Not the right one to let in
Release Date: OUT NOW!
587 pages | Paperback/ ebook Author: Stefan Spjut Publisher: Faber & Faber
Susso Myrén is a trollhunter.
Not of the internet variety, though she does run a website; Susso is an amateur cryptozoologist, and the trolls she’s interested in are the shapeshifting creatures of Swedish folklore. No one takes her seriously until her troll- cam snaps a photo of a weird- looking man lurking around the house of an abducted child. Then everyone’s taking her seriously – including the kidnappers.
It’s being marketed as ideal “for fans of Let The Right One In”, but despite a promising set- up, Stallo takes way too long to get going. A missing child ought to provide a kind of ticking clock, but there’s no urgency to this story; relevant information is doled out one tiny, frustrating titbit at a time, even as entire paragraphs are devoted to descriptions of characters putting on lip balm. It’s a long book, and even the use of multiple narrators can’t justify the bloated page count. Flashes of cleverness, like the references to real- life fairytale illustrator John Bauer, sink hopelessly into a mire of tedium as characters drive from one end of Sweden to the other, eating breakfast and making unfunny jokes when they ought to be focusing on the mystery at hand.
The trolls themselves are creepy, but they don’t do enough to seem like a genuine threat. Slog to the finish, and all you’ll get is an ending so inconclusive it feels like you’re the one who’s just been trolled. Sarah Dobbs In Lapp mythology, “stallos” are giant, cruel, people- eating trolls who can usually be defeated by a quick- witted hero.