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Effervescent Cataclysm (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Half Norwegian, Half American, Alex Dahl is the author of Nordic short stories and spellbinding psychological thrillers such as the critically acclaimed novel, the Boy at the Door. Born and raised in Oslo, Norway, Dahl is very popular in the US and the UK, especially among thriller and mystery lovers. Upon completing her high school education, Dahl joined a local college where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in German and Russian linguistics. Later on, Dahl decided to further her studies by joining Bath Spa University, where she first completed a Masters of Arts in Creative writing before undertaking an MS in Business-Management. Apart from being a serious Francophile, Alex Dahl is also the author of the newly released Nordic Noir, Boy at the Door. Just like many novels from Nordic thriller authors, author Alex Dahl sets the novel in the small town of Sandefjord, Norway. Dahl’s newly released novel is an exceptional psychological thriller, which apparently has attracted a worldwide audience.

The highly intriguing psychological thriller, the Boy at the Door, is available in various countries, such as Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, UK, USA in both paperback and e-prints. Due to the love that she has for her home country, Alex Dahl loves to split her time between the cities of Sandefjord, Norway and London, UK.

The Boy at the Door
Set in the small Norwegian city of Sandefjord, The Boy at the Door is a heartrending novel, which lays emphasis on a well to do suburban wife, one Cecilia Willborg. The narrative begins as the protagonist Cecilia, is seething with frustration, anger and a long-hidden secret. Cecilia, a mother of two daughters has worked extremely hard for the most part of her life, to get where she is today and to offer her daughters, a much better life than the one she had. After achieving her lifelong dream by accumulating a colossal amount of wealth, Cecilia is now working extremely hard to keep what she has rightfully earned. Apart from having a perfect house, Cecilia also has a perfect family and a less demanding part-time job. However, beneath this perfect exterior lies, cracks and secrets. As pressure continues to build, it will not take long for these cracks to reach the surface and eventually leave everything in shambles. As circumstances collude to throw Cecilia’s world out of the kilter, it finally dawns on both the readers and Cecilia that the time has finally approached.

On one chilly October evening, after her daughters’ evening swimming session, Cecilia Willborg finds herself caring for a sweet seven-year-old boy, Tobias. Tobias looks confused after his guardians left him unattended, at the swimming pool. Because it was getting late and no one so far had appeared to come and collect Tobias, Cecilia offers to take the boy to his supposed home. However, upon arrival, Cecilia comes to the realization that the address the boy had given him led to an empty house, which from the look of things had been empty for quite some time. After brainstorming for a while, Cecilia decides to take the boy to her home, with the hopes of dropping him at his school the following morning. However, this little act of kindness by Cecilia eventually turns into a catalyst for a series of misfortunes that follows. Cecilia’s involvement with the boy eventually results in a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol, guilt and lies. Dahl’s first-person narration alternates with a number of pain filled narratives, with the author revealing one of these narratives through a cathartic journal kept by one Annika Lucasson.

Annika is a viciously exploited drug addict who at one point took care of Tobias. Moreover, she also happens to know most of Cecilia’s well-hidden secrets. In The Boy Next Door, author Alex Dahl presents the readers with a plot that is not only complex but also convoluted in such a manner that it will delight and surprise the readers at the same time. The psychological element in the Boy at the Door is brilliantly done. Because the book contained many wounded characters, the overall tone of the narrative could have been quite dark. However, author Alex Dahl manages to dilute these dark moments by introducing several lighter moments, which in turn kept the overall tone balanced. The pacing of the book was superb, though there were instances where it felt somewhat slow. Nonetheless, the overall pacing matched the narrative quite well. Author Alex Dahl also clearly portrays how Scandinavian authors have been radiantly tapping into and incorporating the current psychological thriller plotlines. One thing that readers are definitely going to love about The Boy at the Door is Cecilia’s character voice, especially as she narrates the story.

Despite the fact that her voice is quite decisive at times, there were instances where her voice proved to be quite fascinating. Though Cecilia’s attitude towards her children and her husband is weirdly obtuse, Cecilia still manages to see life through a lens that is quite realistic. Just like many characters in mystery and psychological thriller novels, Cecilia is harbouring secrets that she would not want anyone to know. As the narrative continues to take many twists and turns, author Alex Dahl slowly reveals many of these secrets. Moreover, the readers get more stories from the young boy, with many of them being quite heartbreaking. Just like the mystery elements, the plotting is cleverly done, such that the readers will not be able to pinpoint early in the narrative where the story was headed. Author Alex Dahl also does an exceptional job of conveying the emotions of the main character, Cecilia. Though her level of anxiety was extremely high at times, readers will definitely feel anxious for her.

Overall, The Boy Next Door is a nifty book, which looks at the duality of human nature by featuring multiple intersecting tales. The intersecting tales reveals the iron twists before they eventually come to a bittersweet conclusion. Alex Dahl savagely delineates the harsh realities of living in a society, which forces women to become perfect mothers and wives, as well as have successful careers. Moreover, the book is also a great example of Nordic psychological thrillers. Apart from having great characters, the book also has a beautiful mystery element, which will ensure that the readers are pulled along, and in the process would not want to put this novel down until; they are able to find a resolution.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Alex Dahl

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