mandag den 31. maj 2010

Arne Dahl, Misterioso

The first in the A-team series which is written in the best Swedish tradition: a story about a fairly peaceful, affluent society with a tendency to put the system and the rules above common sense and the individual human being.

In a kind of prologue, we meet a quiet banker who is an expert dart player, and a huge bank robber who disturbs the banker´s usual morning routine.

Soon after, someone begins to kill off some of Stockholm´s most successful businessmen. He shoots them through the head in the middle of the night, and though he takes his time on the crime scene, he leaves no traces whatsoever. The A team is on their first case, and over 330 pages their investigation leads them to the mafia in Tallin, an idyllic golf course, and a very special jazz recording. Hence the title which refers to a classic jazz number.

A well-written crime debut with lots of drama and action, but also quiet sections about the lives and interrelationships among the team.

I bought the book myself.

søndag den 30. maj 2010

May - Scandinavian Month

Have you noticed I have been on a binge of Scandinavian crime fiction in May?

Early in May I went to the library and discovered that they had expanded the crime section noticeably. And around the same time I found Amy´s Scandinavian Reading Challenge. So I decided to challenge myself by finishing it within a month - and four of the writers (five, really, as there are two for Drengen i kufferten) are new to me.

NB: to a Scandinavian, Scandinavia is Norway, Sweden, Denmark. What English readers call Scandinavia is the Nordic countries in my part of the world.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010
1. Camilla Läckberg, Tyskungen (Swedish, 2007)
2. Kaaberbøl & Friis, Drengen i kufferten (Danish, crime debut 2008)
3. Anna Grue, Judaskysset (Danish, 2008)
4. Karin Fossum, Den onde vilje (Norwegian, 2009)
5. Camilla Ceder, Frosne øjeblikke (Swedish debut, 2009)
6. Knut Faldbakken, Grænsen (Norwegian, 2008)

Besides I have read

7. Anna Grue, Kunsten at dø (Danish, 2009)
8. Åke Edwardson, Næsten død mand (Swedish, 2009)
9. Arne Dahl, Misterioso (Swedish, 2001) – will be reviewed soon.

So on the whole I feel somewhat better informed on recent Scandinavian crime fiction today than one month ago.

And June? - a busy exam month, but I hope there will be a few exciting guest posts for you.

lørdag den 29. maj 2010

Knut Faldbakken, Grænsen (2008)

Den norske forfatter har en lang række andre romaner bag sig, men Grænsen er hans tredje krimi, og den første i serien om overbetjent Jonfinn Valmann i Hamar, tæt på den svenske grænse.

Temaet er prostituerede fra Rusland, eller egentlig prostitution i det hele taget, og ligesom Karin Fossum forsøger Faldbakken at se emnet fra flere forskellige vinkler. Plottet begynder, da snedkeren Arne Vatne træffer en ung, russisk kvinde ved et tilfælde. Han føler sig kikset og alene, og selv om han forstår, at hun er ´russerluder´, forelsker han sig over hals og hoved i den kønne pige. Hun opholder sig midlertidigt på en campingplads i Norge, fordi prostitution er ulovlig i Sverige, og da hun efter et par dage forlader campingvognen uden varsel, bliver Vatne så vred og frustreret, at han er klar til at bryde sine normale grænser for, hvad der er rigtigt og forkert.

Samtidig er Vatne bekymret for sin unge datter Anne, som har en udenlandsk kæreste med hjem. Vatne er på forhånd skeptisk overfor indvandreren med guldkæderne, og da parret forsvinder sent om aftenen, hvorefter en ukendt mand ringer på Annes mobil og spørger efter ´Diana´, venter han det værste.

Politiarbejdet står nordmanden Jonfinn Valmann og finnen Jan Timonen. Det er velsagtens meningen, læseren skal fatte stor sympati for den regelrette, forelskede Valmann, men efter mange års politiarbejde i grænseområdet virker han temmelig naiv.

