cover image Little Star

Little Star

John Ajvide Lindqvist, trans. from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (544p) ISBN 978-0-312-62051-6

Lindqvist’s third novel released in English (ably translated by Delargy) ignores the supernatural elements of his previous works, instead providing terror via a group of sociopaths and artists. When abusive, washed-up rocker Lennart finds an abandoned baby in the snow, he’s taken in by her perfect pitch, and he and his wife, Laila, decide to raise her in secret. Awkward, quiet Theres grows into a listless adolescent, murders Laila and Lennart, and ends up living with her adoptive adult brother, Jerry, himself a former convict charged with assault and robbery. He enters her in a Swedish performance competition, where she catches the attention of another awkward outcast teen, Teresa, and they form a violent partnership. Lindqvist (Harbor) mixes in satire of popular music, multiple character POVs, often biting commentary on teen life, and many sudden and horrific acts. Not everything sticks, but there’s enough to make a truly gripping horror novel. Agent: Anneli Høier, Leonhardt & Høier Literary Agency. (Oct.)