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…

The Girl Without Skin: ‘Greenland grim’

This book could be the start of a whole new crime genre – something like Nordic noir, with all of its gritty realism and cultural quirks: let’s call it Greenland Grim. In this new thriller you can almost feel the bitter Arctic chill streaming from its pages. The mystery begins in Greenland’s urban centre, Nuuk,…

Motive X: a mid-season Scandi thriller

Motive X is most definitely a story which starts in the middle. Amid the multiple plotlines there lurks a self-contained mystery of grisly killings, but that plot is almost overwhelmed by the series’ ongoing themes: the catastrophic domestic situation of police detective Fabian Risk and his dysfunctional family; the catastrophic personal life of his boss…

Devil’s Fjord: new Nordic noir

Once Norwegian, now a self-governing Danish province, the remote Faroe Islands form an isolated community with its own, unique culture. The perfect setting for a new thriller, which seems to be targeted more at crime enthusiasts who enjoy Shetland mysteries rather than readers who typically enjoy translated books from Scandinavian authors. Devil’s Fjord is written…

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.…

Eighteen Below: a twist at every turn

Although it’s set in Sweden, this ripping thriller has more in common with mainstream American crime-fiction than the typical thoughtful, slow-burn Scandi crime. It’s all about the action and less about atmosphere – a fast-paced ensemble investigation, not a moody, windswept sonnet to the isolated solitude of the Nordic spirit. It’s certainly a lot more…

The Island: isolation and intrigue

In a minor masterstroke, Icelandic author Ragnar Jónasson is telling his ‘Hidden Iceland’ series in reverse order. That’s not obvious when you read the first book to feature detective Hulda Hermannsdottir, The Darkness, which gets the ball rolling in the twilight of her career. But then all becomes obvious with The Island, set fifteen years…