Ever since Stieg Larsson brought Lisbeth Salander to international prominence with his Millennium series – better known as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – other Scandinavian authors have been enjoying an international audience as well.
What defines Nordic Noir? The setting is usually cold, dark, and bleak. The hero/detective (women and men) are generally very analytical, deep, and brooding. The murderer or perpetrators are psychopathic, misanthropic, and brutal. The pace is quick but often the follows the routine and methodical work of the detective. The general tone is realistic – no sweeping prose or giant metaphors, but the story tends to put a lens on corruption within government and society.
Some recommended authors:
Jo Nesbo (Norwegian) probably the best known after Steig Larsson. The main character of his most popular series, Harry Hole, tracks gangsters, serial killers, organized crime, among other things. His main work takes place in Norway but he is known to track his perpetrators around the world. (Norway)
Jussi Alder-Olson (Danish) is best known to English readers for his Department Q series. Department Q is a department of one, the singular and guilt ridden Carl Mork who in the first of the series sets about looking into seeming irrelevant cold cases.
Henning Mankell (Swedish) not only has success as a crime novelist but his character Kurt Wallander has been made into a popular UK television series for BBC.
James Thompson (Finnish/American) lived and started his writing career in Finland. Kari Vaari is a homicide detective in Helsinki, Finland who runs across Finland’s own peculiar brand of murder mixed with racism, prostitution, and other international crime.
These are just a few of the many authors who write in this genre. Check out the April Nordic Noir display in the Adult Fiction area and try a new title that gives an extra chill to thriller genre.