This post is a part of the writing project called Stories from the West that I started with Christa. We’re both currently living on the west coasts (Christa in the US, me in Sweden), hence the name of the project. We both want to share our experiences living as immigrants, and every month we’ll write a post each with the same topic. The topic for this month is ‘book recommendations‘. Don’t forget to read Christa’s post, 3 Books about being an Immigrant in America.
Sweden (and any Scandinavian/Nordic countries, really) is notorious for its dark and cold winter, which sometimes can feel like it stretches for 6 or 9 months. But if anything, there’s at least the bright side of this: it contributes to the birth of Nordic Noir. At least, that’s what I think.
I’m a big fan of crime novels, and there’s something about Swedish crime novels that gives them an edge over similar books set in other countries. The dark atmosphere, the complex mysteries, the twisted plots, and the well-developed characters and their quirks (usually cold and reserved) — it all blends well into riveting stories.
So these are some crime novels from Sweden that’s made it to my list.
The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
Let’s start with the most popular one, and my favorite as well, The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest). The series follows the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and genius/recluse Lisbeth Salander as they investigate and deal with the Sweden underworld (I wrote a little bit about these series here). It’s brilliant, gripping, and such a page-turner – my all-time favorites!
Wallander Series by Henning Mankell
I got acquainted with Detective Kurt Wallander books in my Swedish class, where we were given the easy version of the novel for reading practice. Set in Ystad (a town in the southern part of Sweden), Wallander works to solve murder mysteries with such shrewdness that makes it fascinating to read. I have Faceless Killers and The Dogs of Riga lined up for my next read.
Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito
Another one on my to-be-read list, this novel has gotten even more popular since Netflix created a series based on the novel. The story follows Maja Norberg’s account in court for the trial of the shooting in her school. Maja, a high school student, is the suspect of the shooting, which takes the lives of her boyfriend and best friend. The story explores her side of the story as she revisits the event and the days leading up to it.
Fjällbacka Series by Camilla Läckberg
Also known as Patrik Hedström series. It’s set in a picturesque little place not far from Gothenburg called Fjällbacka, where Detective Patrik Hedström and writer Erica Falck work together to solve mysteries in the sleepy town. It’s been described as ‘chilling’ and ‘crime series with a little bit of romance’ (I don’t mind a little bit of that!). I’ll start with the first book in the series, The Ice Princess.
Have you read any of these before? Please let me know if you have any Nordic Noir favorites, as I always love to read more of this! 🙂