Godt forsøgt og personerne er i det store og hele udmærkede, men den midterste tredjedel er langtrukket og ikke særlig dramatisk, da politiets arbejde med at opklare et dødsfald og smugleri af stoffer og kvinder over grænsen ofte skæres ud i unødvendige detaljer.

Bogen er lånt på biblioteket.

Knut Faldbakken, The Border
Not translated into English.

The Norwegian author has several novels behind him, but The Border is his third crime novel and the first in the series about Sergeant Jonfinn Valmann from Hamar, near the Swedish border.

The theme is prostitutes from Russia, or perhaps prostitution as such, and just like Karin Fossum Faldbakken tries to look at it from different angles. (So the title plays on borders, boundaries and limits.) The plot begins when the joiner Arne Vatne meets a young, Russian woman by accident. He feels unsuccessful and alone, and even though he understands that she is a “Russian whore”, he falls headlong in love with the pretty girl. She is staying at a camping site in Norway because prostitution is illegal in Sweden, and when she leaves the caravan without notice a few days later, Vatne is so angry and frustrated that he is ready to break his own rules for what is right and wrong.

At the same time Vatne is worried about his young daughter Anne who brings a foreign boyfriend with her home. He is skeptical of the immigrant with the gold chains beforehand, and when the couple disappear late at night and a stranger calls on Anne´s mobile, asking for ´Diana´, Vatne expects the worst.

The Norwegian Jonfinn Valmann and the Finn Jan Timonen (male! member of the Finnish minority) are in charge of the police work. I think the reader is supposed to feel sympathy for the regular Valmann, but after many years´ police work in the border region he seems rather naïve.

A good effort and the characters are well-drawn on the whole, but the middle third is lengthy and not very dramatic as the police work on a death and the smuggling of drugs and women is often described in unnecessary detail.

This was a librarybook and I read it for the Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 # 6.

fredag den 28. maj 2010

Swedish Crime News

Arne Dahl and the A-team

In the mid 90s a Swedish writer planned a series of ten volumes about the special elite force, the A team. The first books were published under the pen name Arne Dahl, but when the success was well established, the author and literary critic Jan Arnald confessed that he had played with the letters of his name.

Now when eleven volumes of ten have been published in Scandinavia, the “Intercrime series” is on its way to English readers, hence this introduction.

Officially, the group is under the command of the quiet judge of character Jan-Olov Hultin who shows unexpected sides to his personality as the series progresses. Their base is in Stockholm, but they operate all over Sweden.

Paul Hjelm, the day-to-day leader, is around forty years old, married to Cilla whom he has two teenage children with. He is a first-class policeman but not quite as good at handling marriage and family.

Kerstin Holm from Göteborg makes up the female minority. For the time being, she and her husband´s first ex-wife live together and hit it off much better than with him.

Viggo Norlander from Stockholm is a balding and stout policeman who believes in following the rules.

Arto Söderstedt, an intellectual ex-lawyer, is the pale, Finnish minority from Västerås.

Gunnar Nyberg from Nacka, is a huge, slovenly dressed ex-boxer and steroid user.

Jorge Chavez from Sundsvall – represents the immigrant minority and is an expert on jazz.

A well-written, literary crime series with interesting and intelligent characters.

As an afterthought I can tell you that I find it very easy to read Camilla Läckberg and Mari Jungstedt in Swedish, but Arne Dahl is quite another matter.

torsdag den 27. maj 2010

Thy´s Day # 17

These May days are so bitterly cold that I prefer to curl up in an armchair with a good crime novel and show you some pictures from last year.

onsdag den 26. maj 2010

What Do You Want

I just came home from the local library. They had numerous temptations, but I succeeded in limiting myself to ten crime novels.

