Monday, 2 April 2012

Books: Scandinavian Crime Thrillers

Millenium+Snowman2


I've got back into the habit of reading regularly and I hope you will forgive me indulging in a bit of book chatter. I mentioned a little while ago that I had started reading the Millennium trilogy. I enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo very much and quickly launched into the other two. I found the series as a whole immensely engaging but the second two aren't quite as fast paced as the first book. I tend to devour books whereas my husband reads at a slower pace, dipping in and out. He's reading them at the moment and has complained of 'nothing happening' whilst reading The Girl Who Played with Fire and I understand what he means but we both agree that it is well written, even in those inbetween bits.

Whilst I raced through the trilogy, I was aware that I was going to struggle to find a book that I would enjoy after such a gripping series. It's rather hard to let a characters like Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander go! Normally when this happens, I opt for a completely different genre to prevent any unfair comparison but I did the complete opposite on this occasion.

Jo Nesbo's The Snowman is proclaimed as 'the next Stieg Larrson' on the cover and indeed, this is another crime thriller written by a Scandinavian author. This would normal put me off but this book was given to me a friend who knows my reading taste very well, so I knew I had to give it chance. I took it along with me to my recent spa day and once I got 30 - 40 pages in, I was gripped.

It's more lightweight than Stieg Larrson and reminds me a little of the Ian Rankin novels in style. I did enjoy a smug moment having correctly identified the serial killer early on in the book. I discovered when I finished the book that The Snowman is the 5th novel in the Harry Hole series (yes, I'm not a fan of the name either). It does work as a stand alone novel so I don't think you need to read them in order but I am considering buying a couple of the earlier books from the series.

I'm undecided on what to read next, I have a little list but I would love some recommendations. Have you any of you read We Need to Talk About Kevin? I have avoided thus far as I am a little fearful that I will be traumatised.

24 comments:

  1. A book I enjoyed reading 2 years ago is The Righteous men by Sam Bourne and another fantastic one is Kryptum by Agustin Sanchez Vidal. I read the girl with the dragon tattoo and I loved it so much I about the other two as well. I only read the second part, it was different. I didn't read the 3rd part of the trilogy as I asked my husband who read it first and from what he told me I don't think I will like it.

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    1. Hi Demi, I do fear that my husband will really not get on with the last one judging by his frustration at the second book. Thank you very much for the recommendations, I have made a note of them both.

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  2. "We need to talk about Kevin" is a masterpiece in my opinion. And, yes, you might be traumatised. It's very intense and quite controversial. I personally loved it but would not necessarily recommend.

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    1. I feel like I might need to build myself up to it. It sounds fascinating but I'm aware I might find it rather upsetting. Thanks for the honest advice Nina x

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  3. I agree it can be so hard to find a new read after finishing something you don't want to end. I love to read, but I find it rare when a book captures me so completely that I can't wait to go to bed at night so I can read it. I also agree with you that the first Stieg Larsson book was the best of the trilogy.

    Have you dipped into the Henning Mankell Kurt Wallander series? I haven't read them all, but I have greatly enjoyed the half dozen or so that I have read. I also like anything by Julian Fellowes. He's quite accomplished as an actor, novelist, film director, and screenwriter (Gosford Park and The Aristocrats miniseries).

    Another book I really enjoyed was The Reconstructionist by Josephine Hart, but I found her other two books (Damage and Sin) extremely dark. In The Reconstructionist, she writes from a man's point of view, which I find unusual.

    Another author I enjoy is Anita Shreeve, particularly The Weight of Water, which describes a murder that took place on an island near where I grew up.

    I also loved The Secret History by Donna Tartt but she wrote only two books, and her second one was a disappointment.

    And, finally, two books that I re-read every 3-5 years or so: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, A Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, and The Magus by John Fowles. ♥

    Anyway, that's all that comes to mind right now. I'm currently into the True Crime genre, and I don't generally recommend that stuff because it's so lurid. ;D

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    1. I'm going to have to look up all of these. I loved The Secret History and I completely agree that the second book was a real disappointment. I'm a fan of Julian Fellowes too, I seem to think he's behind the most recent Titanic series. Thank you so much for all the recommendations, it's hugely appreciated (and is probably my reading material sorted for quite a while :D).

