Scandinavian Mysteries & Thrillers

Adler-Olsen, Jussi, 1950-. The Purity of Vengeance : a Department Q novel. Translated by Martin Aitken. Dutton Adult, 2014. In 1987, Nete Hermansen plans revenge on those who abused her in her youth, including Curt Wad, a charismatic surgeon who was part of a movement to sterilize wayward girls in 1950s Denmark.  

Alvtegen, Karin, 1965-. Shame; translated by Steven T. Murray.  Felony & Mayhem Press, 2005. Four of her books have been translated from Swedish into English: Missing (2000) was awarded the Glass Key, the premier Scandinavian crime-writing award in 2001 and has been made into a TV series,  Betrayal (2003), Shame (2005), Shadow (2007).

Arnaldur Indridason, 1961-. Black Skies. English translation by Victoria Cribb. Minotaur Books, 2013. While Inspector Erlendur is away, Insp. Sigurdur Oli provides the Nordic bleakness and moral ambiguity with a trace of stolid conservatism added to sour the mix. The author is known for his Detective Erlendur series.  Jar City (2000) and Silence of the Grave (2001) won the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. Silence of the Grave also won the CWA Gold Dagger Award (2005) for best crime novel of the year.

Dahl, Kjell Ola, 1958-. The Last Fix. Minotaur Books, 2010. Intense police Inspector Gunnarstranda and his easygoing aide, Frank Frolich, tackle the murder of recovering drug addict, Katrine Bratterud. This is Norwegian Dahl's 3rd crime thriller after The Fourth Man (2007); The Man in the Window (2008).

Edwardson, Åke, 1953-. Room no. 10; translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Simon & Schuster, 2013. A young woman is discovered hanged in a room in a decrepit hotel, and Gothenburg’s Chief Inspector Erik Winter must try to figure out what happened. As Winter looks around, he realizes that he was in the same hotel room many years earlier, when it was the last known location of a woman who subsequently disappeared and was never found. Three time winner of the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' Award.

Eriksson, Kjell, 1953-. The Hand that Trembles; translated by Ebba Segerberg. Minotaur Books, 2011.The 4th novel centered around Detective Ann Lindell of the Uppsala police. Previous titles include Demon of Dakar (2005), The Cruel Stars of the Night (2004) and The Princess of Burundi (2002), winner of the Swedish Crime Academy Award for Best Crime Novel.

Fossum, Karin, 1954-. Eva's Eye; translated translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. Fossum's entertaining first Insp. Konrad Sejer mystery is finally available in English. While walking along the riverbank of an unnamed small town, divorced artist Eva Magnus and her seven-year-old daughter, Emma, spot a dead body floating in the river.

Grebe, Camilla and Åsa Träff.  More Bitter than Death; translated from the Swedish by Tara Chace. Free Press, 2013. In this emotionally devastating second Siri Bergman novel, after Some Kind of Peace (2012), Bergman, a psychologist who works in Stockholm, decides to host a support group for abused woman.

Holt, Anne, 1958-. Death of the Demon; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce. Scribner, c2013. Hanne Wilhelmsen, the Oslo police detective is uncomfortable with her six-month-old promotion to chief inspector. Now faced with the murder of the formidable administrator of a foster children's group home, the detective must also confront her own troubling demons.

Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnete Friis. Death of a Nightingale; Translated from the Danish by Elisabeth Dyssegaard. Soho, c2013. Nina. Natasha. Olga. Three women united by one terrifying secret. But only one of them has killed to keep it.  Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg has been following Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman who has been convicted of the attempted murder of her Danish fiancé. The mystery has long and bloody roots, going back to a terrible famine that devastated Stalinist Ukraine in 1934.

Kazinski, A. J. The Last Good Man; translated from the Danish by Tiina Nunnally. Scribner, 2012. A story based on the Jewish legend about how the world is always protected by 36 people follows the sudden deaths of dozens of humanitarians who each bear a bizarre tattoo and whose untimely ends are investigated by Copenhagen detective Niels Benzon, who would save the remaining protectors. A. J. Kazinski is the pseudonym of Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich.

Kepler, Lars. The Fire Witness; translated from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg. Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013. When a medium contacts the police department with claims about a murder at a rural home for wayward girls, detective Joona Linna investigates bizarre clues only to find himself confronting more violent truths and a figure from his past.

Läckberg, Camilla, 1974-. The Stranger; translated by Steven T. Murray. Pegasus Books, 2013. Detective Patrik Hedström tackles his toughest investigation yet when a string of suspicious deaths points to a potential serial killer who has turned his eye toward Fjallbacka and her dark forests, where two children vanished decades before.

