“Let the Old Dreams Die” by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 400 pages, in stores)
John Ajvide Lindqvist has been called Sweden's Stephen King, in part because his books are best-sellers, and in part because he, like King, redefines standards of horror fiction and makes them his own. “Let the Right One In” is a chilling vampire novel that has been made into two excellent movies, and “Handling the Undead” is Lindqvist's own unique take on zombies and how an outbreak might be treated in a modern society.
Two of the short stories in Lindqvist's “Let the Old Dreams Die” are sequels, of a sort, to the fore-mentioned novels. But before we get to them, let's take a quick look at some of the other stories in this new book:
“The Border.” Tina has a talent for discerning when someone has something to hide. She uses it to detect smugglers on the border, but she has never really fit into society. Then she meets a man who is hiding a dark secret that is the stuff of fairy tales.
“A Village in the Sky.” In the same city as a climactic event in “Let the Right One In,” Joel notices his apartment building seems a little off. One day it leans, the next, it is bowed. Then he realizes his girlfriend, indeed, all of his neighbors, have disappeared.
“Equinox.” Veronica has a secret passion: Breaking into neighbors' houses and snooping through their things while they are gone. Then she discovers the naked corpse of a man, a knife sticking out of his chest ... and he follows her home.
“Eternal/Love.” Anna and Josef can't imagine a life without each other, and shortly after he nearly dies in an accident at sea, he tells her he now knows the secret to living forever.
“To Put My Arms Around You, to Music.” This is the shortest one. I read it three times — once out loud — and remain uncertain whether I understand it. I won't describe it here. You will need to reach your own conclusions on this one. But it is creepy.