Who will be the next internationally succesful Scandinavian Crime Writer?

I have been asked by the LIV Magazine if I could pick three Scandinavian crime authors – one to watch and maybe a couple who are more established. They would then write about them to all the Volvo customers out there. I immediately thought this would be a perfect question for all the dedicated crime specialist out there on the blogosphere and our Nordic Noir enthusiasts. Something tells me we are not going to agree on this issue:-)



Filed under Danish crime fiction, Icelandic crime fiction, Norwegian crime fiction, Scandinavian crime fiction, Swedish crime fiction

18 responses to “Who will be the next internationally succesful Scandinavian Crime Writer?

  1. zhrzh

    I’m looking forward to reading Eng tranlsations of Susanne Staun (DK) and Unni Lindell (Nor) after hearing about them in Forshaw’s “Death in a Cold Climate” fyi The NYPL article A Cold Night’s Death: The Allure of Scandinavian Crime Fiction is a general introduction to the genre and includes a running order for the more popular series and a pronunciation guide for the author’s names.

  2. Ian Charles

    I was amused to see, post-The Killing on BBC4, a sticker on the new Sidsel Jo Gazan translation “If you enjoyed The Killing, you’ll love this” – makes a change from “The next Stieg Larsson”

  3. I don’t think any of the currently published Scandinavian crime fiction writers are quite as “exciting” as Stieg Larsson from the point of view of readers internationally; Larsson’s books had “something” which intrigued people in a lot of different countries and cultures.

    That said, I think Jussi Adler-Olsen and Lars Kepler may be hits internationally, but that will depend a lot on how well and how much they are marketed.

    I am surprised that Camilla Läckberg and Jo Nesbø have not been mentioned here. They are, after all, to the best of my knowledge, the two Scandinavian crime fiction writers who sell the most internationally for the moment. And they are both very good, but for somewhat different readerships I think.

  4. jakobstougaard

    Thank you all for all of these suggestions – and not least for opening slightly the discussion of what belongs to Nordic Noir: can an American author living in Finland, writing novels set in Finland, but in English be called Nordic Noir? As I have said I don’t know Thompson, I trust Ian’s taste, but I would think yes, though it opens up interesting (complicated) discussions of genre and nation. Please keep suggestions coming in this string – really interesting. I have Alvtegen on my reading list (thanks for the copy, Ian) – and more Yrsa Sigurdardottir!

  5. Peter Sellers

    I have reading Inspector Beck Novels by Sjowall and Wahloo Brilliant
    But i think Ake Edwardson`s Eric Winter should be the next star set in

  6. Brigitte Bertout

    Johan Theorin, from Sweden, is a young author to watch.

  7. Ian

    I sampled a James Thompson this week and sent it back – apart from seeming to rely on shock value from incessant and gratuitous use of racist and sexist swear words, it’s also written in first person present – you have to be an absolute ace writer to pull that one off, and he falls far short I’m afraid. If he’d been any good I’d have tolerated his being called Scandinavian Noir but he really doesn’t belong in the class of the others we are discussing.

  8. The Next “Big one”–Jo Nesbo’s: Harry Hole(say Hoo- luh) series
    One to watch that is established: Karin Fossum
    Up and coming: James Thompson: Lucifer’s Tears
    and his previous Book: Snow Angels.
    ALL top NOTCH of the North!

    • jakobstougaard

      James Thompson is another one I haven’t read, so thanks for the tip.

    • Technically –James Thompson is not a Scandinavian
      writer. He is American –married to a Finn-lives
      in Finland -His novels are based in Finland -but
      written in English.

  9. Lorna Richardson

    I have just finished reading ‘The Butterfly Effect’ by Norweigian author Pernille Rygg – excellent book, loved the main character. Well worth a read.. very noir..

  10. I think Karin Altvegen and Liza Marklund have a lot of popular appeal, but need some marketing/publicity behind them. They are already published in English translation of course. In addition, Quercus has now picked up Asa Larsson, another excellent author, so maybe they will promote her more enthusiastically to an English-speaking readership than hitherto.

    Another Swedish author who impressed me is Camilla Ceder, with her debut novel Frozen Moment.

    I haven’t read any new (to me) Norwegian or Danish authors recently, though Lief Davidsen (Denmark) has several that are not translated or were but are out of print. Gunnar Staalesen (Norway) has only had a few of his long Varg Veum series translated – these could do well.

    • Ian Charles

      From a literary point of view, Karin Alvtegen is head and shoulders above most of them, certainly Lisa Marklund. Does Karin Fossum count as internationally famous? If not, she deserves to be.

  11. jakobstougaard

    @ Simon: couldn’t agree more. These two (three) are going to be interesting to watch. I wonder if there is a Norwegian writer, or Finnish, that may be on the verge of an international break-through.

  12. Based on popularity in their own Nordic lands,-with word
    of mouth and some marketing –I have high hopes for
    1.Jussi Adler-Olsen –Mercy –published in UK 26/5/11.
    2. Swedish husband and wife team –writing under name
    of Lars Kepler –The Hypnotist published in UK 12/5/11.

  13. jakobstougaard

    Yes, it is going to be exciting to see what happens when Adler-Olsen is published in May, I think, here in the UK. Is he going to be the great success he has been in Germany? I don’t know of Susanne Staun’s novels. What are they like?

    • Her previous protagonist, Fanny Fiske, was an old profiler who had had so much plastic surgery her doctor refused to touch her, reminding her of Michael Jackson. She must have looked gorgeous, though, as young men swarmed around her – so I suppose she is the female version of several well-known male protagonists – wildly funny, but the plots were very far from cosy mysteries. Staun is well-informed indeed when it comes to forensics and serial killers, and occasionally she is as gritty as Val McDermid.
      Her new protagonist, Maria Krause, is promising so perhaps the UK will notice her this time.

  14. Personally I think the Danish writer Susanne Staun deserves it, but it may not be all readers who like her very dark humour. So the most likely Danish writer is probably Jussi Adler-Olsen who is a great hit here right now.

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