The Asylum By Johan Theorin

Title: The Asylum

Author: Johan Theorin

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 13th March 2013 (UK Paperback)


‘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?


Okay so it is difficult for me to give reviews of psychological thrillers like this without giving too much away so I think this review may be quite short! But will give it a try!

So I love things to do with asylums, psychiatric hospitals and mental illness therefore the title had me hooked, then I noticed the quote on the cover ‘If you like Stieg Larsson, try a much better Swedish writer’ (The Observer). I love Stieg Larssons Millennium trilogy and thought that this seemed a perfect book for me. But I will say this now – I preferred Stieg Larssons books to The Asylum.

Jan is the protagonist in this novel and initially appears to be a sensible adult who has a good career as a play group/nursery teacher/worker, with only one incident pertaining to a job several years ago. That is the first hook in the story, and soon we learn that Jan is not as perfect as his CV made out.

I found the novel a little slow to begin with but quickly built up pace making you want to keep reading to find out what happened in the past and what was going to happen next. You were anxious as Jan tried to sneak into the Asylum and worried for him in case he got caught. Why is he so desperate to sneak in? What is his connection to the inmate he wishes to contact?

The chapters were quite short so if you are reading at night you might be up rather late as you think ‘just one more chapter’ and this happened to me – was rather tired the next day at work!

This is a very well written novel with some surprise twists and turns to keep you hooked. Definitely pick up if you are a fan of psychological thrillers and keep with it at the beginning because soon you won’t be able to put it down!

4 out of 5!