Review by David Steinberg

“The Swimmer” is an absorbing, fulfilling read whether you’re in the airport waiting for a flight delayed by weather or if you’re at home in an easy chair.

It’s a spy thriller. Yes, it blends shootings with espionage, and the plot development shifts between 1980 and 2013. So you’ll want to pay attention and remember who is doing what where and when.

The title refers to a veteran American spy who is called in. Swimming is his avocation. In terms of his vocation, he’d rather be quietly killing people in an overseas assignment.

But Joakim Zander’s debut novel attacks a host of potent ethnical issues – loyalty, revenge, friendship – wrapped around a hunt for an alleged terrorist, the dark conspiracies of international politics, the spy’s search for a daughter whom he had abandoned on a doorstep in Damascus and now the adult daughter is in harm’s way.

“The Swimmer,” translated from the Swedish, is published by Harper ($27.99). It is Zander’s debut novel and blazes a path for a younger generation of Scandinavian writers of international thrillers.

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