Fiction Book Reviews

Thriller | Fog Island | Mariette Lindstein

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Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein is a recommended read from Laura.

The cover of Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein

Flowers in the Attic meets The Girls: a gripping combination of fear, sexual tension and lethal fascination.

The deadliest trap is the one you don’t see…

Sofia has just finished university and ended a troubled relationship when she attends a lecture about a New Age movement, Via Terra. Its leader is Franz Oswald, young, good-looking, urbane and mesmerizing.

When Sofia meets Franz Oswald, the handsome, charming leader of a mysterious New Age movement, she’s dazzled and intrigued. Visiting his headquarters on Fog Island, Sofia’s struck by the beautiful mansion overlooking the sea, the gardens, the sense of peace and the purposefulness of the people who live there. And she can’t ignore the attraction she feels for Franz.

So she agrees to stay, just for a while. But as summer gives way to winter, and the dense fog from which the island draws its name sets in, it becomes clear that Franz rules the island with an iron fist. No phones or computers are allowed. Contact with the mainland is severed. Electric fences surround the grounds. And Sofia begins to realize how very alone she is and that no one ever leaves Fog Island…

Fog Island is published by HQ and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.


Reading the synopsis for Fog Island I was really excited to get started, and I was not disappointed. I did find the beginning slow, however I soon got into this thriller and couldn’t put it down.

Fog Island has been translated from Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles and interestingly the author Mariette Lindstein is warning readers about the dangers of joining a cult, taken from experience.

Fog Island is a fictional story following Sofia, a student, unwittingly getting swept up in a cult. Intrigued at a lecture by the handsome Franz Oswald she is encouraged to visit his headquarters on Fog Island. On her visit she is enchanted by their way of life and is offered her dream job, to set up a library.

As time passes Sofia realises that Oswald is not a great leader and life on Fog Island is hard and seemingly difficult to escape.

An interesting plot which outlines the horrors of joining a cult and the difficulties in leaving. It portrays how people can be manipulated and continue to work in a punishing environment.

A great read and I look forward to the next two in the trilogy.

Jera's Jamboree

Mariette Lindstein was raised in Halmstad on the west coast of Sweden.

From a young age she had a knack for telling stories, ghost stories first then short novels that were published in teen magazines. By the time she graduated high school she had her sights set on a career in journalism.

These dreams evaporated when she was drawn to the Church of Scientology at age 19. She was rapidly promoted to the cult’s headquarters outside Los Angeles where she wound up staying for more than 20 years and worked at the highest levels, directly under Scientology leader David Miscavige.

She managed to escape 2004 under dramatic circumstances. Conditions at the Southern California compound became so disgraceful that the staff were virtual prisoners behind an iron fence topped with razor wire and patrolled by guards.

Mariette currently lives in Sweden together with her husband Dan who has also left the church of Scientology. She works as an author and lecturer full-time.  She has dedicated her life to enlightening others about the problems with cults.

It was American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright who convinced Mariette to speak out about the abuses she experienced in Scientology. At the time Wright was working on a non-fiction book (Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief) about Scientology and while interviewing Mariette the idea of writing a suspense novel in a cult setting was born. Mariette envisioned a book that would reach a broad audience and not only entertain but enlighten people about the dangers of cults, something inspired by her own experiences. First of foremost, though, Mariette wanted to write a really good thriller.

In 2013, Mariette quit her job as a pre-school teacher and devoted her energies to writing, speaking out and enlightening others about cults. She has done interviews with many morning and evening newspapers in Sweden, including Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet Sunday, as well as magazines such as a Filter, The Home Journal and Femina. She has also appeared on television shows “Malou after 10,” “TV 4 Morning News” and was featured in the recent Swedish Television series about cults in Sweden, “The Only True Way.”

Her debut novel Fog Island is inspired by her own experiences and was released in September 2015. It has won critical acclaim from the likes of Sweden´s best- known critic of suspense literature (Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter), who called it “enthralling as the most suspenseful thriller.” Critic Jonas Danielsson in the TV-program “Go’kväll” (Good Evening) said the book is, “A page turner, the most interesting novel this fall.” The book has been on the top list of Adlibris, Sweden’s largest Internet bookstore, for several months and is currently on its third printing. Fog Island is first and foremost a suspense novel, but with the ulterior purpose of warning about the dangers of sects.

Fog Island is the first book in a trilogy about cults and cult mentality, and takes the reader on a journey into a cult and almost impossible way out. The second book (Return to Fog Island was released in Swedish, Fall 2016) the lengths a group will go to harass those who leave, particularly anyone who speak out. The final installment (Children on Fog Island released Fall 2017) explores life in a cult from the viewpoint of children growing up in one.

Connect with Mariette Lindstein

Twitter @mariettel2000

Read all posts in the thriller genre on Jera’s Jamboree.

HQ Stories on Jera’s Jamboree.

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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