Tag Archives: mystery

Scandinavian Authors List

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I’ve been enthralled with Scandinavian literature since long before most Americans even knew where Sweden was.  Well, at least since my first of many visits to my second adopted country, Sweden.  I’ve read just about everything I’ve been able to find written by any Scandinavian author that has been translated to English as my Swedish is not good enough to read more than a preschool book.

I’ve noticed that it can be difficult to find new authors to read once you’re hooked.  Partly because of the unfamiliar spellings and characters of ö Ö, ä Ä and å Å that are found in some Swedish names, not to mention the Danish and Norwegian letters of Æ æ and Ø ø.  I’ll spare you trying to pronounce them, other than to say if you get hooked on the amazing Norwegian author, Jo Nesbø‘s books and his main character, Harry Hole, know that Harry’s name is not pronounced like we would say it in English.  His name pronounce phonetically is:  Hahree Whoule or Who-leh as my Norwegian friend explained to me.

So, now that you’ve had a bit of a spelling & grammar lesson, I’ll get to the list of the Scandinavian (which includes Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) authors that I have really enjoyed over the past several years.  Some you may have heard of already, like Stieg Larsson, but others may be new to you.  In no particular order:

This is just a small list of some of the outstanding Scandinavian authors (and I’ve not even started on Finland yet!) that you might like to check out.  The Icelandic books by Arnaldur Indridason have led me to put the unlikely spot of Iceland at the top of my “Places to Go” list and I can’t wait to visit beautiful Iceland.  But all of these authors have their own unique talents, some of a series working around a single character (which are my favorite types) while others keep the landscape the same throughout the books.

Regardless of how you decide to approach it, remember most of these books were written in their native language and translated into English.  This just means that sometimes, the sentences might be a little awkward or the dialogue might sound odd.  But that doesn’t take anything away from the brutal crimes in what the rest of the world thinks is the socialist paradise where everything is clean and the people are blonde and tall 🙂

Enjoy!  And please let me know if you have any suggestions to add to this list, I’d be happy to add on because I’m always looking for the newest books that have been translated so I can get my Scandinavian fix.

The Abigail Affair by Timothy Frost

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I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book at first.  The beginning hit the ground running with a murder of a model in the mansion of an extremely wealthy foreigner.   Then we met Toby, the main character. I thought I’d quit the book after reading a few pages, but I’m glad I didn’t.  The Abigail Affair by Timothy Frost is a fun spy – thriller – suspense – amateur sleuth kind of story.

Toby is kind of a goofball, but he is very likable and has a lot of humorous lines.  The writing style reminds me of something similar to the “young adult” genre in some parts, but this is not a book that is appropriate for children (some swearing, sexual innuendo, violence). The plot became more and more exciting as the book went on, there were actually some places were I honestly couldn’t put it down. The trouble with reading e-books is that if you don’t pay close attention to the counter along the bottom, you don’t realize that the book is ending. So, I was constantly aware of how much “time” I had left because I was really enjoying the action filled and fast paced story.

There were some parts that were unbelievable (like a CIA agent ever admitting they work for the CIA), but all in all, it was a fun, exciting book to read with a lot of humor mixed in thanks to Toby, the poor little rich boy who needed to grow up fast and thanks to a crazy Russian multi-billionaire, the Royal Navy, the FBI, CIA, MI6, a the prince of England and an assortment of other colorful characters, he did in the most delightful way.

The Three-Day Affair by Michael Kardos

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The Three-Day Affair by Michael Kardos.  Published by Grove/Atlantic and The Mysterious Press.

Imagine a group of best friends planning a yearly get-together to play golf, hang-out, no wives, no kids.  Just old friends from college, each going their own way after graduation but finding their way back to each other once a year to reconnect.

Evan is a successful lawyer.  Will a struggling music producer.  Jeffrey is a dot.com millionaire and Nolan is an up and coming state Senator.  Things are looking up for all four:  Will and Jeffrey are married and expecting their first children, Evan is on the verge of a huge promotion and Nolan is working his way from state Senator to Washington D.C.  Good, stable men with degrees from an Ivy League school, making their dent in the world.

Now imagine stopping at a convenience store to grab a quick snack.  Jeffrey goes inside while two wait in the car.  A few minutes later, he comes out pulling a girl by the arm and pushing her into the car.  They’ve all just unwittingly become involved in a kidnapping and robbery.  Suddenly that dent has become a crater and no-one knows why.  Not even the Jeffrey who seemingly has no reason to rob a convenience store, let alone kidnap someone.

As this suspenseful story unfolds, secrets revealed, past betrayals come to surface and lives are irrevocably changed.  This much-anticipated, fun, casual “guys weekend” has turned into a nightmare than none of them could have ever imagined.

Or, could they?  Jeffrey seems confused, dazed and completely unclear on what made him commit such a horrible crime.  As each hour passes, the group knows they are digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole they may never climb out of.  They see their futures crumbling in front of their eyes and feel helpless to stop it.

As the story winds its way through fond memories of their Princeton days to the casual drifting apart that comes with growing up to horror at what their friend has done, both to them and to the girl he kidnapped, the reader slowly realizes that nothing is as it seems.  Does the girl escape and turn them into the police?  Do they kill her to hide the crime?  Or does something happen that is so unexpected that takes the story from a good crime/thriller to one that will leave you shocked and strangely satisfied at the end?

I really enjoy thrillers and this one didn’t disappoint.  The characters were all believable, the plot solid and the ending definitely unexpected.  I’m always delighted to find new authors (or new-to-me) to read and Michael Kardos is definitely being added to my list.