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Carl-John Vallgren is the author of eight novels. His The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading Monster Hercules Barefoot won the Swedish August Prize for novel of the year. He lives in Stockholm.
In an overcrowded Stockholm underground station a father and his two boys are late for their train. Joel, the youngest, is howling in his pushchair and his seven-year-old brother, Kristoffer, refuses to take the lift. A woman approaches and offers to lead Kristoffer up the stairs. Reluctantly his father agrees, but when he arrives on the platform Kristoffer and the woman have vanished without a trace. Many years later, Joel, now an adult, goes missing in suspicious circumstances. His wife turns to Danny Katz - an old friend - for help. But Katz isn't the only one trying to find Joel, and the deeper he digs the more secrets he uncovers about the wealthy and powerful family at the heart of the investigation. Then suddenly, the case takes a dramatic new turn.
Nella and her brother Robert live a difficult life with their mother and father in a small town on the west coast of Sweden. Robert is bullied at school, and Nella has to resort to debt and petty crime to pay off his tormentors. When she turns to her friend Tommy for help, her suspicions are aroused by the mysterious comings and goings of his brothers at their dilapidated boat house. But when she uncovers the reason behind their enigmatic behaviour, her life is opened to the realities of a mindboggling secret. The Merman is an exhilarating and beautiful book about sibling love and betrayal - and what happens when the mundane collides with the strange and wonderful.