The Kingdom: blood (soaked) brothers

A standalone Scandi thriller from accomplished author Jo Nesbø is normally something to be savoured. His earlier Headhunters is one of my all-time favourite crime novels, so I had high hopes for this new tale of Norwegian intrigue. And in many ways it’s every bit as carefully crafted as you’d expect – yet I struggled…

Crime Time: recent releases and the best new books

The days are getting shorter and autumn’s storms have started to arrive. Time to settle down with a gripping thriller and ignore what’s going on in the world outside. This time we have two top-notch Scandi crime novels from best-selling Nordic noir authors; an historic spy story set in WW2; the Lincoln Lawyer’s most important…

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…

Cold Malice: a mature Icelandic saga

This series of Icelandic investigations has reached that ‘mature’ stage in its evolution – the point where regular readers are intimately acquainted with the core characters and eagerly anticipate catching up with them in a new instalment. Officer Gunnhildur’s fans definitely won’t be disappointed this time around. After an atypical assignment in the preceding book,…

Cold Malice: sneak preview!

There’s a new Icelandic murder mystery out this week – in which one man comes back from the dead, a dead man reveals the truth about a suspicious accident, and a spur of the moment act of revenge has unforeseen consequences. Officer Gunnhildur returns to piece together this peculiar puzzle, never pulling her punches or…

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…

Movie Monday: big names in B-movies

There’s a treasure trove of crime and thriller films lurking online – often buried in the backlists on the big streaming services. We found half a dozen A-list actors running the gauntlet in four unusually offbeat flicks, taking inspiration from across the crime genre. So read on for Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman (channelling Robert de…

Victim 2117: Scandi crime on the world stage

After the simply brilliant events of the previous Dept Q Scandi thriller (The Scarred Woman), I was a mite dubious that this long-running series could sustain its momentum with another five-star yarn. Oh, me of little faith. Once author Olsen sets the scene, he lets loose a monstrous snowball of a plot that becomes an…

Black River: that difficult second album

It’s a total cliché that the sequel to an astonishing debut is often disappointing. Author Will Dean deftly sidestepped that situation with his Tuva Moodyson series; the second book (Red Snow) was every bit as good as the first (Dark Pines). But this third venture into the depth of the northern Swedish forest doesn’t quite…

Best Crime Books 2019

The books we’ve read in the past 12 months have been packed with murder and mayhem, crime and punishment, despair and redemption – the very essence of the human condition, boiled down to brilliant crime-thriller fiction. We read more than 200 mystery and thriller books in 2019, from literary fiction by big-name bestsellers to dazzling…