Stallo introduced us to the stallo tribe – giant trolls a bit too keen on human children, and to Susso Myrén, a warm and funny down-to-earth anti hero, who inherited her grandfather’s belief in trolls. Along with her ex-boyfriend and her mother, Susso sets off on a troll hunt and wild road trip across Sweden. Susso’s fearlessness leads to the dissolution of a horrific cult that helped the trolls abduct children, and in the capture and prosecution of the cult’s leader, Lennart Brösth.
Now, the much-anticipated follow-up is here. Stalpi is one of Sami language’s many words for wolf – and also the name of the mysterious grey presence that emerges at night and wreaks destruction in reindeer herds. With Stalpi, author Stefan Spjut returns to the Myrén family souvenir shop in Kiruna, in a story that revolves around this lurking, terrifying creature.
Ten years have passed. An unusually large wolf that has been sighted on the wrong side of the Swedish border has been caught by a team of forest rangers and is being transported back to Finland. But the transport never arrives, and things do not end well for the men who have come into contact with the wolf.
Susso has shut down her crypto-zoological website and moved to an isolated house several miles from Kiruna with a creepy squirrel as only company. Susso’s mother Gudrun hates the vile creature, which won’t let Susso out of sight, but Susso claims it is protecting her. Against what? wonders Gudrun as she sits in her little souvenir shop miles away. She has a bad feeling and in order to calm her nerves she asks Diana, once her daughter’s best friend, to visit Susso and find out how she’s doing. Simultaneously, the child abductor Lennart Brösth escapes from the psychiatric ward where he is being held. Gudrun doesn’t believe he has forgotten who was responsible for destroying his cult. “People who believe in trolls are just weird”, says Gudrun. “The poor soul who knows they exist is damned.”
Inhabiting Stallo’s mythological universe, Stalpi develops into a nerve-racking second installment of the far-north folkloric tale about Susso Myrén and the curse that haunts her family.
A skilled stylist, Stefan Spjut blurs the borders of reality and has an uncanny ability of making the reader believe the unbelievable. His craft is reminiscent of horror master John Ajvide Lindqvist as well as Selma Lagerlöf’s eerie legends.
“Stallo by Stefan Spjut is a fantastic novel in every sense of the word. I was enthralled from the very first page, not only because the story is intensely riveting and constantly surprising, not only because Spjut has managed to master how to write convincingly about the existence of trolls and goblins in the Nordic forests, but also because he writes in a language that captures the everyday life we otherwise know inside and out, so precise and well-written that it illuminates the pages.”
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