1. Knut Faldbakken, Grænsen (Norwegian)
2. Jogvan Isaksen, Korsmesse (Faroe Islands) - 2 votes
3. Pia Juul, Mordet på Halland (Danish)
4. Jonas T. Bengtsson, Sub Marino (Danish)

5. Camilla Grebe & Åsa Träff (Swedish debut) - 2 votes
6. Mari Jungstedt, Den døende dandy (Swedish, the fourth Gotland novel) - 1 vote
7. Viveca Sten, Stille nu (Swedish debut - takes place in the archipelago)

8. Eli Gottlieb, Opgøret (American: Now You See Him) - 1 vote
9. Phillip Margolin, Sortekunster (American: Heartstone) - 1 vote
10. Joanne Harris, Dobbeltspil (British: Gentlemen & Players) - 2 votes

I am going to review the one by Knut Faldbakken first because I need a Norwegian book for a challenge.

But which one do you want me to read and review after that?

tirsdag den 25. maj 2010

Elly Griffiths, The Janus Stone (2010)

This crime novel is the second in the British Ruth Galloway series.

I had great expectations to this one as The Crossing Places was a wonderful read. And just as in her crime debut, Griffiths dishes up a wonderful Norfolk environment and the most compelling characters. Ruth Galloway is not your typical smart or slim detective but a competent and intelligent forensic archaeologist (a role model for female readers who are not exactly Hollywood material?) DCI Harry Nelson may seem taciturn and gruff, yet he is a sensible and likeable family father in his own way. These characters are not heroes or stars, but very real people you enjoy getting to know.

The story begins when Ruth visits a local archaeological site, and she is excited when Dr Max Grey, expert on Roman Britain and leader of the dig, shows her they have found some bones. Soon the body of a child is found beneath the walls of a nearby Victorian mansion, a former children´s home, which is being torn down to give way to modern flats. The plot has probably been a sacred place in the past so are the human remains old or new? Besides, the head is missing which makes Dr Grey suspect that the child may have been sacrificed.

As readers of the debut will know, Ruth is pregnant but determined to keep her baby even if she expects she will have to raise it alone. She thrives in her isolated house in the Saltmarsh though her pregnancy makes her more vulnerable than usual, a fact that the murderer exploits ruthlessly.

No need to spoil your fun by telling you more about the fine plot. I want more of this series – the sooner the better!

This ARC was kindly sent to me by Maxine of Petrona.

mandag den 24. maj 2010

Gianrico Carofiglio, Med lukkede øjne (2009)

Minireview (jeg har læst en masse bøger ude i solen, men jeg har altså ikke tid til at skrive en lang anmeldelse af hele bunken).

Den italienske krimi er den anden i serien men kan sagtens læses alene. Den italienske forsvarsadvokat Guido Guerriere påtager sig en umulig sag: kvinden Martina anklager sin tidligere samlever for grov vold. Men samleveren er læge og søn af en lokal dommer, så alle regner sagen for at være tabt på forhånd. Guerriere er ikke nogen helt, men han kan ikke undslå sig; nogen må jo bekæmpe korruption og magtmisbrug.

En udmærket lille krimi på et par hundrede sider. Plottet er velkomponeret, og Guerriere og de øvrige hovedpersoner er interessante, men bogen er temmelig dyster, fordi den giver et troværdigt indblik i et miljø, hvor mafiaen har så stor magt og korruptionen er så udbredt, at almindelige mennesker har mistet troen på retfærdighed for dem.

Gianrico Carofiglio, A Walk in the Dark (2006)
Mini review (I have read several novels out in the sun, but I don´t have the time to write long reviews of all of them).

This Italian crime novel is the second in the series. The defence lawyer Guido Guerriere accepts an impossible case: the woman Martina accuses her former boyfriend of assault and battery. But he is a respectable doctor and the son of a local judge so everybody considers the case lost beforehand. Guerriere is no hero, but he cannot decline; someone must fight corruption and abuse of power.

