here on earth and on the blogs

Peter Rozovsky, the keeper of the Detectives Beyond Borders blog (and possessor of a brain the size of a planet), provides an expert tour of international crime fiction, as does Hirsh Sawhney, the editor of Akashik’s new anthology, Dehli Noir. A number of Scandinavian writers are mentioned among the multicultural melange, starting with Steig Larsson’s popularity and finishing with the lineage of Mankell and company going back to Sjowall and Wahloo. As a side note, I’m amazed that the moderator managed to quote from two articles that drove me bonkers because they were so off base but were published in widely-read venues. Sigh.

Meanwhile, Cathy Skye has a review of The Girl Who Played With Fire. And for her (as for many of us) there’s one key reason why these books are addictive.

Once again, the person at the center of it all– Lisbeth Salander– is the most fascinating. As a young girl locked away in a psychiatric hospital, she was asked Why won’t you talk to the doctors? To which Salander replied Because they don’t listen to what I say. If you don’t listen to what this young woman says, she’s not going to bother with you. At all. You won’t even be a blip on her radar. When I turned the page to see Part IV: Terminator Mode, I didn’t bother to hide my grin. This could only mean that Salander was kicking into high gear. I loved seeing how Larsson tied the expose of the sex-trafficking industry and the double murder into Salander’s own background, for this book does give insight into what makes Salander tick.

If you want to get to know one of the most fascinating characters in modern fiction, read Larsson’s books. Lisbeth Salander will enter your bloodstream like the strongest of narcotics.

Glenn Harper at International Noir Fiction reviews Karin Fossum’s The Water’s Edge and adds three covers. It’s interesting to see how different the Norwegian one is from the US and UK cover art.  He describes how the narrative delves into multiple perspectives, including those of the couple who discover the child’s body:

The result of the combination of the more meditative, interior monologues and the dialogues between the cops and the glimpses of the married couple’s daily life is a splintered image, a kaleidoscope or jigsaw puzzle that in the end emphasizes the daily tragedies of normal life as much or more than the awful crimes.

Fossum’s ending (really there are plural endings, as each thread of the plot ends separately) emphasizes both the awfulness of the ordinary and what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil, carrying forward the dark, brooding story beyond the end of the novel and into the reader’s life–a most effective ending for a noir crime novel.

Effective, but very different from the more common “resolution” offered by many mysteries. I loved it, but it does not promise that order is restored. Another thing that amazes me about this book is how much it accomplishes in only 240 pages.

And Dorte reviews a Danish thriller that hasn’t been translated into English, and it sounds as if that’s just as well.

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