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 Wolf And The Watchman: a Scandi stunner

Historical crime fiction novels typically lean towards the gentler end of the murder / mystery / suspense spectrum. Not this one. It is every bit as grim and grisly as a contemporary noir novel, and reveals characters as morally corrupt and callously cruel as any modern serial-killer thriller. But there’s much more to this gory…

Red Snow: a complex chiller

Like the very best Nordic noir, Red Snow conveys an eerie sense of place, of the suffocating claustrophobia endured by the inhabitants of a small Swedish town in frozen February. And like the very best crime fiction, the story in Red Snow centres on a remarkable protagonist, a touchstone for her time. Tuva Moodyson is…

Dark Pines: Nordic noir for the newcomer

Traditional Nordic noir isn’t to everyone’s tastes. It can be oblique as well as beautiful, taking subtle understatement to the brink of a stilted stall. The bitter chill of a Scandinavian winter can be brittle and unwelcoming – not only to the characters, but to a new reader who might struggle to engage with the…

Watching You: a masterclass of misdirection

In Watching You, one of the Nordic nations’ premier crime writers delivers a masterclass of misdirection and suspense. Arne Dahl – or Jan Arnald, if you prefer his other pen-name – kicks off what appears to be a standard Scandi crime police procedural with a stand-out, set piece action sequence which simultaneously curls your toes…

Wallander: Branagh’s farewell

This final set of three 90 minutes films are the hardest of the English-language interpretation to appreciate. Kurt Wallander has been brought to the screen by three different actors. If you prefer either of the Scandinavian versions to Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of the Swedish detective then you definitely won’t enjoy this one. If, however, you’re a fan…