A fine little crime story of two hundred pages with a good plot and some interesting characters. It is quite sinister, though, because it offers a credible insight into an environment where the mafia is so powerful and corruption so widespread that ordinary people have lost their faith in justice for them.

lørdag den 22. maj 2010

Camilla Ceder, Frosne øjeblikke (2009)

Denne svenske politikrimi er forfatterens debut.

En kold decembermorgen er Åke Melkersson på vej til sin sidste arbejdsdag inden pensionen. Han er nok lidt ukoncentreret, for undervejs ryger han af vejen i et glat sving og ødelægger udstødningsrøret. Efter en pludselig indskydelse drejer han fra alfarvej mod et lille autoværksted for at få problemet ordnet straks, men mekanikeren er ude af stand til at hjælpe nogen længere.

Åke beder sin nabo Seja give ham et lift, men Seja viser en noget overraskende interesse for den myrdede mekaniker. Hun påstår over for politiet at hun var med Åke, da han opdagede liget og giver sig til at fotografere det med sin mobiltelefon.

Og ind imellem får vi afsnit fra 1993, hvor teenageren My flytter fra sin dominerende mor og et spirende stofmisbrug til en højskole, hvor hun forelsker sig voldsomt i den lidt ældre – lige så dominerende? - Caroline, men ellers ser ud til at være på vej til at få styr på sit liv.
Kriminalkommissær Christian Tell og hans team kaster sig ud i undersøgelser og vidneafhøringer, men morderen har efterladt sig meget få spor. Selv om Tell er single og lidt reserveret, er han tydeligvis interesseret i charmerende Seja, mens det kan være svært at afgøre om Seja er mest interesseret i Tell eller i mordsagen.

Til trods for at opklaringen af sagen bliver lidt langtrukken og måske udpensles lidt rigeligt af og til, har Ceder skrevet en rigtig god og spændende debut, og miljøbeskrivelsen er også et stort plus. Jeg lånte bogen på biblioteket.

Camilla Ceder, Frozen Moment (2010)
This Swedish police procedural is the writer´s debut.

On a cold December morning Åke Melkersson is on his way to his last working day before the pension. He may be a bit unconcentrated as he skids in a curve and destroys the exhaust pipe. A sudden impulse makes him leave the main road in search of a small garage, hoping that he can get help immediately. The mechanic is not able to help anyone any more, however.

Åke asks his neighbour Seja for a lift, but Seja displays a somewhat surprising interest in the dead man. She tells the police that she was with Åke when he found the body and begins taking pictures of it with her mobile phone.

In between the solution of the case we get passages from 1993 when the teenager My moved away from her domineering mother and a budding drug problem to a folk high school. Here she begins to get a grip on her life, and soon she falls in love with Caroline who is a bit older but perhaps as domineering as the mother.

Inspector Christian Tell and his team plunge into an investigation of a murder with very few clues. Even though Tell is single and seems a bit reserved, he is clearly interested in charming Seja whereas it is difficult to decide if Seja is more interested in Tell than in the case.
Even though the solution is a bit protracted and unnecessarily detailed now and then, Ceder has written a very promising and exciting debut. The description of the remote environment is also a plus.

The book was a library book, and I read it for the Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 # 5

fredag den 21. maj 2010

Karin Slaughter, Fractured (2008)

This American police procedural is the second in the Will Trent series.

Abigail Campano, wife and mother, returns home to the family´s mansion only to realize someone has broken into it. She rushes upstairs and sees a young man, knife in hand, bent over her lifeless daughter. She attacks him, and in an adrenaline kick of fear and rage she kills him.

The Atlanta police force arrive but make several mistakes and wrong assumptions so there is no progress in the case until special agent Will Trent and his powerful boss take over the case. Trent is not exactly popular among the police officers as he investigated a case of corruption recently with the result that several of them were fired. So in the beginning his new partner, Faith Mitchell, is resentful and antagonistic.

