The Man in the Wall – Emma Ångström

Emma Ångström - The Man in the Wall_cover

About The Book

Alva is a sad and lonely child. With her father locked up in prison, she moves with her mother and two older sisters to an apartment building in town. She does not like her new home. Her room is small and her sisters continue to exclude Alva from their games. 

Soon a bizarre murder takes place in the building. A husband discovers his wife dead in the hall of their apartment, two week after she disappeared from their home.

 Where had the body been hidden for two weeks? And how could the perpetrator get in and out of the apartment?

 As more disturbing things start to take place, Alva is drawn into a sick and twisted game by a killer who is hiding in plain sight. But Alva is just a child and has no idea just how deadly her new friend might be…

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My Review

The Man in the Wall is an unusual book. It’s a psychological thriller I suppose but not in the traditional sense. There are moments of threat and terror which are combined with instances of great sadness and loneliness which make this a cut above the usual thriller trope. There isn’t a detective looking for serial killer, or a criminal mastermind hunting down unsuspecting and vulnerable people instead there is a little girl, a strange man and hints of the supernatural.

Alva, her mother and two sisters move to Stockholm from northern Sweden to start their life again. Her mother is troubled by the events that have led to their relocation whilst Alva’s two elder sisters exclude her from their games and friendships leaving her to spend her time reading about supernatural phenomenon. She is obsessed with her grandmother who she believes had psychic abilities and studies paintings she created for hidden messages. A lonely and isolated young girl she struggles to make friends and is happier spending time alone. Meanwhile there are strange goings on in the apartment block – loaves of bread go missing, residents feel like they are being watched and one day, Lily the wife of Jens goes missing from their apartment. The door is locked from the inside, her bag, clothes and belongings are left behind and Jens and the police are at a loss. Two weeks later Lily’s body suddenly appears in the hallway of their flat and there is no explanation for how it got there.

Alva’s life is made more exciting when she meets the man in the wall; W. He has spent decades observing the inhabitants of the apartment block, watching them go about their daily lives and creeping into their apartments at night to watch them sleep. It would be easy to portray him as a monster, as a sad loner who deserves our contempt but I felt so sad for him. I was really intrigued by his story and what had led him to this life. Ångström has created a compelling character in W, unease and confusion lead to understanding and compassion for this troubled man.

I loved the snapshots we get into the apartments and the lives contained within them. W’s observations of the relationships, his knowledge of their lives is immensely weird and creepy yes, but he is a loner, and this is the only way he is able to forge any kind of connection. The Man in the Wall is a wonderful exploration of human nature and the importance of relationships.

From W’s spying on people to Alva’s pursuit of the occult and voodoo dolls this isn’t a traditional psychological thriller. There are moments of genuine fear and dread in this book, there were a few times that I got goosebumps and felt chilled by what I was reading – there is ominous threat on every page.

I found this book wholly absorbing. I love Scandinavian literature, there is a darkness and matter-of-factness to the writing which I really love. Despite being chilled to the bone at times I couldn’t put this book down, it was a great read which really made me think about relationships and what we are unable to see.

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About the Author

Emma-Ångström-480x480Emma Ångström is an author and architect. She has a Master’s degree in architecture from the Royal Technical University in Stockholm and from Parsons in New York. Besides her writing she currently works as head of communications at an architectural firm in Stockholm, Sweden.

She was born in 1982 in Västerås, Sweden, and started her writing career as a journalist at the age of 17. Since then, she has also worked as a lighting designer, and written non-fiction books about lighting design and architecture.

Ångström made her debut in 2009 with the novel AND ALL IS DISTORTED (Och allt är förvridet). In 2016 THE MAN IN THE WALL was released, a remarkable and nerve-wracking thriller with a ”monster” it is hard not to feel certain sympathy with. Condensed writing shaping characters of real flesh and blood, a steady hand’s brushwork forming each piece of the portrait’s originality to a whole, stylistically assured.

I am thrilled to be one of today’s stops for the Blog Tour for The Man in the Wall today, many thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. The Man in the Wall is published today and can be bought here.

Make sure you check out the other stops on the Blog Tour, details can be found beneath.





2 thoughts on “The Man in the Wall – Emma Ångström

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