Larsson, Åsa, 1966-. Until Thy Wrath Be Past; translated by Laurie Thompson. Silver Oak, 2011. This is the 4th translated Rebecka Martinson crime novel. Larsson is a tax attorney and writer. Sun Storm (2003) was awarded the Swedish Crime Writers’ Association Prize for best debut novel. The sequel, The Blood Spilt (2004), was chosen as Best Swedish Crime Novel of 2004.The Black Path (2006).

Larsson, Stieg, 1954-2004. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest; translated by Reg Keeland. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Last of the trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008); The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009). Made into films in Sweden and now in Hollywood.

Mankell, Henning, 1948-. The Troubled Man; translated by Laurie Thompson.  Knopf, 2011. In Mankell's 11th novel, Wallander's quest for the truth leads him back to the era of cold war espionage. Mankell (Firewall) deftly interweaves the problems of Swedish society with the personal challenges of one man trying to understand what happened and why.

Marklund, Liza, 1962-. Lifetime; English language translation by Neil Smith. Emily Bestler Books/Atria, 2013. Things aren't going so well for Annika Bengtzon in Marklund's superlative seventh novel featuring the tenacious Stockholm crime reporter (after 2012's Last Will). Marklund is a Swedish journalist and crime writer.

Nesbø, Jo, 1960-. The Redeemer; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. With its shrewdly vertiginous narrative, acid-etched characters, and white-hot pace, The Redeemer is resounding proof of Jo Nesbø's standing as one of the best crime writers of our time.

Nesser, Håkan, 1950-.  Münster's Case: an Inspector Van Veeteren; translated by Laurie Thompson. Pantheon Books, 2012.  The untimely murder of a lottery-winning retiree, whose case was initially closed by the quiet confession of his wife, baffles Detective Münster when a neighbor goes missing and contradictory evidence emerges. Nesser is the only author to have won the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy’s best novel award three times: Borkmann’s Point (1994); Woman with Birthmark (1996); A Rather Different Story (2007). Carambole (1999) received the 1999 Glass Key Award.

Ohlsson, Kristina, 1979-. Silenced. Emily Bestler Books/Atria, 2013 Skillfully crafted and highly suspenseful, Silenced is a gripping thriller, where the demise of one family is mirrored in the general failure of human rights - and where the casualties of one tragedy abuse the victims of another.

Persson, Leif G. W., 1945-. Another Time, Another Life: the story of a crime; translated by Paul Norlen. Pantheon Books, c2011. The second in Persson's trilogy featuring Swedish cop Lars Johansson. The first is Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End. Perrson is a Swedish criminologist and novelist.

Sjöwall, Maj, 1935-. Wahlöö, Per, 1926-1975. The Terrorists: a Martin Beck mystery; translated by Joan Tate. Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2010. The final novel in the Swedish Martin Beck mystery series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahl is a masterful, all consuming tale that rushes toward a thrilling, unexpected climax.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, 1963-. Ashes to Dust: a thriller. St. Martin's Griffin, 2012. Named one of the year's top ten crime books in the UK, this is the 3rd book featuring attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. (My Soul to Take, 2006; Last Rituals, 2005). Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic writer of crime-novels and children's fiction. 

Söderberg, Alexander. The Andalucian Friend. Crown, c2013. Soderberg's excellent debut, the first in a projected trilogy, chronicles a global turf war among Spanish drug runners, German gangsters, Russian hit men, and Swedish cops.

Theorin, Johan, 1963-.The Darkest Room; translated by Marlaine Delargy. Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2009. The Darkest Room was voted the Best Swedish Crime Novel of 2008; won the Glass Key award in 2009; the 2010 CWA International Dagger. Echoes from the Dead, 2007; The Quarry, 2011. The books form three quarters of a loose quartet of novels set on the island of Öland. Theorin is a Swedish journalist and author.

Thompson, James,1964-. Helsinki White. G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2012. Racial hatred drives Thompson's explosive third thriller featuring Insp. Kari Vaara. An American by birth, James Thompson is a popular writer of Nordic noir. Snow Angel, 2010; Lucifer’s Tears, 2011.

Tursten, Helene,1954-. The Golden Calf; translation by Laura A. Wideburg. Soho Crime, 2013. The murder of Kjell B:son Ceder, the so-called restaurant king of Goteborg, kicks off Tursten's complex and compelling fifth Det. Insp. Irene Huss investigation to be published in the U.S. (after 2012's Night Rounds). Tursten is a popular Swedish author of crime fiction.

December 2013  CMC

Scandinavian Mysteries & Thrillers
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