For some reason my expectations to this writer were not very high so Fractured was a very pleasant surprise. Lots of excitement and engaging characters, especially Will Trent, who struggles desperately to hide his dyslexia, and the single mother Faith Mitchell.

I read this library book in Danish.

Karin Slaughter, Bortført (2008).

Denne amerikanske politikrimi er den anden om Will Trent.

Overklassefruen Abigail Campano vender hjem til familiens luksusvilla og opdager, at nogen er brudt ind. Hun styrter ovenpå, hvor hun ser en ung mand bøjet over hendes livløse datter med en kniv i hånden. Hun angriber ham, og i en adrenalinrus af frygt og raseri dræber hun ham.

Politiet i Atlanta begår adskillige fejl fra starten, så der sker ingen fremskridt i sagen før specialagent Will Trent og hans dominerende boss tager over. Trent er langt fra populær blandt politiet, da han for nylig har undersøgt en sag om korruption med det resultat, at adskillige politifolk blev fyret. Så fra starten er hans nye makker, Faith Mitchell, fuld af vrede og modvilje.

Af en eller anden grund var mine forventninger til Karin Slaughter ikke særlig høje, så Bortført var en positiv overraskelse. Masser af spænding og nuancerede personer, især Will Trent, som kæmper hårdt for at skjule sin ordblindhed, og den enlige teenagemor Faith Mitchell.

Jeg lånte bogen på biblioteket.

torsdag den 20. maj 2010

Thy´s Day # 16

This beautiful christening dress was sewn by my great-grandmother in 1922. She lived in Thy all her life, most of the time in the parish next to ours. Before she married, she trained as a dressmaker. My mother and her siblings were baptized in the dress which is still in fairly good condition.

onsdag den 19. maj 2010

DJ´s Bait in the Box # 65

This novel is neither the first in a series nor the writer´s first series.

“She turned, mouth open to say something – what? – when she saw the bloody footprint on the floor.

´Emma,´ she whispered, dropping the phone as she looked up the stairs toward her daughter´s bedroom.

She stopped at the top of the stairs, shocked at the broken furniture, the splintered glass on the floor. Her vision tunneled and she saw Emma lying in a bloody heap at the end of the hallway. A man stood over her, a knife in his hand.”

The Rules:
If you recognize the quotation, or if you think you are able to guess who wrote it, please post a comment. Just leave a hint, do not spoil the fun by giving too much away. The book will be reviewed on Friday.

DJ´s gæt en bog # 65
Denne roman er hverken den første i en serie eller forfatterens første serie.

”Med åben mund vendte hun sig om for at sige noget – hvad? – da hun fik øje på de blodige fodaftryk på gulvet.

´Emma´, hviskede hun og gav slip på telefonen, mens hun sprang op ad trappen til sin datters værelse.

Hun stoppede brat for enden af trappen, rystet over synet af de ødelagte møbler og glasskårene på gulvet. Hendes synsfelt snævrede sig ind, og hun så Emma ligge i en blodig plamage for enden af gangen. En mand stod lænet ind over hende med en kniv i hånden.”

Hvis du kan genkende citatet, eller hvis du tror du kan gætte hvem forfatteren er, så læg venligst en kommentar. Skriv bare et hint til nye besøgende, lad være med at ødelægge fornøjelsen for andre. Bogen bliver anmeldt på fredag som sædvanlig.

tirsdag den 18. maj 2010

Robert Goddard, Found Wanting (2008)

Robert Goddard´s books are not exactly musts for me, but when I need something light and entertaining, I may pick one of his many thrillers. I chose this one because the Danish title “The Dane” made me curious.

And this is indeed a Goddard of the usual kind. Richard Eusden, a middle-aged civil servant is persuaded to bring a mysterious, old bag to Brussels by his ex-wife and his old friend (who has also been married to the wife). Connoisseurs of Goddard will suspect that something fishy is going on, and voila, Richard is not met by old friend Marty in Brussels, but by Werner Straub who claims Marty asked him to fetch the bag.

