Old Dreams Die from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Let the Right One In  Handling the Undead  Harbor  Little Star

“Little Star” by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Thomas Dunne Books, 2012)

Little Star

From the international bestselling author of the chilling and horrific Let the Right One, Handling the Undead and Harbor comes a new novel that appears innocent and charming at first, but eventually leads the reader down a long dark path, covered in blood and filled with bodies.  Little Star will lull you into enjoyment and then terrify you all the way to the end.

Lennart finds an abandoned baby in the woods, left for dead.  He brings it home, feeds and looks after it, much to the reluctance of his wife, Laila.  A musical duo who have essentially disappeared into obscurity, Lennart finds a new lease of life with this baby who grows to become a beautiful young girl with a unique singing voice.  Jerry, the son, eventually looks after the girl, moving to Stockholm, after his parents suffer a gruesome end, and the child enters a national singing contest and becomes a celebrity, renowned throughout Sweden.  But she also has plans of her own, viewed through her fractured, distorted lens of a psyche, with an idea of what is good and right not shared by many others.

Lindqvist’s novel is an addictive read, much like his others, with a seemingly simple story that turns into something dark and sinister, combined with the harsh geology of Sweden, and his own unusual characters.  Little Star will keep you up late, and by then you’ll be too scared to go to bed.

Originally written on November 10, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Little Star from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Harbor” by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)


From the international bestselling author of Let the Right One in and Handling the Undead comes another unique and moving tale.  Readers will wonder what Sweden is truly like during the winter, as Lindqvist sets this story on a remote island in the Swedish archipelago.  John Ajvide Lindqvist has created a thrilling, psychological horror novel in Harbor.

It seems at first that Harbor is an ordinary tale of loss, as the book opens with Anders and Cecilia living in a cute little cottage on the small island of Domarö with their adorable six-year-old daughter, Maja.  One winter afternoon, before dinner, they go on a walk across the snow onto the frozen channel.  There they discover an old lighthouse and go in to explore; they travel to the very top, looking out across the ice.  Maja says she is bored and goes back down, venturing out onto the frozen channel . . . then she disappears.  Anders and Cecilia looked away for just a second and Maja vanished.  They begin searching the ice and the area around, looking for her, calling for her, become more panicked by the minute.  A search is done over a number of days, but the little girl is never found.

The loss of Maja destroys the family and Anders and Cecilia separate.  Anders has problems getting back to any sort of normal life and spends more and more time in the cottage on the island, getting to know the people better and slowly lose his mind.  He begins to hear weird sounds and feels that the spirit of Maja is close by, but at the same time knows this cannot be true.  While it seems like Anders is just losing his mind over the loss of his daughter, and then the end of his marriage, it turns into something else as he learns more about the island of Domarö and the payment it has exacted from its inhabitants for many decades . . .

Harbor proves Lindqvist deserves to be added to the great horror writers of today, with his unique stories; normal, realistic characters; and his unforgettable depictions of the dark and terrifying places throughout Sweden that would be considered normal and quite beautiful, until he inserts one of his terrifying tales.

Originally written on November 20, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Harbor from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

10/13 On the Bookshelf . . . “Red Phoenix,” “Harbor,” & “The Phantom Limb”

Red Phoenix  Harbor  Phantom Limb

Looking forward to all these: we have the second book in the Dark Heavens trilogy, the new one from John Ajvide Lindqvist, Harbor, and William Sleator’s last — completed shortly before his death — The Phantom Limb.