It has been a long time since I caught up on reviews and news about Scandinavian crime fiction. Lots to report . . .
Norm brings the news that Arne Dahl has won the Swedish crime fiction award with Viskelen (Chinese Whispers) which has not yet had rights sold to the US or UK. Let’s hope that happens. His first book in English, Misterioso, has only just been released after years of delay.
The Boy the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis is among the mysteries reviewed in the Globe and Mail . Margaret Cannon says it has “a terrific central character and a great plot.”
At Reviewing the Evidence, Yvonne Klein has some reservations about the book – particularly its jumpy structure, leaping among points of view, and the withholding of information about Nina Borg until the final pages, a strategy that she found manipulative; still, she will read more as the series continues.
Marlyn Stasio of the New York Times Book Review gives it a strong review, saying “it packs an almighty punch.”
The Mumbai Daily News and Analysis reviews Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Mercy (apa The Keeper of Lost Causes) and calls it a “riveting read.”
At The Game’s Afoot, Jose Igancio Escribano reviews Arnaldur Indridason’s Outrage and finds it’s “an excellent contribution to an already superb series.”
At Euro Crime, Rich Westwood reviews Mikkel Birkegaard’s Death Sentence and finds that it’s closer to being in the horror genre than mystery. Amanda at Rustic Ramblings enjoyed it a good deal, though she agrees with Westwood that there’s a lot of graphic violence involved.
Peter at Nordic Bookblog reviews Anne Holt’s Fear Not, which he reckons is the best in the Adam Stubo and Johanne Vik series.
At Petrona, Maxine Clarke reviews The Hand that Trembles by Kjell Eriksson which is engrossing, with three investigations that are adroitly resolved, using a mix of “character, a strong sense of location, and narrative” rather than violence, high drama, and gore.
She also reviews K. O. Dahl’s Lethal Investments, the first of the author’s police procedural series featuring Gunnarstranda and Frolich. It’s very much a classic crime story – and was, in fact, published 18 years ago, a victim of a malady Maxine has dubbed the TOOO syndrome – translated out of order.
More from Maxine can be found at Euro Crime, where she reviews Hakan Nesser’s The Unlucky Lottery, which has the author’s “trademark bleak humor.”
Crime Fiction Lover has a review of Sara Blaedel’s Call Me Princess, which she found an enjoyable old-fashioned story with a contemporary twist.
Rob Kitchen at The View from the Blue House takes a look at Asa Larsson’s The Savage Altar (Sun Storm), which he give high points for characterization and its sense of place.
A reviewer for The Guardian has a rather peculiar response to the book: she thinks the things police think about are unsanitary and rather nasty. I think the book deserves a proper review.
Glenn Harper provides one at International Noir Fiction, finding it a very enjoyable read. He considers Dahl one of the best of Scandinavian writers.
Bernadette has a reaction to reading Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters: it’s not nearly as good as books in the Harry Hole series and doesn’t tick her boxes for her list of what makes a good thriller.
She also reviews Mari Jungstedt’s The Dead of Summer which she find enjoyable if not as thrilling as it might be if suspects emerged sooner and the ultimate solution to the crime less obvious.
Bibliojunkie (who seeks no cure for her book addiction) has an excellent review of Asa Larsson’s Until Thy Wrath Be Past, saying Larsson “juggles the balance of both horrifying crime and human drama beautifully” and finding in Scandinavian crime fiction a gratifying attention to character development.
Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom’s new thriller, Cell 8, is reviewed in The Independent, which finds it energetic and mesmerizing, if a bit heavy on the social issues.
Declan Burke at Crime Always Pays says “in essence, CELL 8 is a lecture on how the world would be a much better place if only we all conformed to the authors’ principles” and it’s “laughably preposterous” to boot. I wish he’d just tell us what he really thinks.
At The Crime Segments, Nancy O reviews Burned by Thomas Enger, a book she enjoyed very much, particularly for its plotting and its journalist hero.
Craig of Crime Watch, the New Zealand guide to all things crime fiction, has a Q & A with Mons Kallentoft, author of Midwinter Sacrifice, as an appetizer for a Kallentoft feature forthcoming in his 9mm author interview series. (The real mystery: when does Craig ever sleep?)
Apparently Martin Scorsese might direct a film version of Nesbo’s The Snowman. Also, this is the first time I’ve encountered “helm” used as a verb.
And in The Guardian, Andrew Anthony interviews several Norwegian writers about their take on the terrible shootings last July. K.O.Dahl’s niece was on the island where 69 people were shot dead, surviving by playing dead. It’s quite a harrowing story and a thoughtful article. In addition to Dahl, there are substantial interviews of Anne Holt, Jo Nesbo, and literary novelist Jan Kjaerstad. In a rather charming and very Norwegian moment, as Anthony talks to Kjaerstad in a restaurant and man stops to chat before sitting nearby. The crown prince of Norway, dining at one of his favorite restaurants.