What follows is a complicated conspiracy and a story about the daughter of the Russian tsar, Anastacia. A search that brings Richard and Marty to Denmark. Interesting to read these sections, but somehow Aarhus did not quite strike me as the same town as I studied in. One example is the old family farm. A successful sheep farm near Aarhus? Hardly.

But can quiet, sensible Richard be certain that happy-go-lucky Marty has told him the full truth? Read the novel and find the answer. If you are a Goddard fan, you will also like this one.

I borrowed the book at the library.

mandag den 17. maj 2010

Åke Edwardson, Næsten død mand (2008)

Denne svenske politikrimi er den niende i serien om kriminalkommissær Erik Winter.

For mange år siden forsvandt en femtenårig pige fra en sommerkoloni ude i skærgården. I nutiden forekommer der en række skudepisoder inde i Göteborg, først kun materiel skade, men tredje gang bliver en person dræbt. Winters team har svært ved at komme af stedet, men til sidst opdager de, at en enkelt person kæder de to begivenheder sammen.

Bogen er en typisk Winter-krimi. Plottet er udmærket, og vi får også alle svarene til sidst, men hvis forfatteren og hovedpersonen havde været kvinder, ville bogen formodentlig være blevet kaldt en femikrimi. Edwardson leverer en lille bid plot, og derefter en lang gennemgang af Winters personlige problemer og overvejelser, samt alle hans medarbejderes personlige problemer med partnere, uden partnere, med nye partnere osv. Og så en lille bid plot igen, fulgt af en ny runde filosoferen om livet, døden og alt det ind imellem.

Edwardson skriver godt og hans personer er meget troværdige, men hvis han havde skåret to hundrede af de fem hundrede sider væk, ville jeg måske have lagt denne biblioteksbog fra mig knap så mange gange.

Åke Edwardson, Nearly Dead Man.
This Swedish police procedural is the ninth in the series about Chief Inspector Erik Winter.

Many years ago a fifteen-year-old girl disappeared from a summer camp in the archipelago. In the present some shooting incidents take place in Gothenburg, first with material damage only, but in the third case someone is killed. It takes some time for Winter´s team to get into the case, but finally they see that one person links the old and the new story.

The book is a typical Erik Winter novel. The plot is good, and we get all the answers in the ending, but if the writer and the protagonist had been women, this novel would probably have been called ´femikrimi´. Edwardson delivers a clue followed by a long tour of Winter´s personal problems and considerations plus the personal problems of each and every man and woman on the team with partners, without partners, with new partners etc. And then a clue plus a new round of Winter´s philosophizing about life, death and everything in between.

Edwardson writes well, and his characters are nuanced and credible, but if he had cut two hundred of the five hundred pages away, I might not have put the book down quite as many times.

The book was a library book.

lørdag den 15. maj 2010

Jackie Fullerton, Revenge Served Cold (2010)

This is the American writer´s second crime novel (Jacqueline Fullerton according to

The novel is not marketed as cozy mystery, but I think there are several reasons why this light and entertaining story should be:

1. There is more focus on environment and characters than on drama and gory details
2. The young law students are much better at solving the crime than the quite incompetent police force
3. Young Anne Marshall´s sidekick is the ghost of her late father. A very active ghost.

The first lines:
“Ross felt his hatred boil. A slow, hot burn moved up his neck as he watched Elliott joke with the barmaid. His jaw tightened. This man had ruined his life, yet Ross laughed as if nothing had happened.”

Ross and Elliott were the best of friends until they both fell in love with Kathy – and Kathy chose Elliott. The above reunion is the first time the two have met in fifteen years, and Elliott who is worried about Kathy´s drinking problem does not even seem to realize that he has destroyed Ross´ life. Professor Elliott Spencer never gets a second chance to think about it, however, as he is killed by a hit-and-run driver on his way home.

