A group of municipal employees arrive at a picturesque conference center, situated by the lake Kolarsjön at the foot of a mountain. They are there to discuss a controversial project that has angered many, both in the small town and among the employees themselves. What they don’t know is that someone is watching them from the other side of the lake. Someone who wants revenge. And when darkness starts to fall, they begin to disappear – one by one.
The Conference is a blood soaked thriller about the worst teambuilding exercise you could possibly imagine. It’s about the people we have not chosen, but spend most of our waking time with: our colleagues.
Mats Strandberg is a master of bringing charachters to life (and death), as well as portraying a part of Swedish society going through massive upheavals.
“THE CONFERENCE made me try to shut my eyes while reading. I say that with horror and joy.” – Babel
“The last hundred pages are like reading at 150 miles per hour.” – Folkbladet Västerbotten
“THE CONFERENCE is horror literature at its best. The horror becomes a way of bringing life to history, and portray the existential questions …” – VLT
“Mats Strandberg lovingly builds up the personalities of his characters, establishing a reality where the horror surely becomes horrific when it strikes.”
– Dagens Nyheter / SWE
“Effective as well as detailed is also Strandberg’s narrative, and the book is simply extremely suspenseful.”
“A skilled author’s portrayal of everybody’s vulnerability.”
“Sometimes it is unbearable to read. And that’s exactly how it should be.”
”A totally hair raising action thriller so rugged that I do not hesitate to name Mats Strandberg one of our most skilled narrators. In chapter after chapter The Conference givs me of shortness of breath, It’s like Agatha Christie’s And Then They Were None meets your worst nightmare. I still haven’t pulled myself together. Several times I had to put down the book, deepen my breath and thank God for this year of conference-free work. In short: Strandberg has surpassed himself!”
“… a display of human shortcomings where the author’s compassion is clearly present, and the depiction of the sparsely populated municipality and geography is spot on.”
”The Conference is a lovely adrenaline rush – but just like all drugs, it disappears quickly. What remains are the people. I suddenly discover that I am thinking of Lina, Torbjörn and the others while I’m making dinner several days after I have finished listening. Thinking that they have got something that should be bestowed on all fictional characters – a writer who really cares about them. All the way to death.”
”Strandberg fully masters the horror thriller set-up. It will be a bloody and exciting book, where you have to read on to the last page to see how it goes. Not quite as one thinks, should be mentioned. I’m never going to a conference again.”
– Upsala Nya Tidning
Mats Strandberg’s greatness lies in the love and care with which he creates the characters that inhabit his dark world – but he is just as good at killing them.”
– Niklas Natt och Dag