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Showing posts tagged: Nordic Invasion click to see more stuff tagged with Nordic Invasion
Aug 5 2017 10:00am

Jorn Lier Horst Excerpt: Ordeal

Jorn Lier Horst

Ordeal by Jorn Lier HorsTense and suspenseful, the only reason to stop racing through the pages of Jorn Lier Horst's Ordeal will be to pause for a quick glance over your shoulder (available August 8, 2017).

Frank Mandt died after a fall down his basement steps, the same basement that holds a locked safe bolted to the floor. His granddaughter, Sofie Lund, inherits the house but wants nothing to do with his money. She believes the old man let her mother die in jail and is bitterly resentful.

Line Wisting’s journalist instincts lead her into friendship with Sofie, and Line is with her when the safe is opened. What they discover unlocks another case and leads Chief Inspector William Wisting on a trial of murder to an ordeal that will eventually separate the innocent from the damned.

[Read an excerpt from Ordeal...]

Feb 8 2017 12:00pm

Into Oblivion: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Into Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason is an Icelandic thriller and the 11th of the Inspector Erlendur series, following newly promoted Detective Erlendur as he deals with a litany of cases in this small, remote country. (Now available in paperback!)

A woman swims in a remote, milky-blue lagoon. Steam rises from the water and as it clears, a body is revealed in the ghostly light. Miles away, a vast aircraft hangar rises behind the perimeter fence of the US military base. A sickening thud is heard as a man's body falls from a high platform.

Many years before, a schoolgirl went missing. The world has forgotten her. But Erlendur has not. Erlendur is a newly promoted detective with a battered body, a rogue CIA operative, and America's troublesome presence in Iceland to contend with. In his spare time he investigates a cold case. He is only starting out, but he is already up to his neck.

[Read an excerpt from Into Oblivion...]

Dec 8 2016 4:00pm

Murder, Mystery, and Scandinavia: The Perfect Combination

If you like the setting of your murder mysteries to take place in a cold, snowy climate, you’re not alone. The newest and bloodiest murder mysteries now seem to take place in Scandinavia. There’s something about murder, mystery, and the bitter cold that seem to go together, and it seems that readers have been entertained by them for years.

The first tastes of “murder in the cold” were not centered in Scandinavia at all, but in Canada. King of the Royal Mounties by Zane Grey and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon by Fran Striker not only paid homage to the brave officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but also took pleasure in the descriptions of the snow and cold where they work. But those thrillers were mild.

[Find out more about Scandinavian thriller!]

Nov 17 2016 4:00pm

It’s All About the Story

As with many other crime novels, my books are a mirror of the world and the society I live in. Swedish crime fiction often explores very dark themes and is greatly concerned with social issues and the problems of living here. Readers obviously feel a fascination with what we might call “Nordic melancholy,” concocted from winter darkness, cold weather, and isolated landscapes. And I do think that my books fit into this tradition. I am aware that readers in other countries have a romantic idea of Sweden as the best place to live, and I think it can be quite shocking to learn about Sweden as a society where violence, corruption, and murder actually exists.

My motivation as a writer is to try and understand why people turn to crime. Our personalities are formed by a complex interaction between genes and environment, and when I started writing Marked for Life, I knew that I wanted to write about a woman that was forced by others to be someone she wasn't born to be.

A good story is not always about how a victim is murdered; it is the characters and the interaction between characters you remember. In my debut novel Marked for Life, I wanted to write about a woman that should be odd. But I did not know how odd she was about to be until I read an article about child soldiers.

[Read more from Sweden's 2016 Crime Writer of the Year!]

Sep 1 2016 12:00pm

Review: Hell Fire by Karin Fossum

Hell Fire by Karin Fossum is the 12th Inspector Sejer Mystery, following the murder of a mother and her son and the masterfully intertwined parallel story of a separate mother/son relationship.

