The Bridge: goes back to the beginning

Before Bron /Broen, there was The Killing. After The Bridge there have been too many Scandi crime dramas to even mention the most memorable ones. But there’s something special about this Nordic noir; it set the standard for what follows. The combination of achingly beautiful visuals; compellingly complicated characters, brutally uncompromising violence and off-kilter, laugh-out-loud…

Rapid Reviews: killers and twists

Bit of a mixed bag this month – several stand-out  thrillers which think wicked and don’t disappoint… and a couple of distinctly duff examples of mainstream mush. A big name on the cover doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to pick up a great book and, just to prove that point, a couple of our faves…

Indie week! Recent releases and recommended reads

Feel like a fresh start? Perhaps you’ve gotten tired of long-running series which seem to go in circles. Maybe you’re so familiar with established authors that you know exactly which rabbit they’re going to pull out of a pork-pie hat. Or perhaps you’ve read enough domestic noir right now, and would like to try a…

The Mist: the last shall be first

In the true tradition of The Bridge, that cornerstone of Nordic noir, the final part of the Hidden Iceland trilogy brilliantly demonstrates that… everything goes back to the beginning. It was a bold choice by author Ragnar Jónasson to tell his story in reverse order, starting with the bitter end of Hulda Hermannsdóttir’s career as…

Dregs: another Scandi detective

William Wisting is the latest Norwegian detective to appear on our TV screens, and if you enjoy this style of calculated and complicated investigation then there’s a series of six books to look forward to. The first, Dregs, is very much cut from the same cloth as Wallander or Beck: this is Scandi crime and…

Unknown Male: Japanese secrets

Japanese noir can be an acquired taste. It’s often stranger than the Scandi stuff: written in stylish prose that contrasts shattering acts of violence and fleeting images of bewildering beauty. It can be subtle to the point of obscurity yet explicit to extremes. This is not a genre for those who flinch easily, and unfamiliar…

The Crow Girl: Scandi s-l-o-w

A great lumbering beast of a book, this one failed to grab me and – unusually – I bailed out after the first instalment (it’s effectively a trilogy in one publication). I found it long-winded, fragmented and unrewarding, veering between explicitly described violence (which I don’t mind so much if it serves a purpose) and…

Criminal Activity: new books and recent releases

Serial killers, cosy crime and Nordic noir: it’s all in our selection of murder and mystery featuring top-flight writers, exciting indie authors and a few new names you should definitely get to know. The action tracks between gritty BritCrime, the Russian mafia, Los Angeles in wartime, a typically English mystery, Weimar Berlin and small-town Sweden.…

Metropolis: a goodbye to Bernie

Long before it was fashionable to write detective fiction set in Nazi Germany, Philip Kerr created his Berlin Noir trilogy. That series established an entire genre and inspired a generation of crime writers to set their stories not in Agatha Christie’s golden age of the English upper class but instead in Berlin’s sleazy backstreets. Unlike…