If you could somehow peel back the headlines of a horrific crime and see what lurks beneath, weave through the courtroom drama to reach the accused as she sits in the dock . . . Who would you find? A callous monster? A prisoner of circumstance? Or a story so complex it would take a whole book to unravel the knotted threads?
Quicksand is that book.
Swedish author Malin Persson Giolito’s breathtaking thriller takes readers – in forensic detail – through the looking glass into the life of 18-year-old Maja. The legal principle innocent until proven guilty doesn’t begin to cover the intricacies of a case that starts with a classroom bloodbath.
Maria Norberg – Maja to her friends and family – takes in the horrifying scene around her. Her schoolmates and teacher are slumped and bloodied. And on her lap lies the boy at the heart of it all, Sebastian. All of them have been shot. Expect Maja.
To the police, it’s all a clear-cut case. Maja and her erstwhile lover Sebastian are behind it all. They have seemingly damning evidence to prove it. And there’s no doubt that Maja shot Sebastian and maybe her best friend, too. But the question is, why? Did she help plan the vicious attack? Or was she another victim? And what about beautiful, troubled Sebastian? The son of Sweden’s richest man. Who is he, and how did Maja get tangled up in something that would blow her world apart?
This is a tightly woven narrative, all told through Maja’s terse, matter-of-fact point of view. Her clear-eyed descriptions move back and forth in time. Through her drug-tinged affair with Sebastian, the dark role played by his exacting father, her complex relationships with the soon-to-be-victims and the every day difficulties of navigating life as a teen. All pulling inexorably back to the beginning – or, rather, the ending: that fateful day in The Classroom.
Quicksand is a taut, highly geared thriller that will play on your preconceptions, then unpick them one after the other. Holding back until the bitter end, before leaving you to question everything you thought you knew – from the nature of guilt to the very concept of justice itself. A powerful read.
Quicksand has been sold to 26 countries and was awarded the Best Crime Novel of the Year Award 2016, Sweden’s official suspense literature award, awarded by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy.
About the author
Malin Persson Giolito was born in Stockholm in 1969, and grew up in Djursholm. She has worked as a lawyer for the biggest law firm in the Nordic region and as an official for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. She has published three previous novels. She lives in Brussels with her husband and their three daughters.