This was my first time reading an Inspector Sejer Mystery. I’m normally not one to jump into a series midway, but I held my breath and tested the waters. And, I’m glad I did.

Hell Fire is 12th installment of the aforementioned Inspector Sejer series. Author Karin Fossum carries the title of “Norwegian Queen of Crime,” and it’s not hard to see why. This story refused to be put down until it was finished. I started it before bed on a Friday night and found myself on the last page a little after midnight. I had to know how it was going to turn out. Fossum has a genius way of baiting the hook and steadily reeling the reader in, and she does this with amazing ease.

I was a little hesitant when I saw that this book was about the murder of a woman and her child. I’m a mother of three and don’t normally read stories with a premise such as this, but the more I read about the series and Fossum herself, the easier the decision was to take a step out of my comfort zone and give it a try. I really didn’t know what to expect—if I would be able to finish it or not. I was truly surprised by how much I was pulled into the story and how fast I had it read.

[Read Amber Keller's review of Hell Fire...]

Feb 18 2016 2:00pm

Now Win This!: Blood for Blood Sweepstakes

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Blood for Blood and a chance to win 9 books for you!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins February 18, 2016, at 1:00 pm ET, and ends March 3, 2016, 12:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Livin' in exile until I spit my last breath...]

Feb 15 2016 11:00am

The Blood Strand: Exclusive Excerpt

Chris Ould

The Blood Strand by Chris Ould is a new Nordic thriller in the Føroyar series featuring Detective Jan Reyna as he returns to the islands he left as a child to try and solve a mystery involving his estranged father (Available February 16, 2016).

Having left the Faroes as a child, Jan Reyna is now a British police detective, and the islands are foreign to him. But he is drawn back when his estranged father is found unconscious with a shotgun by his side and someone else’s blood at the scene. Then a man’s body is washed up on an isolated beach. Is Reyna’s father responsible?

Looking for answers, Reyna falls in with local detective Hjalti Hentze. But as the stakes get higher and Reyna learns more about his family and the truth behind his mother’s flight from the Faroes, he must decide whether to stay, or to forsake the strange, windswept islands for good.

Chapter 6

I STOOD WITH MY BACK TO THE WIND AS IT BUFFETED ITS WAY in through the inlet behind me. The narrow passage between the rock faces was the only break in the encircling mountain-sides, towering so far above that it felt more like being at the bottom of a chasm, instead of standing at sea level.

This well of a cove was perhaps a quarter of a mile across: a vast natural amphitheatre holding a lagoon of brown-tinged water, rippled and stirred by the gusting wind. The water lapped at the margin of the grey-black sand bar where I stood but it was impossible to guess how deep it might be further out: maybe shallow enough to wade through, or perhaps abyssally deep. And somehow this uncertainty only served to reinforce the sense of foreboding the place seemed to have, at least to me. It felt like a trap, for air and water and space. And for dead bodies. It was halfway to the underworld already.

Twenty yards away from me Hjalti Hentze was taking photographs of the body while the two uniformed officers looked on, sipping the coffee and eating the sandwiches sent down for them. They were a stoical pair, but given that they’d already been here for over an hour there wasn’t much left to be excited about, and it wasn’t going to be their case anyway.

[Read more of The Blood Strand here...]

Jul 14 2015 11:15am

Fresh Meat: Open Grave by Kjell Eriksson

Open Grave by Kjell Eriksson is the 6th Nordic mystery featuring Police Inspector Ann Lindell where a Nobel Prize winner is greeted with jealousy and violence (available July 14, 2015).

I don’t have a great deal of experience with Scandinavian authors. I have read the Stieg Larsson novels. And I’ve read a couple books by Icelandic author, Arnaldur Indridason, but that’s about it. Still, I knew that the pace and plotting would be different than American novels. More leisurely. Seemingly more relaxed.

