February 24, 2015

The Swimmer Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE SWIMMER being hosted by TLC Book Tours! Today I have my review of the book to share with you - and don't forget to check out the tour schedule below to visit other hosts!

The Swimmer

Author: Joakim Zander
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper


A deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew in this electrifying debut thriller— an international sensation billed as “Homeland meets Stieg Larsson”—that heralds the arrival of a new master.

Early 1980s, Damascus. A nameless American spy abandons his newborn child to an uncertain fate. His inability to forgive himself for what he has done leads him on a lifelong quest to escape his past that will take him to Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq—anywhere where the danger and the stress allow him to forget.

Thirty years later, EU aide Klara Walldéen is learning to navigate the world of politics—the lines between friend and enemy, truth and lies. But Klara has just seen something she should not have: a laptop containing information so sensitive that people will kill to keep it hidden. Suddenly she is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe, with no idea who is hunting her or why.

Their stories converge one stormy Christmas Eve in the Swedish archipelago, where blood is spilled, shocking discoveries are made, and the past inevitably catches up with the present.

Praise for The Swimmer:

“Comparable to the best of John le Carré.” —Joseph Finder, author of Suspicion

“A terrific globe-trotting page-turner.” —Chris Pavone, author of The Expats and The Accident

“Hypnotic and intoxicating, pulling us relentlessly across the globe from page to page, intrigue to intrigue.” —Olen Steinhauer, author of The Cairo Affair

“An international thriller with the pace and intensity of a Jason Bourne adventure.” —Kirkus

The Swimmer is a complex and imaginative novel that weaves together several smaller story lines until the big picture of the book is revealed. The situations and happenings are sporadic - taking place in a variety of places across the globe, during time periods both past and present, and changing narrators at almost every turn. The book is actually several different plots - each with it's own setting, main character, and story line. The author purposely shifts between these distinct stories until they meet up with one another and finally intertwine to form the true plot of the novel. Each smaller story was incredibly detailed with intense imagery and detailed descriptions that made it almost impossible not to feel as if you were right there, experiencing everything for yourself. I found myself easily slipping into each part of the book as though it were a natural thing to do - and despite the fact that none of the smaller sections had any indicators of who the narrator was. Sometimes you would get a date or year and a city or country as reference points, which certainly helped keep the events in chronological order for the reader and useful for when the main plot emerges. 

Klara is a phenomenal female lead for this book. She's strong - not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too. She's very smart, dedicated to her work, loves her family, and is quite determined overall. When she realizes that she's gotten herself into a huge problem - one that will take her all across Europe in an attempt to figure out who is following her and why. I found all of Klara's adventures in each place to be intriguing and even confusing at times. There are a ton of twists and turns throughout the story that you never see coming - which makes this book such a fierce mystery and will have you on the edge of your seat, eagerly reading to see what's going to happen next. I honestly didn't expect all the twists and unexpected plot turns after reading the description of the book, but the fact that it's full of them only made my experience reading it all the more exciting. The writing was profound and uniquely construed - some of the best writing I've come across, in any genre. The plot was fast paced and thrilling, but it wasn't hurried or confusing due to the varying locations, time periods, and characters. Again, I have to mention the amazing attention to every little detail - all five senses are engaged during the entire novel and basically sucked me into the world the author created within the first few lines of the book. I got lost inside of the pages - caught up in the strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, only to have them come together in an explosive way; the lives and details of all the characters; and the shocking twists and turns that lead to a stunning ending. I found myself still thinking about the story days after reading it, trying to recall details from the story that might have given me a hint about what was going to happen. I know for a fact that I'll be re-reading this one soon so I can pick up on all the little details I know I missed the first time around. I definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery, suspense, thrillers, spy novels, and anyone who enjoys stories that happen in multiple places and times. It will definitely keep the reader on their toes and so wrapped up that it's almost impossible to make yourself stop reading. Fair warning on that part! 

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Joakim Zander has lived in Syria and Israel and graduated from high school in the United States. He earned a PhD in Law from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and has worked as a lawyer for the European Union in Brussels and Helsinki. The Swimmer is his first novel; rights have been sold in 28 territories. Zander currently lives in southern Sweden with his wife and two children.

Follow Zander on Twitter, @JoakimZander.

Buy Links:  Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Tour Stops:

Tuesday, February 10th: Bibiotica Wednesday, February 11th: Man of La Book
Friday, February 13th: Dreams, Etc.
Monday, February 16th: My Bookish Ways
Tuesday, February 17th: Staircase Wit
Thursday, February 19th: Annabel & Alice
Friday, February 20th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, February 23rd: Stephany Writes
Tuesday, February 24th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, February 25th: Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Thursday, February 26th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Monday, March 2nd: The Discerning Reader
Tuesday, March 3rd: Novel Escapes
Thursday, March 5th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, March 6th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, March 11th: Many Hats
Friday, March 13th: Jorie Loves a Story

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