two reviews – and a contest (!!!!!)

Glenn Harper of International Crime Fiction reviews Johann Theorin’s second book, The Darkest Room, which follows on his debut,  Echoes from the Dead, and won the Glass Key award. Deservingly, it sounds, based on his assessment. It’s a complex story with elements of folklore/ghost stories, mystery, and thriller with mulitple characters and some historical vignettes.

The novel is interesting from the beginning, naturalistic but spooky as well as well written, but as the threads of the tale begin to converge, along with the Christmas blizzard of the original Swedish title, the pace picks up to that of a thriller (and the translator, Marlaine Delargy, deserves a lot of credit for maintaining that pace in lucid English)—you’ll find yourself ripping through the almost 400 pages . . . And where a number of Scandinavian novels have dealt with the new immigtion problems, Theorin looks toward a different kind of “intruder” into the calm, uniform surface of Swedish life: the continuing presence of those who are gone but not quite forgotten.

Sounds excellent. I’m impatient to read it.

Dorte reviews Karin Fossum’s The Water’s Edge, saying “This thriller is two stories in one: the solution of the crime, but also the story about the ripples which are caused by little Jonas´ death: the reactions of his relatives, friends and the couple who found him.” I agree – and this is typical of Fossum, it’s all about the people around the crime and how they are implicated or are affected. I thought very highly of this book.

win this book!

win this book!

And finally –


Knopf, Stieg Larsson’s US publisher, may have made us wait too long to get our hands on the books that everyone else in the world has already read, but they have been kind enough to send me a copy of The Girl Who Played With Fire, which I reviewed here earlier. (And no, I’m not palming you off with a used copy; this is a pristine copy that has never been read.) If you would like to put your name in the hat, send an e-mail message to fister @ with the subject line CONTEST. In the message, please answer this question: Which international (non-US) crime fiction author do you think deserves a wider audience – and why? Be sure also to include your name and mailing address. I’ll put all the names in a hat and draw one winner. And if you don’t mind, I will also post a list of some of your responses so that all of us can discover yet more books to read. You know how terrified we are that we might run out.

I’m afraid I’m going to limit this contest to people living in the Western hemisphere – US, Canada, Mexico, and points south (at least until you bump into Antarctica). I would normally be open to a world-wide competition, but hey, we were the last kids on the block to get this translation, so nanner nanner nanner.

Update: I forgot to mention, I will not keep your addresses after the drawing, and I won’t use them for any other purpose.