Friday, June 18, 2010

Crime Novels

Here in the U.S., we tend to think of crime novels as being wholly American. They thrive here and sell here probably more than anywhere else. The Washington Post, however, says that Scandinavian crime novels and writers are very hot right now.

There’s Stieg Larsson who wrote The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

There’s also Camilla Lackberg who’s a mjor force in Stockholm and made her American debut this month.

Then there’s Norwegian Jo Nesbo and Sweden’s Henning Mankell.

Lackberg, whose book The Ice Princess is finally coming to the U.S., said, “I was at a book festival in Madrid and the schedule had me booked to sign autographs for three hours. Three hours! I thought it was a mistake. I got there, and it wasn't. I could barely move my right hand afterwards.”

According to Sonny Mehta, publisher and editor in chief of Knopf, Scandinavian crime fiction is different from what we expect here in the U.S.
"They don't zip along, these things. They're brooding. It's not plot-driven in the way that many of their American contemporaries are. . . . Part of the appeal is you're being introduced to something that should be familiar, that seems familiar, but it's not."
Any of you read these authors?

31 comments:

  1. My mum has read all the Wallander (by Mankell) books. It's a TV show here as well with Kenneth Branagh as Wallander BUT they also show the Swedish show (with English subtitles). Even though the Swedish actor portraying Wallander is obviously closer to the source work she's determined that (Belfast-born) Brannagh is the REAL Wallander.

    My take - Wallander is a hard-drinking slob with poor health and a lot of darkness in his life. I get enough of that at home.

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  2. The Scands are on the rise but keep an eye out for the Italians, especially Barbara Baraldi. They've got a lot more OOMPH!If you as me.

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  3. I agree, Scandinavian mysteries are a great new find for crime fiction lovers in the U.S. The first one I read was Smylla's Sense of Snow, followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire. Here are some other finds - Asian mysteries by Asian and American writers. A few Asian mysteries.

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  4. Everywhere you look around these parts there is someone reading a Stieg Larsson book. I just started the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I'm enjoying it, mostly because it's different.

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  5. I don't read this genre but I find it interesting that "They don't zip along..."

    American culture is so ingrained in "zipping along" that I'm curious to see how well Scandinavian crime fiction does here.

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  6. I've enjoyed the Wallander series (a BBC production running on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery) when it airs. And I've read Larsson's first book...very good, but dark.

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  7. I haven't read any of these but I'm curious too about how they don't zip along. It sounds like they draw you in and the reader really gets immersed. I like that kind of read.

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  8. Thank you Anton. Made me laugh!

    Also, I see a typo in the post & there will probably be some here. I am still not great at working off my iphone or dh's iPad.

    Thanks Paul and Bird Book Dog. More countries to check out.

    I agree, I'd like a book that immersed me in the story.

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  9. Haven't read any of these, but hear they are all quite good. Have to add them to my wish list.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  10. No, I haven't read these, Helen.
    Karen

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  11. I'm planning to read Larsson. My neighbor raves him. She also commented about the slowness of the opening, but she liked it.

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  12. LOL - since I don't read crime fiction, it's a safe bet that I don't know those authors.

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  13. Thanks everyone. Sounds like some may try one of these author's books, and some may not. I think I'm on the side of reading one.

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  14. Seems to me the PUBLIC is wanting some character back in the novel, but American publishers haven't recognized this yet... I don't normally READ crime, because you don't really get to know the characters, but in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I really did--and I loved it.

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  15. I agree with wanting characters we can identify with or enjoy being in their heads. That's why I stick with a series - the protagonist.

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  16. No, I haven't but I have been looking at The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I did check out Ice Princess just now and it sounds interesting.

    Crime novels would match the country you're in and the readers you write to, I would think.

    I think here in the US there is a tendency towards everything fast and zippy.

    It would be interesting to see a #1bestselling Crime novel from different countries and note the differences.

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  17. No, I haven't but I have been looking at The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I did check out Ice Princess just now and it sounds interesting.

    Crime novels would match the country you're in and the readers you write to, I would think.

    I think here in the US there is a tendency towards everything fast and zippy.

    It would be interesting to see a #1bestselling Crime novel from different countries and note the differences.

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  18. I agree Sia. I'm thinking of getting one of these books and reading it so I can compare it to the fast and non-stop action of U.S. thrillers.

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  19. I want to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I'm more interested now that you write about the different pacing of Scandinavian crime authors.

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  20. Jenn, for some reason that appeals to me as well - and I usually like fast paced books.

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  21. I haven't. Sounds like maybe I should.

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  22. There are so many American crime novelists I love should I start reading some new ones. Okay, you talked me into it.

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  23. Not yet - I'll add them to my list :) Thanks!

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  24. I have not read any of these authors, but I do like books that are more character driven than plot driven. I will have to check these out.

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  25. I like character driven books, too, Maryann. My goal is to write books that are character driven (as well has have a great plot).

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  26. That's right, Helen. Crime novels are very popular in Scandinavia, and there are several good and best-selling authors from the Scandinavian countries. I should know>;) You have already mentioned Stieg Larson (who died a couple of years ago), Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbø (last letter i ø, an o with a slash)

    Other popular authors are Liza Marklund, Unni Lindell, Jan Guillou (who wrote some really cool novels about the Knight Templars), Anne Holt and Johan Theorin. Not sure if they are translated to English.

    There are a couple of good movies based on the books by Stieg Larsson, with a Hell of a cool actress in the role as his protagonist Lisbeth Salander.

    Cold As Heaven

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  27. American and British crime novels are the only ones I have read.

    I will have to look out for some of those mentioned here. Thanks Helen for widening my options. :)

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  28. I have a list of all the translated (into English) Scandinavian crime novels that I know about, many with links to reviews at http://eurocrime.co.uk/books/books_bib_Scandinavia.html.

    I love the Larsson trilogy, Nesbo and Indridason. Anne Holt's books have improved over time and her latest deals with the kidnapping of a female US President whilst in Oslo.

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  29. I hardly ever read crime novels myself (prefer Dostoyevsky and Jean Genet), and don't like Anne Holt's books; maybe they have improved, as mentioned by Karen above.

    Another cool author that should be mentioned is Tom Egeland, Scandinavia's Dan Brown. I can recommend "The Gospel of Lucifer", which is transalted to English.

    Cold As Heaven

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