The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser

Buy The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser at or

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An exquisite book which could be ruined if you read the blurb on the back. It's a right of passage and a whodunit rolled into one excellent story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: June 2015
Publisher: World Editions
ISBN: 978-9462380257

Share on: Delicious Digg Facebook Reddit Stumbleupon Follow us on Twitter

Erik knew that the summer of 1962 was going to be a bad one. His mother was seriously ill and there was no hiding that she was likely to die. So, Erik and his friend Edmund planned to spend their holiday, accompanied by Erik's elder brother Henry, at the lake-side cottage. Both boys dreamed of their supply teacher, as fourteen-year-old boys are wont to do, particularly when she's the spitting image of the actress Kim Novak. But it wasn't just Erik's mother's health which was going to ruin the summer: The Terrible Thing was going to happen too.

There should be a special place in hell reserved for blurb writers who reveal too much of the plot of a book. I'd volunteer to stoke the fire. If you don't read the back of this book you will find an exquisite book, part right of passage story and part whodunit but with a reveal some 60% of the way through the book which tells you what The Terrible Thing was and completely changes the nature of the book. You'll enjoy Hakan Nesser's beautiful writing and the way that he captures the characters of the two boys, the clichés they resort to to deal with problems and their attitudes to what is, and isn't gentlemanly. You'll smile: you might even laugh. Once you know about The Terrible Thing you'll be able to taste the suspense in your mouth and as you get closer to the end you'll not be able to turn the pages quickly enough: Nesser is a master at playing with your emotions.

If you've read the blurb on the back of the book you'll know about The Terrible Thing. You'll wonder why on earth Nesser doesn't get on with the plot, because you won't know that The Terrible Thing is not going to happen until you're 60% of the way through and - brilliant as the writing is - you'll feel that the plot drags just a little and then picks up dramatically in the remaining 40%. Instead of enjoying the boys you'll be watching for clues and mentally lining up your suspects. You might even be reasonably certain about who did what.

Should you have been lucky enough not to read the blurb then this is a five star book, a delight. If, on the other hand, you did read the back of the book it's four stars - and I'm sure that you'll now understand why I'd like you to pass me the coal shovel.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag. Hakan Nesser is always worth reading.

For more from Hakan Nesser we recommend that you start with Woman With Birthmark. It was written in 1996 but it's timeless. For more Swedish crime with a psychological twist have a look at Missing by Karin Alvtegen.

Buy The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser at

Buy The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser at


Like to comment on this review?

Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.