cover image The Library of Shadows

The Library of Shadows

Mikkel Birkegaard, trans. from the Danish by Tiina Nunnally, Black Swan (Trafalgar Square, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (430p) ISBN 978-0-552-77502-1

Birkegaard's debut, a bestseller in Denmark, is intended as a thriller, but feels relatively sedate, perhaps because of the less than fluent translation. Jon Campelli, an up and coming lawyer, has been estranged from his father, Luca, ever since his mother's suicide years ago. When Luca dies under mysterious circumstances, Jon, as sole heir to his father's antiquarian bookstore, finds himself drawn into a mysterious world of secret societies that use book-related psychic powers to manipulate politicians and other public figures. After Jon begins to investigate his father's death, the bookstore is firebombed and one of his father's confederates also appears to commit suicide, while Jon comes to realize he has strange abilities of his own. This very literary tale has some appeal but is likely to be too slow for fans of more traditional thrillers. (Nov.)