In American mystery novels, the protagonist is usually introduced on the first page. At least by the second chapter. I forgot that this is the sixth book in the Ann Lindell mystery series until page 111, which is where she shows up for the first time. Did the story suffer for the delay? I didn’t think so. She’s an interesting and complicated character, but so was everyone else. Lindell adds an interesting layer, though.

Agnes rounded the table, opened a drawer, and took out a plastic bag which she gave to Lindell.

“You probably know that Viola is not well,” Agnes said suddenly, when Lindell was standing with her hand on the doorknob.

She stared at Agnes.

“How did you know—”

“My sister Greta keeps track of everything,” Agnes explained.

“You knew that I—”

“You’re the police officer from Uppsala who associated with Edvard, yes. I recognized your name. I’ve known Viola my whole life. I’ve met Edvard too. A good person.”

Lindell bowed her head and got an impulse to hide her face with the plastic bag.

[Don't expect to discover the body right away...]

Apr 20 2015 2:30pm

One of Us: New Excerpt

Åsne Seierstad

One of Us by Åsne Seierstad is a true crime account of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian man who would go on a terrifying massacre that shook the country to its core (available April 21, 2015).

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb outside the Norwegian prime minister's office in central Oslo, killing eight people. He then proceeded to a youth camp on the wooded island of Utøya, where he killed sixty-nine more, most of them teenage members of the country's governing Labour Party. In One of Us, the journalist Åsne Seierstad tells the story of this terrible day and its reverberations. How did Breivik, a gifted child from an affluent neighborhood in Oslo, become Europe's most reviled terrorist? How did he accomplish an astonishing one-man murder spree? And how did a famously peaceful and prosperous country cope with the slaughter of so many of its young?


She ran.

Up the hill, through the moss. Her wellingtons sank into the wet earth. The forest floor squelched beneath her feet.

She had seen it.

She had seen him fire and a boy fall.

[Continue reading One of Us by Asne Seierstad...]

Apr 17 2015 10:00am

Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason is a prequel set in the 1960s about the up-and-coming Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson (available April 21,2015).

The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband … And an unexplained death.

When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found drowned in a ditch, no one seems to care. But his fate haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange and dark underworld of the city.


There was a green anorak in the water. When prodded, it stirred, turned a slow half circle and sank from view. The boys fished at it with their poles until it floated up to the surface again, then recoiled in horror when they saw what lay beneath.

The three friends lived on Hvassaleiti, in the residential blocks lined up along busy Miklabraut all the way down to the expanse of waste-ground known as Kringlumýri. To the north the waste-ground was overgrown with nettles and angelica; to the south lay a large area of open diggings, deep gashes in the earth, where the inhabitants of Reykjavík had excavated peat by the ton to heat their houses during the First World War when fuel was in short supply. They had drained and laid tracks across the marshy ground before embarking on the largest scale peat extraction in the history of the city. Hundreds of men had been employed in cutting, drying and transporting it to the city in wagons.

[Continue reading Reykjavik Nights now!]

Feb 10 2015 12:15pm

Dreamless: New Excerpt

Jørgen Brekke

Dreamless by Jorgen Brekke is the 2nd Nordic thriller in the Chief Inspector Odd Singsaker series (available February 10, 2015). 

A promising young singer is found dead in a clearing in a forest, gruesomely murdered—her larynx cut out, and an antique music box placed carefully atop her body, playing a mysterious lullaby that sounds familiar, but that no one can quite place. Chief Inspector Odd Singsaker, of the Trondheim Police Department, still recovering from brain surgery, is called in to investigate.

Singsaker, now married to Felicia Stone, the American detective he met while tracking down a serial killer, fears the worst when another young girl, also known for her melodic singing voice, suddenly goes missing while on a walk with her dog one night. As the Trondheim police follow the trail of this deadly killer, it becomes clear that both cases are somehow connected to a centuries-old ballad called “The Golden Peace,” written by a mysterious composer called Jon Blund, in the seventeenth century. This lullaby promises the most sound, sweet sleep to the listener—and as time ticks by, the elusive killer seems as if he will stop at nothing to get his hands on this perfect lullaby.


