I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Blurb On The Back:

You thought you had put your worst mistake behind you.

It’s still there. 

Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god.

Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here – each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear.

And for just one of them, their homecoming. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Four families go on holiday to a Swedish caravan site.

Peter is a former football player (capped for Sweden) turned fitness instructor who’s unhappily married to bitchy model, Isabelle and father to young Molly.

Stefan Larsson runs a general store and worships his wife Carina (who is nursing a dark past) and together they have a young son, Emil, who enjoys playing with his toys.

America-obsessed Donald runs a saw mill and has been married to Majvor for many years and doesn’t treat his dog, Benny, particularly well.

Lennart and Olaf are elderly dairy farmers whose close friendship got closer after their respective wives decided to leave them.

But when they wake up the next morning, the caravan site is gone.  Instead they’re in the middle of a strange field with blue skies and green grass in every direction but there’s no sun and something strange is coming over the horizon …

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s horror novel (the first in a trilogy and translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy) is a disquieting, creepy affair that’s built around slightly generic but still well drawn characters and even though there’s no real explanation for what’s happening and the resolution is vague, I was gripped enough to want to read the sequel when it’s released.

Although the characters are quite broadly drawn (Isabelle is beautiful, cruel and empty, Donald bullying and blustering), I enjoyed the way Lindqvist has them develop over the book – particularly Peter, Lennart and Olaf – by showing their backstory and how it impacts on their experiences in this nowhere place.  Lindqvist is also great at writing children and I enjoyed the interaction between the sweet-natured Emil and the increasingly sinister Molly and the sections shown from Benny’s point of view add some much needed levity (notably his interactions with the cat).

The horror elements are deftly handled and work in part because there is no explanation for what is going on or what the elements are, which increases the sense of unease and worry that something really bad is coming.  However that lack of explanation is also a weakness in the book because while there is an ending to the book, I closed the cover not really understanding all that had just happened.  Given Lindqvist’s skill as a writer, I’m hoping that more answers will come in book 2 (which I definitely want to read) and I’m hoping to see some of the characters again when that book comes out.

I AM BEHIND YOU was released in the United Kingdom on 7th September 2017.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the ARC of this book.

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