Kathy drinks because she desperately wants a child, and she seems quite defenseless when the police begin to suspect her of killing her husband. Her old friend Shirley and Anne Marshall, one of Spencer´s law students, help each other searching for evidence the police have not even thought about looking for. Anne´s friends tell her to stay clear of danger, but when her late father appears in his favourite chair with his beloved pipe, ready to solve the crime, Anne feels she has to assume the role of his sidekick.

This ARC was kindly sent to me by the publisher.

Reviewed for the 2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge # 4.

fredag den 14. maj 2010

Karin Fossum, Den onde vilje (2009)

Bogen er den niende i den norske Konrad Sejer-serie.

Tre gamle venner, Axel, Reilly og Jon, tager på weekendtur sammen. Vennerne vil opmuntre Jon, som brød sammen nogle måneder tidligere og lider af angstanfald.

En måneklar aften sejler de sammen ud på Dødvandet, en lille fjeldsø, men Jon føler sig utryg og kan ikke klare turen i det kolde, blå måneskær, så han rejser sig pludselig og springer over bord for øjnene af de to andre.

Efter Jons selvmord tager Axel straks styringen og beslutter, at han og Reilly skal lægge sig til at sove og vente med at melde Jon savnet til om morgenen, frem for at indrømme, de så ham drukne.

Ligesom Fossums foregående krimi, ”Den som elsker noget andet”, er ”Den onde vilje” andet og mere end en krimi. Den beskæftiger sig i højere grad med moralske dilemmaer og med det psykologiske samspil mennesker imellem: kan mennesket tåle at leve med ubehagelige sandheder, eller er det bedre at skabe sin egen version af livet og døden? Er Axel særlig ked af, at Jon er druknet? Og hvad er det for en sandhed, Jon eventuelt kan have røbet for sin psykiater? Kort sagt, en roman om hvordan helt almindelige mennesker håndterer dilemmaer og beslutninger, rigtige eller forkerte.

I øvrigt spekulerer jeg på, om jeg husker forkert, eller der er mere humor end sædvanligt for Fossum. Jeg lånte bogen på biblioteket.

Karin Fossum, Bad Intentions (2010)
The ninth Konrad Sejer novel should be out in English by July 2010.

Three old friends, Axel, Reilly and Jon, go on a weekend trip together. The friends want to encourage Jon who had a break-down some months earlier and suffers from anxiety attacks.
On a moonlit night they row out on the Dead Water Lake, a small mountain lake, but Jon feels insecure and cannot cope with sailing in the cold, blue light so he suddenly rises and jumps overboard in front of his two friends.

After Jon´s suicide Axel assumes control and decides to go to bed and not report Jon missing until the following morning rather than admit that they watched him drown.

Like Fossum´s former novel, The Water´s Edge, Bad Intentions is more than a crime story. It engages in moral dilemmas and the psychological interaction between people: can human beings live with unpleasant truths, or is it better to create your own version of life and death? Does Axel regret that Jon drowned? And what truth is it Jon may have divulged to his psychiatrist? In short, a novel about how ordinary people handle dilemmas and decisions, be they right or wrong.

Furthermore I wonder whether I just don´t remember it or if there is more humour than in her earlier books.

I borrowed the book at the library.
Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 # 4

torsdag den 13. maj 2010

Thy´s Day # 15

Finally the spring flowers I promised you two weeks ago.

onsdag den 12. maj 2010

Just a teaser

I am in our cottage this week and none of the books in my weekend bag is particularly suited for a Bait-in-the-box post. (You may believe I do my best to make it difficult for you, but nothing could be further from the truth. I never use books that only the writer has a fair chance of guessing!)

So just a teaser from the book I am reading right now:

“Ross felt his hatred boil. A slow, hot burn moved up his neck as he watched Elliott joke with the barmaid. His jaw tightened. This man had ruined his life, yet Ross laughed as if nothing had happened.”

