Annika Stranded: bite-size Scandi crime

This top-quality series of short crime dramas started life as 15-minute audio episodes, starring the excellent actor Nicola Walker as Annika herself, a quirky, quick-witted Norwegian detective on the Oslo boat patrol. The series is now being filmed for TV, translated not just in format but also in location as it’ll now be based in…

Where Ravens Roost

When animals appear in a book’s title they are frequently more metaphorical than physical, but these menacing black beasts play an important part of the story in this character-driven slow-burn Swedish mystery. These ravens are pets – of a kind – kept by the father of police detective Kjeld Nygaard. Their apparently aggressive inclinations, savagely…

Lazarus: doubly deadly and back from the dead…

It’s the old battle of wits between a discredited investigator and his ultimate enemy: an intelligent, ruthless and unpredictable sociopath who doesn’t stop at mere murder. Instead he destroys his victim’s lives: literally buries their loved ones and watches with clinical fascination as his opponents attempt to out-manoeuvre him. It’s hard to imagine that anyone…

The Inner Darkness: a manhunt mystery

The Wisting series of Scandi crime stories have become as comfortable as a snuggly sofa next to a roaring fire on a chilly winter afternoon. Although the cover blurb does its best to sell this carefully constructed mystery as a ‘pulse-pounding thriller’ it has far more in common with Wallander or Varg Veum than Harry…

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…

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…

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…