The Asylum–Book Review by Johan Theorin

Today I will be doing a book review on a Swedish psychological thriller, The Asylum, written by Johan Theorin.

Anyway, before I begin with the review, just to let you know, we are on lockdown here in Sri Lanka, because of COVID-19 and practically this is the 3rd day of the lockdown. But today, the government decided to open 4 hours for the public to go out and buy the necessities before imposing the curfew again. Yeah, so practically, this is the life under lockdown. So what am I doing during this lockdown? Sewing, baking, watching TV and of course reading books!!!

So let’s begin the review


We don’t talk about sick or healthy people at St Patricia’s. Words such as hysteric, lunatic and psychopath…They are no longer used. Because who amongst us can say that we are always healthy?’ An underground passage leads from the Dell nursery to Saint Patricia’s asylum. Only the children enter, leaving their minders behind. On the other side are their parents – some of the most dangerous psychopaths in the country. Jan has just started working at the nursery. He is a loner with many secrets and one goal. He must get inside the asylum…What is his connection with one of the inmates, a famous singer? What really happened when a boy in his care went missing nine years ago? Who can we trust when everyone has something to hide?

Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Doubleday (October 1, 2012)

Language: English (Original Swedish)

Genre–Thriller, Suspense, Crime.

Image result for johan theorin

Throughout his life, Johan Theorin has been a regular visitor to the Baltic island of Öland, where his books are set. His mother’s family – sailors, fishermen and farmers – have lived there for centuries, nurturing the island’s rich legacy of strange tales and folklore. A journalist by profession, Johan lives in Gothenburg, Sweden.

All right, so this story is a chilling Swedish psychological novel, where the protagonist, Jan Hauger, who is a pre school teacher with secrets of his own starts his job at the Dell Nursery where it is located near a mental asylum known as St Patricia’s that holds the country’s most dangerous psychos as well. This novel divides between past and present and the author eventually helps us to get a glimpse on Jan’s thoughts. Eventually, we find that Jan is actually a disturbed young youth who had also being locked up in a mental institution himself when he was a teenager and he has a difficulty of getting connected with the people. He is also on a quest as well–he mainly took up the job simply because he wanted to find someone who is locked in St. Patricia–his childhood love named Alice Rami. Throughout this book, it simply talks about obsession as Jan is obsessed to find Rami in the institution.

So here are the things that I liked about the book

  • I like the writing style of the novel–the writing is engaging and well written.
  • There are some tense moments in the chapters that makes you wonder what is going to happen next.

Things I didn’t really like

  • Despite this being a psychological thriller, I feel it’s not as scary as it sounds like. Not like the Girl with the Dragon tattoo.
  • Cannot feel connection with the characters–all the characters seems to be having flaws.

Over all I rate this book three stars but I do recommend this book though. It has some thrilling sense in it.

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Stay tuned for my next review!!!

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