Things got busy at work, again, and so I’ve fallen behind on scanning the Scandinavian crime fiction landscape. I guess (to stick with the landscape metaphor) this will be a bit of an avalanche of reviews that have been published since I last posted.
Kerrie reviews Mari Jungstedt’s Unseen from her perch in paradise, reporting that she enjoyed it, but this is a series best read in order. She also alerts tourists to Gotland’s excessively high murder rate, putting it right up there with St. Mary Mead as a dangerous destination.
Karen reviews Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s My Soul to Take at her Euro Crime blog and says it is long, thoroughly absorbing, and provides an excellent puzzle. She also reviews an audio version of Camilla Lackberg’s The Stonecutter which she enjoyed very much.
Margot Kinberg puts Hakan Nesser’s Mind’s Eye in the spotlight, giving it a thorough interrogation.
Norm (aka Uriah) reviews Gunnar Staalesen’s The Writing on the Wall originally published in 1995, the 11th in the Varg Veum series and finds it a solid PI story that is a bit “ponderous and predictable.” Peter also reviews this book, finding it well written and plotted, but he points out that not everyone is taken by the main character, who went to the Marlowe School of Private Investigation.
Norm also shares his thoughts on the Hornets’ Nest film, recently screened in the UK, noting that cuts had to be made to fit it all into the compressed time-frame of a film, but the trimmings were carefully made and the acting is terrific.
Lynn Harnett reviews Ake Edwardson’s The Shadow Woman at Mostly Fiction and gives its “Scandinavian spare” prose a thumbs up.
No Cupcakes for You speaks highly of Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End . . . well, of the cover, anyway, which she things is one of the best of the year. As for the book, points added for dark humor, but points taken off for unsympathetic characters, and too many of them to keep track of. Then again, the author sells a bobble-headed doll of himself at his website, so maybe it would be worth trying another.
Peter reviews Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard (8th in the Harry Hole series, but 6th to be published in English); Harry has dropped out and gone to Hong Kong but is dragged back to Oslo by a series of brutal murders. It sounds like another excellent entry in the series, one that Peter aptly calls “painfully suspenseful.” I particularly appreciate a coda to Peter’s review: “Jo Nesbo’s English publisher unfortunately is trying to sell The Leopard and Jo Nesbo as the “next Stieg Larsson”. To my mind Nesbo may well be as good as Larsson, but his style, plots and characters are very different. To me Jo Nesbo currently is Jo Nesbo and he continue to be Jo Nesbo. He has created a name for himself in his own right, and will continue to grow that name. No other name should be necessary.” Amen.
Peter also shares a video of Nebso talking about Nemesis. And at The World of Books, he reviews Kjell Eriksson’s The Demon of Dakar. He recommends this exciting procedural that is a “race without rules.”
Michael Walters is on a Norwegian kick, reviewing K. O. Dahl’s The Fourth Man, which he finds reasonably good, but not as engrossing as Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series; he reckons The Snowman to be one of the best books he’s read all year. And he give two thumbs up to the original Norwegian version of the film Insomnia which he finds more ambiguous and unsettling than the U.S. remake.
Dove Grey, a school teacher and librarian-in-training, discusses her favorite Scandinavian writers – Kjell Eriksson, followed by Arnaldur Indridason – as well as her least favorite, Ake Edwardson.
Maxine Clarke reviews Anne Holt’s 1222 at Euro Crime which she finds uneven, but with a compelling female lead. This book is also reviewed in The Scotsman, by a reviewer (Doug Johnstone) who was underwhelmed.
Glenn Harper praises Jarkko Sipila’s Vengeance for its hard-nosed noir and avoidance of cliches, and finds it particularly compelling when the novel focuses on an ex-con brain-damaged man trying to get out of the drug business with a final deal (and a life-threatening assignment from a childhood friend who is now an undercover cop). “Sipila is giving a straightforward and believable portrait of conflict in the streets of Helsinki, and giving a gritty portrait of the city as well as a truly noir reading experience along the way.”
He wasn’t as taken with Mari Jungstedt’s The Killer’s Art as with the rest of the series, with too many story lines and an out-of-the-blue solution.
He also reviews Harri Nykanen’s Raid and the Blackest Sheep – which he terms more a “road novel” than a mystery, comparing Nykanen to Alan Guthrie and other neo-noir writers with an offbeat sense of irony. And he reviews the television series based on Helene Tursten’s Irene Husse procedurals.
Thanks to all the talented reviewers who keep up with new books and share their thoughts.