Beyond Salander, Wallander and Hole

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When Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander burst onto the international scene with her dragon tattoo and spiked dog collar, millions of Americans were introduced for the first time to Scandinavian crime fiction. We discovered tortured, tormented dectectives like Kurt Wallander and Harry Hole, sprung from the imaginations of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbø, who were already bestselling, critically acclaimed authors in their own countries. We were intrigued by tales of Nordic life that didn’t portray preternaturally happy people traipsing through a perpetual winter wonderland. Instead, we found layered, gritty stories depicting real people with real problems we could relate to, including crime and its aftermath. Beyond the most popular ones, there are a wealth of lesser-known, but equally well-written and compelling Scandinavian series available to explore.

Echoes From the Dead

Julia Davidsson has received a disturbing package in the mail. Inside, carefully wrapped, is a shoe. It is one of the pair that Julia put on her six-year-old son’s feet the day that he left the safety of his backyard, walked into the fog, and never returned. Compelled by the new knowledge that someone may know what really happened to her beloved child, Julia returns to Öland, an island off the southeast coast of Sweden. There she discovers not the familiar home of her youth, but a place that suddenly seems unwelcoming and dangerous. Now, with only a handful of clues and the assistance of her elderly father, Julia must confront the truth of who Jens might have encountered out in the fog. Borrow or reserve the eBook here.

The Ice Princess

Erica Falck’s return to her hometown of Fjallbacka isn’t all she expected. Already mourning the death of her parents, she is rocked by a new tragedy when her childhood friend, Alex, is found frozen in a bathtub with her wrists slashed. A published author, Erica decides to write a book about Alex as both a memorial to her former friend and an exploration of their lost relationship. As she uncovers unsettling information about Alex’s recent past, Erica and those around her begin to worry that her interest is becoming an obsession. Local police detective Patrik Hedstrom has his own suspicions about Alex’s death, however, and when his and Erika’s investigations intersect, the small town’s deeply disturbing past may threaten Erika and Patrik’s future. Borrow or reserve the eBook here.

Jar City

In a gloomy flat in Reykjavík, the body of a reclusive old man has been discovered. Found in the murdered man’s home are a picture of a young girl’s grave and a puzzling note. Inspector Erlendur and his team discover that years earlier the victim, although never convicted, was accused of a still-unsolved crime. It seems that the old man’s past may have caught up with him. As the detectives reopen the cold case, Erlendur follows a fascinating trail of forensic evidence. He soon discovers that powerful people have been keeping devastating secrets for years and the real crime is much larger than the murder of one man. Borrow or reserve the eBook here.

The Laughing Policeman

When nine travelers are gunned down on a city bus, Superintendent Martin Beck does not agree with the press that the perpetrator was a madman. He simply cannot believe it was merely coincidence that a young police detective was one of the victims of the attack. Tracking down the girlfriend of his slain colleague, Beck uncovers a possible connection to a cold case dating back several years. Borrow or reserve the eBook here.

Mind's Eye

It seems obvious: Janek Mitter has committed murder. He woke one day with a fierce hangover and found his wife of three months slayed in their bathtub. Having no real defense, he is soon tried, found guilty, and imprisoned in a mental institution. Chief Inspector Van Veeteren has other suspicions, though, and when Mitter is also murdered, the veteran detective must launch a new investigation. Shortly before he died, Mitter wrote a mysterious letter that may finally enable the determined Inspector to expose the shocking secrets that created a killer. Borrow or reserve the eBook here.

Sun Storm

Rebecka Martinsson is coming home to Kiruna, the small town that she left in disgrace years earlier. Now a respected attorney in Stockholm, she is returning to northern Sweden to help her friend Sanna, whose brother has been found murdered in the church he helped to found, his mutilated corpse defiling the sacred space. Sanna needs someone strong like Rebecka to help her confront her own feelings of guilt, and the determined police officer and prosecutor in charge of the case. To untangle a complex conspiracy and expose the real killer, Rebecka will need to survive the darkness she thought she had left behind her forever. Borrow or reserve the eBook here.