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  4. I think the one stand out book I have read recently is "When God Was A Rabbit" and it is at the top of my recommendation list!

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    1. Oh, I remember you mentioning this one. It sounds rather interesting!

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  5. Another good Swedish crime book is The Hypnotist by Lars Keplar. I also recommend We Need to Talk about Kevin. Another good one Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. I love all of the suggestions!!

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    1. Thank you so much for the recommendations. The Hyponist really grabs me.

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    2. I just wanted to come back and say that after reading the excerpt on Amazon, I ended up buying a Kindle (sending my husband out 10 minutes before the shops shut) just so that I could carry on reading! Thank you so much for the recommendation.

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  6. Jo Nesbo is Norwegian! His books are much much better than the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Stuart MacBride is another great author.

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    1. Thank you Mopsy! I have corrected my error now and you have spared me from further blushes. I've never read any Stuart MacBride so I will investigate.

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  7. More suggestions:

    Camilla Läckberg (swede)
    Jussi Adler Olsen (dane)
    Liza Marklund (swede)

    Lars Kepler is actually a cover for the couple Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (half portuguese/half swede) and Alexander Ahndoril (swede)

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm going to be making a bee-line for the bookshops when I'm on holiday. That's really interesting about the Lars Kepler books, I don't think I've ever read a co-authored book before.

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  8. FragrantWitch2 April 2012 20:44

    Ooh, book chat! I'm currently reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters- I have enjoyed her previous books, particularly Affinity and Fingersmith. I loved the Dragon Tattoo trilogy as well and have recently discovered Camilla Sandberg in the Scandinavian crime genre.
    I would recommend the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke- crime novels with fabulous writing. Evocative, intelligent, often dark but redeeming as well. Highly recommended!
    Also, love the Charlie Parker series from John Connolly (an Irish writer who sets his novels in Maine, USA). They are very dark and noirish but very well written and with a metaphysical bent. Highly recommended as well.
    Books I re- read every couple of years: Focaults Pendulum by Umberto Eco, The Magus by John Fowles, and Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
    Happy reading!

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    1. I'm so excited by all the replies. There have been so many fascinating comments and recommendations. A bit of book chat turned out to be a very good thing. Thank you so much for your suggestions!

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  9. Loved this post and all the excellent comments. Have you tried S J Bolton and Sophie Hannah? both are thriller/detective books. I talked about Sophie's books and also the latest by Stuart McBride on my blog the other day.

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    1. Hey Blighty! I haven't tried either but they definitely sound like my cup of tea. I will go and have a read of your post. I'm so pleased I wrote this post as the book recommendations have been so welcome.

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  10. I'm reading Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton atm - a rather unusual & v gripping thriller. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Afterwards-Rosamund-Lupton/dp/0749942169/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333401536&sr=8-1 Also loved her first book, Sister.

    Nic x

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  11. Read The Shadow of the Wind - you'll love it!

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  12. I really enjoyed A Song Of Ice and Fire series so I don't know if any series will have a chance to catch my attention

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  13. I picked We Need to Talk about Kevin as my choice for a book club about 2 years ago. It was one of the most thought provoking books I've read. Two of the women couldn't finish the book because they found it too disturbing. It's certainly not a light read and I have only recommended it to one other person and she loved it.
    I'm sure you've read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls - it remains a favorite of mine.
    I'm a very big Jodi Picoult fan. Her books make me think. She introduces delicate subject matter from a variety of viewpoints. Her newest may not be her best but it kept me interested throughout.

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    1. I've just finished reading The Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult which I enjoyed very much. I wasn't sure about Lovely Bones, it's strange as I'm quite happy reading gruesome but I actively avoid things that might make me cry! I have never read The Glass Castle before so I will definitely look that up.

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