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The Swimmer by [Zander, Joakim]
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The Swimmer Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 257 customer reviews

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Review

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

'A particularly powerful crime novel, with the narrative grasp that puts most other current practitioners to shame; what's more, Zander has a truly individual writing style which channels prose quite unlike that of any of his colleagues' The Good Book Guide.

'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.

From the Back Cover

On a remote Swedish island, a little girl, Klara, grows up without a father. Now, thirty years later, she discovers a secret one for which powerful men will kill to keep undisclosed.

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.

When Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase across Europe, only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out. . . .

Utterly mesmerizing and harrowing, The Swimmer is a riveting read right up to its stunning conclusion.

A deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew in this electrifying, hypnotic debut thriller (Entertainment Weekly)."


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 954 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062337262
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (3 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KFDQVIM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 257 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,918 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aspen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Aug. 2014
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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.....as 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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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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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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