Mx3 Review: Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist

October 15, 2011 Horror, Murders, Monsters, & Mayhem, Review, St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunne Books 6

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; Reprint edition (October 11, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0312680279
  • Source: Publisher

One snowy morning on a small island in Sweden, Anders and Cecilia take their six-year-old daughter, Maya, across the ice to visit a lighthouse in the middle of a frozen channel.  Anders & Cecilia explore the lighthouse, allowing Maya to explore on her own. She disappears, not leaving a footprint or any indication of her fate.

Two years later, Anders returns to the island.  Now in a perpetual state of intoxication, Anders turns to the inhabitants of the island for answers to his daughters disappearance. He can’t accept that Maya is dead; he is certain she’s alive somewhere. Everyone, including his own mother, appear reluctant to say a word, the sea seemingly holding a power over them all. It’s not long after his return that strange things begin to happen: items moved, including some of Maya’s possessions, the overwhelming feeling of being watched. Never could Anders have imagined depth to the mystery and secrets behind the islands past. He commits to doing whatever it takes, risking everything, to find out what actually happened that morning two years ago. Anders will stop at nothing, risking his own life, to discover what happened to his daughter.

Known for reinventing horror genres, Lindqvist doesn’t fail to do the same in Harbor.  The suspense built up at a slowly, steadily, keeping the reader on their toes.  Characterization is another aspect at which Lindqvist excels; Harbor is story that takes place over five generations, allowing the history, the familiarity, of each of the families involved to build.

Harbor is quite a lengthy novel, but yet there is so much that I want to know more about.  That’s not to say that the author left things unanswered; he was extremely successful at tying all the levels of the storyline together.  I simply didn’t want this one to end; I was drawn to the characters and the richly drawn atmosphere .

The beauty behind this book is the author’s writing; this is a book that cannot be skimmed or skipped over. Tiny details mentioned early on will come back again in later chapters. Missing those details might take away the impact of the story.  I don’t often like to compare authors to others, but fans of Dan Simmons and the classic writings of Stephen King will definitely appreciate the style of this novel.

There are not many horror books that I would recommend to those that aren’t fans of the genre, but Harbor is a book that would be appreciated by fans of a multitude of genres. The writing is rich, the characters multi-dimensional, the storyline compelling.  Highly recommended.



6 Responses to “Mx3 Review: Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist”

  1. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter)

    Oooh, I didn’t even know he had another book (clearly, I live under a rock) … I devoured Let The Right One In when it came out. Sounds like this one is a great read, too. He definitely is reinventing the horror genre – he’s a great writer! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

  2. Beth(bookaholicmom)

    I am not a reader of horror books but this premise has me really wanting to check this book out. Your review has me sucked in even more. I think I’ll see if I can get a copy for the library. I want to know what happened to that little girl.