A fly balanced on the edge of the blade, its wings tucked in.

How did it do that?

If he turned the ax and brought it down on the chopping block, he’d cleave the insect in two. If it stayed there, of course. But they never did, those flies. They didn’t stay in one place. Not like he did. Sitting at the piano every day, his father standing behind him, holding a stick that he’d been given by a conductor who was more famous than he was. The stick stung the boy’s fingers.

[Continue reading Dreamless by Jorgen Brekke...]

Aug 24 2014 12:00pm

Strange Shores: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason is the 9th procedural in the Inspector Erlendur series set amidst the frozen tundra of Iceland (available August 26, 2014).

A young woman disappears from the frozen fjords of Iceland. In her wake, this woman has left a tempest of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for the missing woman but also for his long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snowstorm when they were children has coloured his entire life. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realizes that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.


He no longer feels cold: instead, a curious heat is spreading through his veins. He had thought there was no warmth left in his body but now it is flooding into his limbs, bringing a sudden flush to his face.

[Continue reading Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason...]

Jan 21 2014 11:15am

Fresh Meat: Bad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus

Bad Wolf by Nele NeuhausBad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus is the second translated novel in the Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein detective series (available January 21, 2014).

Nele Neuhaus knows how to kickstart a story. The first chapter of Bad Wolf, the second novel in her series about detectives Pia Kirchoff and Oliver von Bordenstein, opens with a sweaty fry cook showering off the stink of rancid oil and grilled meat in the cramped shower of his trailer’s bathroom and then strapping on a watch that cost him 11,000 Deutsche Marks—the last reminder he has of a previous, more prosperous life. Who is this man and what caused his disgrace and how is he connected to the body of the young woman the police are calling “the Mermaid” after fishing her lifeless body out of a river? For some writers, answering those questions would be mystery enough for a single novel, the plot here is composed of a lot of different moving parts, and the writer takes time to set all these pieces in motion before pulling back to allow us to see the whole, beautifully crafted mechanism.

And lurking inside the mechanism are the wolves.

[We don't think we like the way that sounds...]

Sep 30 2013 2:00pm

Fresh Meat: Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist is a horrifying and chilling short fiction anthology, translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg (available October 1, 2013).

Before I started this collection, John Ajvide Lindqvist was a writer I knew only through acquaintance with the 2008 vampire film Let the Right One In.  The movie, adapted from his novel of the same name, impressed me a lot. It has a gritty, realistic feel, despite its supernatural elements, and it uses the horror genre both to deliver gory shocks and to develop sympathetic characters. If the book is anything like the movie, I thought when I saw it, this writer is damn good.

Suspicion confirmed. Let the Old Dreams Die is a collection of twelve stories by Lindqvist, and all the strengths that were apparent in his vampire story are on hand here.

Everything for him begins with intriguing characters. In the first tale, “The Border,” a female customs officer named Tina has a sixth sense that makes her great at her job. She can feel it in her bones when people are hiding things.  Despite her professional renown, she's a lonely person in a drab relationship— that is, until she meets a man passing through customs who upends her entire existence. This is a story that goes in a direction I didn't anticipate at all, and as it unfolds, connecting Tina's abilities to Nature, I was reminded of the classic British horror writer Arthur Machen (best known for his novella The Great God Pan). There is also a sexual component to the story that would make Clive Barker proud. It's not that the sex is especially graphic, but it is about how the needs of the body lead to unexpected transformation. “The Border” has a premise poised on the cusp of absurdity, but the richness of Tina as a person, the way you root for her as she struggles, make this story engrossing.

[We're engrossed too!...]

Sep 15 2013 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Black Skies by Arnaldur Indridason

Black Skies by Arnaldur IndridasonBlack Skies by Arnaldur Indridason, translated by Victoria Cribb, is the eighth in the Inspector Erlandur procedural series set in Iceland (available September 17, 2013).

