The Globe and Mail interviews Roslund and Helstrom (“the Swedish crime writers not named Larsson”). Among the tidbits:
Roslund says it is no coincidence that Sweden is currently producing good crime writing: He attributes it to a loss of innocence that began with the assassination of prime minister Olof Palme in 1986 and continues through to the terrorist attack that killed a suicide bomber who blew himself up in a Stockholm street last December…
Roslund and Hellstrom don’t like to preach but they do see their books as part of a social dialogue about crime and how to avoid it. Hellstrom thinks the American model, with an armed citizenry barricading itself into gated communities, is not the solution.
“If you want to read our books for entertainment, that’s okay. No problem,” Hellstrom said. “But if you want to have some knowledge about problems you maybe don’t know exist, you can read them that way also. They say we have some kind of social goal but we never tell the reader what to think. … It’s for the reader to make the decision: Is this good or not?”
Their most recently-translated book, Three Seconds, is being made into a movie in the U.S. Hmm.
Deborah Orr of The Guardian asks “Can Scandinavian Crime Fiction Teach Socialism?” wondering if crime fiction starting with Sjowall and Wahloo up to the television drama The Killing illustrates the contradictions between authoritarian purists and social liberals and the difficulty of political compromise. One commenter responds, “Another in the long list of Guardian Headlines Phrased As A Question To Which The Answer Is ‘No’.”
On to reviews:
In the New York Times, Marilyn Stasio gives Liza Marklund’s Red Wolf a thumbs-up, but mistakenly thinks it’s the first book in the series to be translated into English.
At Euro Crime Maxine Clarke recommends Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder as a complex portrait of a cold and rather bleak part of Sweden. Though it may be short of hairpin twists and surprises, it succeeds at presenting “a portrait of a region and its inhabitants, and to look at cause and effect from many different perspectives”
Keishon reviews Jo Nesbo’s The Devil’s Star, which she finds a good addition to the Harry Hole series. She writes,
Two things (out of many others) that Nesbø is good at is misdirection and tight plotting. He’s really good at developing his characters no matter how small their roles are in the story. He throws red herrings all over the place. He loves to set up his scenes that lead to some revelation or surprise, leaving you at the edge of your seat and then he abruptly switches the scene to something else. I LOVE THAT even though it can get frustrating.
To which all I can say is ME TOO! In all-caps enthusiasm.
The Independent thinks the Danish crime drama, The Killing, is a compelling and complex story of crime.
And also in the Independent – a thoughtful and appreciative review of Leif Persson’s Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End by Barry Forshaw who ends with this excellent summation:
But how responsibly does the author deal with the central crime? In some ways, this is the real achievement of the book. Underneath the dense layers of corruption and maladroit administration, we are given a rich and sobering picture of the Swedish psyche, which has still not come to terms with the death of a politician – and of a dream. Those who feel that crime fiction can tackle truly serious issues should pay attention to Persson’s magnum opus. They may tussle with the 500-odd pages, but they will end up hungry for later volumes of this ambitious trilogy.