I have been disappointed in the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I attribute the Golden Globe award more to the cleverness of Alan Ball than the skill of Charlaine Harris or Anna Paquin. On the other hand, I have heard good things about this debut novel by the Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist. So I have picked up Let the Right One In (the original Swedish title is Låt den rätte komma in). Like many horror novels, this book focuses on the darker side of humanity. Let The Right One In uses the genre to contend with drugs, theft, pedophilia and prostitution. With the exception of the Harris novels, I haven’t read much contemporary horror in a while. I’m hopeful that this novel will be more satisfying.
Booklist provides this short summary:
Swedish TV and stage writer Lindqvist’s first novel is set in a commonplace suburb of Stockholm, where 12-year-old Oskar lives with his mother, is bullied at school, shoplifts, and keeps a scrapbook of notes and clippings about gruesome murders. Eli, apparently about his age, moves in next door but doesn’t go to school, leaving the flat only at night. Shortly after, the killings start. At first more fascinated than sorry, since one victim had bullied him, Oskar eventually discovers that Eli is a vampire, stuck permanently in childhood. What should Oskar do, especially when Eli is his friend as much as anyone is? Lindqvist develops the plot in rich detail. The characters, adult and child, are quite convincingly the sort that one would probably cross the street to avoid in any city. Lindqvist also realistically depicts the aftermath of brutal homicide on the nearby: shock and horror, some sleepless nights and bad dreams, despite which you must go to work and get the groceries.