“Bone Remains” by Johann Theoren – Reviews and Recommendations

Forfatter Johan Theorin og omslaget på boka «Beinrester»

Öland is quiet and slow when it is not the tourist season. The narrow island lies like a long strip of land, parallel to the coast of Småland. Traffic across the bridge from Kalmar to Färjestaden is scattered.

Such is Hollande on this day in 2001, when a nearly aged American old man is led into an abandoned quarry by the sea.

He brought the dog, a wreath, and a pile of old letters. He’s throwing a beach party for peace of mind. Then he breaks the silence about what happened a long time ago, the terrible day of 1929.

It never got this far. In the quarry, someone caused a landslide of rocks. He also throws stones, to make sure that he hits. The old man dies there, before he has time to break the silence.

rumble from the beach

In the cabin, a short distance from the sea, Gerlove Davidson sits sorting old papers. He hears a rumble but does not climb. There was no longer any activity in the quarry as the ölendinger struggled and practiced stone building to obtain food for an almost indefinite period.

He stopped and asked the taxi driver who would take him to Marnachemite, but he did nothing more to drink coffee with his remaining relative, Tilda Davidson. She is a police officer. Did you hear the rumble too?

This is how we start with “bone remains”.

Gerloff, our man

I had hope, when I was asked to read Johann Theoren’s last book, that there would be another story about Gerlov. Somehow he and I have been on first names since the first book, “Twilight Hour,” in 2008.

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Jerloff is a skipper and sailor, a local and omniscient historical quarter. He is a good man, forever inquisitive, reckless and ruthless facing injustice, old as new, murder or disappearance. A man who thinks and talks about love and life with respect.

Simply put: I’ve always loved Gerloff Davidson.

Fear and beauty

At the same time, I highly appreciate Johann Theoren’s sympathetic outreach to nature, and the distinctive landscapes on an island that are also his own. Huge sky, low vegetation, rocks, sea and sea again.

Even better, this great nature is found in Theorin’s books (and Gerlov’s memory) inextricably linked with history, experienced by all individuals and the destinies that formed previous generations.

In danger of becoming pompous: we are talking about beauty as well as the horror of human conditions.

Also in this new book. I have already mentioned a horrific incident in 1929, concerning the man who died on the beach, buried under the rocks.

Another person suffered the same fate a long time ago. There is also a direct connection to Gerlov himself, with the only boat that was lost in his possession.

Gerloff wants to make the blurred threads visible between then and now with the help of thought and memory, stubborn questioning and a lack of respect for danger.

love and messages

“Bone Remains” is all about this, with Gerloff who must take the walker to help with everyday life. But also about strong and problematic love, coined with lettering, the kind that may have died with the fall of the Postal Service.

If I do not mention the drama and suspense, it is a failure that must be corrected. They are there!

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Johann Theoren’s books on Gerloff and Holland may be on one or two similar levels. It never bothered me, it comes, so to speak, from the very place, the historical premise and the local character on which the stories are based.

Perhaps it also lies in the author’s talent that he was not inclined to mass production. Kon Gerlov could easily afford five books in a decade and a half.

Then, the reader can look to see if Gerloff has once again succeeded in repairing some damage to the dead, liquidating an innocent appointee, and creating a balance in the accounts.

And along the way, another very well-written book from the hand of Johann Theoren, is in the faithful hands of the translators at Kari Polstad.


I’m a freelancer and do a literature review for NRK, preferably crime novels. Here are some crime novels, both modern and classic, Which I recommend you to read.

Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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