Sigurdur Óli is a policeman with a lot of problems. The personal ones pile up with a bleakness and harshness which easily match the tough Icelandic backdrop of Arnaldur Indridason’s latest thriller.

Looking discontentedly around the group, he wondered if he had achieved the least of all of them since leaving school. It was the kind of thought that preyed on him whenever he bothered to attend these reunions. The gathering included other lawyers like Guffi, as well as engineers, two vicars, three doctors who had completed lengthy training as specialists, and even an author. Sigurdur Óli had never read any of his stuff but they made a fuss of him in literary circles for his distinctive style that bordered on the ‘irrational’, in the jargon of the latest pseudo-intellectual school of criticism. When Sigurdur Óli compared himself to his former classmates–his life in the force, the sort of investigations he was involved in, his colleagues Erlendur and Elínborg, and all the human dross he was forced to deal with every day–he could find little reason to be cheerful.

Vengeance hangs heavy in the air as a man with demons stalks his intended victim.

[Even less reason to be cheerful...]

Sep 12 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: Strange Bird by Anna Jansson

Strange Bird by Anna JanssonStrange Bird by Anna Jansson, set in Sweden on the island of Gotland, is Book One of the fourteen books in the Maria Wern series, translated into English by Paul Norlen (available September 17, 2013.)

Something deadly has landed on Gotland. Ruben Nilsson raises homing pigeons and has been preparing for an upcoming race when he discovers that a new pigeon has flown into his dovecote, a “sturdy, light brown speckled bird with a white head.... A truly powerful bird, although a bit worn out after the flight. Marked with a metal ring around the foot. A foreigner—in Sweden, the pigeons have plastic rings. A flying tourist on a visit?”

Nilsson believes the bird, which comes from Biaroza in Belarus, will prove to be a prize worthy treasure. Instead, like a Trojan Horse, it carries inside it a means of killing thousands. The foreign bird is the source of a deadly flu, which soon turns into a pandemic; deaths begin to mount, and panic spreads among the Island’s inhabitants.

A dead man is discovered on an abandoned farm. The man, who has no identity papers, has been murdered. An empty birdcage is found in his car. Detective Inspector Maria Wern is assigned to the case and soon learns that there is a link between the dead man and the pandemic.

[If the murder dosen't get you, the flu definitely will...]

Jun 11 2013 9:30am

The Hanging: New Excerpt

Lotte Hammer and Soren Hammer

The Hanging by Lotte & Soren HammerThe Hanging by Lotte & Soren Hammer is the U.S. debut of this Danish brother/sister writing team. (available June 11, 2013).

One morning before school, two children find the naked bodies of five men hanging from the gym ceiling. The case leads detective Konrad Simonsen and his murder squad to the school janitor, who may know more about the killings than he is telling. Soon, Simonsen realizes that each of the five murdered men had a dark and terrible secret in common. And when Simonsen’s own daughter is targeted, he must race to find the culprit before his whole world is destroyed.

Published in twenty countries around the world, with more than 150,000 copies sold in Denmark alone, this book introduces a brother and sister duo who have taken the thriller world by storm. Fast-paced, suspenseful, and brilliantly written, The Hanging is a stunning crime novel from Lotte and Soren Hammer, two Danish authors whose international fame is exploding.

Chapter 1

Monday morning, fog rolled in over the land in white woolly waves. The two children could hardly see a meter ahead of them as they crossed onto the school grounds. They had to find their way from memory and soon their steps became hesitant and searching. The boy was slightly behind the girl, his school bag in his arms. All of a sudden he stopped.

“Don’t go on without me.”

[Continue on to read the full excerpt of The Hanging]

May 12 2013 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Healer by Antti Tuomainen

The Healer by Antti TuomainenThe Healer by Antti Tuomainen is a novel of dystopian, futuristic Nordic noir (available May 14, 2013).

