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The Swimmer

The Swimmer [Kindle Edition]

Joakim Zander
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Product Description


'Guilt and atonement and revenge ... THE SWIMMER is an impressive, fast-paced thriller' Borås Tidning.

'Elegantly constructed ... the language creeps up on you ... a remarkable debut novel' Göteborgs-Posten.

'Well-written and incredibly thrilling ... avoids the predictability of the genre' Skånska Dagbladet.

'A terrific page-turner, rich with complex conflicts and a big, chillingly credible conspiracy' Chris Pavone, bestselling author of The Expats.

'At the end you look up and see the world differently' Lesley Thomson.

'A thrilling debut ... a novel with rare ambition with a crackling denouement and strong characters, it richly deserves its reputation' Daily Mail.

'Timely, relevant and exciting' Literary Review.

'Builds to exceptional tension' Independent.

'An absorbing chase thriller ... an excellent debut' The Times.

Product Description


On a remote Swedish island, a little girl, Klara, grows up without a father. Now, twenty years later, she discovers a secret: a secret that powerful men will kill to keep hidden.

On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. He used to be the best agent in the field. These days the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool.

Then, on Christmas eve, Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase across Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 868 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (3 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,071 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joakim Zander was born in 1975 in Stockholm, Sweden. He was raised in the small town of Söderköping but, growing up, he also lived in Syria and Israel and was a high-school exchange student in the USA. After completing his military service in the Swedish Navy, he studied law at Uppsala University and later earned a PhD in Law from Maastricht University. Cambridge University Press published his dissertation, The Application of the Precautionary Principle in Practice, which was awarded the Rabobank Prize. Zander has worked for the European Parliament and the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. He currently lives in Lund, Sweden, with his wife and two children. The Swimmer is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking thriller 30 Aug. 2014
By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Swimmer is a gripping, impressive and fast paced debut from Joakim Zander. The complex plot grabs from the literally explosive opening scenes in a sweeping narrative which moves skilfully between a number of characters and plot lines, ultimately drawing all together in a truly dramatic denouement.

It's difficult to give a plot resume without divulging too much detail, but this story really does have it all. A CIA agent on a desperate mission to save someone he doesn't know, black ops involving a rogue organisation, global politics including a strong female, Zara, who works in Brussels and is unwittingly involved in a race to
find out the nature of encrypted material on a laptop.

I was impressed by the strong sense of place. Brussels felt real, as did the remote Scandinavian island locations. Each character is richly detailed and with strong dialogue this is a bang up to the minute thriller. I whipped through this in almost one sitting. It's not a book you can put down easily and with a plot which at times felt horribly real, it's an amazing vehicle to explore themes of guilt, revenge and atonement. A truly cracking read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour de Force - A Must Read Novel 12 Sept. 2014
By C. E. Utley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book really is an exceptional achievement. It is hard to believe it is a first novel. Zander's prose, perfectly translated (into American rather than English) by Elizabeth Clark Wessel, is a joy to read. The characters are expertly drawn. The plot, though complicated at times (because what appear to be two stories are being told and they only come together towards the end) is genuinely gripping. Zander's ability, in particular, to describe fast moving action scenes is astounding. But there is much more to the novel than mere action.

Although the story starts with a bang (literally), it does not continue, for a while, in that vein. Instead, we are gently introduced to Mahmoud Shammosh (a Ph.D student in Sweden) and his former girl friend, Klara Walldeen, a Swedish girl of great beauty now working in Brussels for an MEP. True, the second chapter recounts some strange email messages, which turn out to be of vital importance to the plot, which Mahmoud has been getting, but nothing spectacular happens immediately.

The descriptions of life in the EU quarter of Brussels are all too credible. The parasitic nature of EU bureaucracy and its hangers on is gloriously portrayed. George Loow, the young lobbyist, is a character anyone who has ever had anything to do with modern politics will instantly recognise. He swaggers around Brussels, performing slightly shady tasks for his firm's clients, revelling in the trappings of "success". There are hot young women galore. There are expensive cars, grand restaurants, seedy nightclubs and a certain amount of recreational drugs. George, whose father is understandably disappointed in him, is in his element. But he is weak, not evil.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By NJL1974
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A thriller about 'enhanced interrogation' in the War Against Terror... I think. The novel centres around one of those plucky heroines that only exist in thrillers - an attractive professional woman who turns out to have nerves of steel when pushed into extreme peril. It also has one of those annoying plot developments where it establishes the villains as a hyper-organised, ultra-professional, omniscient outfit, only for their operatives to be out-witted and thwarted by the plucky amateurs at every turn.

So far, so generic, but what really sets this novel apart from the herd, either for better or worse, is a ludicrously complex narrative style which makes it impossible to know what is going on. Interspersed with the present day action are the memories of a jaded CIA agent, who may have lost his family in a bombing raid in Damascus in 1980. I struggled on in a cloud of confusion and apathy, waiting for the paths of the two stories to cross, and then being spectacularly under-whelmed when they did.

The following quote sums up the book for me: "I think we never do what we say. We never keep our promises. We always end up sacrificing the ones we set out to rescue." Superficially wise, rather poetically written, full of on-message "War is rubbish and torture is bad" cynicism, but ever-so-slightly pretentious and not nearly as clever as it thinks it is...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your standard Scandi crime thriller......... 2 Sept. 2014
By SteveN
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase it takes place in multiple locations - Middle East, Belgium, France & Sweden, with the different threads wound together in a climax in the Swedish archipelago.
The story is told from a number of different perspectives, often changing on a chapter-by-chapter basis, so, if you don't enjoy this writing style, be warned!
The author has a well-rounded, fluid writing style and maintains the tension well. I think you have to suspend your disbelief in so many "page-turners" these days with authors desperate to find an original plot, but this is a believable contemporary storyline, well-told and the characters are developed intelligently.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it very quickly, always looking forward to picking it up again once put down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as gripping as I would like, evident by the fact that I'm still...
Not as gripping as I would like, evident by the fact that I'm still only halfway through after 6 weeks
Published 2 days ago by Laura Carson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 5 days ago by Grego
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully atmospheric and gripping.
Hauntingly good. I really cared about the characters and found myself staying awake late at night needing to know what happened next.
Published 6 days ago by Louisa
4.0 out of 5 stars ... while to get going but all in all a good
Took a little while to get going but all in all a good read
Published 9 days ago by Julie Barry
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 9 days ago by mrs gail petty
5.0 out of 5 stars Next book please
Up to date, relevant to today's problems. Well written and cleverly put together .can't wait till his next one. As good as terry Hayes!
Published 9 days ago by Kenneth W. Way
4.0 out of 5 stars Good v Might Be Good v Differing shades of Bad
A tense, enjoyable romp round the most urban and the most deserted parts of Europe. Good v Might Be Good v Differing shades of Bad. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Russell A. Brown
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Odd book, wouldn't buy more by author
Published 9 days ago by stephanie farmer
4.0 out of 5 stars demanding and well written political thriller - very satisfying
adept writing for a political thriller that reaches back into heart-rending pasts; my only grumble is the bashing around between dates - it got dificult esp on a kindle where i was... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Leslie Gardner
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An ok read
Published 17 days ago by Mr. S. P. Solari
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