Tapani Lehtinen’s wife, Johanna is missing. She’s a reporter and routinely goes out on assignment for days at a time, but always checks in with her husband, and it’s been twenty-four hours since he’s heard from her. After visiting her editor and expressing his concerns, the editor reluctantly tells him that she’s been working on a story about The Healer, a killer who’s been targeting families of high powered men involved in the seeming destruction of the environment, thus being part of the cause of the deteriorating climate of Helsinki and the surrounding areas. The editor is dubious that something bad has happened to Johanna, but seems to soften a bit when Tapani explains the nature of their relationship.

[The heat is on in Helsinki...]

Mar 21 2013 12:00pm

Helsinki Blood: New Excerpt

James Thompson

Helsinki Blood by James ThompsonAn excerpt of Helsinki Blood by James Thompson, the fourth book in the Inspector Kari Vaara thriller series (available March 21, 2013).

A missing woman too unimportant to raise alarms . . . criminal masterminds too powerful to pursue. And when the system fails, Inspector Kari Vaara must dispense his own brand of justice.

Kari Vaara is recovering from the physical and emotional toll of solving the Lisbet Söderlund case when he’s approached with a plea: an Estonian woman begs him to find her daughter, Loviise, a young woman with Down syndrome who was promised work and a better life in Finland . . . and has since disappeared.

One more missing girl is a drop in the barrel for a police department that is understaffed and overburdened, but for Kari, the case is personal: it’s a chance for redemption, to help the victims his failed black-ops unit was intended to save, and to prove to his estranged wife, Kate, that he’s still the man he once was. His search will lead him from the glittering world of Helsinki’s high-class clubs to the darkest circles of Finland’s underground trade in trafficked women . . . and straight into the path of Loviise’s captors, who may be some of the most untouchable people in the country.

As Kari works his new case, a past one comes back to haunt him when powerful enemies return to settle unfinished business. In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, he is propelled toward a reckoning in which the stakes are life or death . . . and only the victors will be left standing.

Chapter 1

June had come to an end. I seldom went out, mostly because mobility was so difficult, but it had been such a bad day— Kate had been gone for around two weeks. I was depressed and in awful pain— that I thought fresh air and sunshine might be good for me, help me gain some perspective. Mental health care workers often recommend just getting out and about to raise spirits. Dumbfucks.

[Read the full excerpt of Helsinki Blood by James Thompson]

Feb 18 2013 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Killer’s Art by Mari Jungstedt

Killer’s Art by Mari Jungstedt is the latest U.S. release in the Swedish crime series featuring police inspector Anders Knutas and TV journalist Johan Berg (available February 25, 2013).

On a cold Sunday morning, a man is found hanged on the old city wall that surrounds Visby, the capital of Gotland, an island off Sweden’s east coast. The victim is well-known art gallery owner, Egon Wallin and the crime sends a chill throughout the area. Days later, a famous painting is stolen in Stockholm and disturbing links to Wallin’s murder start to surface, bringing police inspector Anders Knutas and TV journalist Johan Berg into the picture—working against time, and sometimes against each other, to find the killer.

You can understand why Mari Jungstedt’s novels are adapted for Swedish TV. With chapters that typically span three pages at most, they read like a teleplay delivering just the right amount of information scene by scene. I point this out because some readers enjoy this style and others sincerely do not, so it’s worth noting. But I’ll add that in this case the pacing serves the story well, jumping from thought to thought the way a person’s mind naturally does.

One moment Knutas is focusing on a suspect, the next he’s wondering why his second-in-command Karin Jacobsson has such an affinity for the gluttonous Inspector Kihlgård, and the next he’s peeved that Johan Berg has more information about the case than a journalist should.

One moment Johan Berg is coaxing an unsuspecting source into revealing information, the next he’s behaving like a teenager in love and contemplating a lifelong commitment to his partner Emma, and the next he’s plotting a career move.

[So much to think about…]