I received this American crime story from the publisher last week, and after two Scandinavian library books I promise to review Jackie Fullerton´s Revenge Served Cold.

[And thank you to Margot who encouraged the publisher to send me the book]

tirsdag den 11. maj 2010

Irish crime

Is there anything better than receiving a signed copy of a book you really want?

Yes, apparently.

Look here: a signed copy of The White Gallows
PLUS a quotation from my review of
Rob´s crime fiction debut, The Rule Book.

Rob, you really made my day!

mandag den 10. maj 2010

Anna Grue, Kunsten at dø (2009)

Jeg lånte andet og tredje bind i den danske serie om Dan Sommerdahl samtidig på biblioteket. Se anmeldelse af Judaskysset her.

Ligesom i den foregående er plottet godt udtænkt og personerne bliver skildret udmærket. Romanen begynder med at den pensionerede boganmelder Ingegerd Clausen bliver myrdet i sin datters atelier, omgivet af knuste kunstværker. Er der tale om et indbrud, som er gået galt, eller var det måske datteren Kamille Schwerin, som var mål for overfaldet?

Det lykkes ikke politiet at opklare sagen, og et år senere deltager Kamille i et realityshow på en øde ø sammen med syv andre kendisser og Dan Sommerdahl, den skaldede detektiv. Ideen er at genoplive Agatha Christie´s gamle plot i ”En af os er morderen” men lade seerne stemme om, hvilken deltager der skal ´myrdes´ hver uge.

Realityshows interesserer mig normalt ikke, men krimien glider fint af sted lige til de sidste kapitler hvor Grue vælger en overraskende, men desværre ikke helt overbevisende slutning.

PS: Dan Sommerdahls umodne opførsel irriterer mig stadig – manden er jo en omvandrende testosteronbombe.

Anna Grue, The Art of Dying.
This Danish novel has not been translated into English. It is the third novel in the series about Dan Sommerdahl.

On the whole a good crime novel, but the ending is not quite as good as the second book.

søndag den 9. maj 2010

Mother´s Day Special

A copycat post, inspired by

Challenge Pressure

I thought that a reading challenge with an expert level forcing the participants to read 14 novels from all over the world would be enough for most people.

But no, I am surrounded by reading extremists so yesterday I gave in to massive pressure and added a fourth level.

The Extremist Level

Read three novels from each of these continents in 2010:
North America (incl Central America)
South America

Add two novels which are set in Antarctica + a ´wildcard´ novel (from a place or period that is NEW to you).

And if you really are an extreme reader, you will do your best to read novels from 21 different countries or states.

(Somehow no one seemed to want to read more than two novels set in Antarctica - how very odd).

lørdag den 8. maj 2010

Anna Grue, Judaskysset (2008)

Denne danske krimi er den anden i Dan Sommerdahl-serien. Jeg læste den første, Dybt at falde, for et par år siden og husker ikke så meget andet, end at det var en udmærket krimidebut.

Ursula, en midaldrende efterskolelærer, er bogstavelig talt i den syvende himmel, fordi hun har mødt den flotte, unge Jakob Heurlin, og efter fem berusende måneder møder han op med forlovelsesring og et godt, gammeldags frieri.

Desværre forsvinder Jakob snart efter ud i den blå luft med sine gyldne krøller og hele Ursulas samlede formue.

Dan Sommerdahls datter er en af Ursulas yndlingselever, og hun og Ursulas egen datter rotter sig sammen og får Dan til at påtage sig opgaven med at finde Jakob, da Ursula nægter at gå til politiet og røbe sin ydmygelse over at være blevet narret.

Anna Grue har skabt et interessant plot med en højst charmerende ægteskabssvindler og en Jehovas Vidner-lignende sekt, som sætter et voldsomt præg på sine medlemmer, også længe efter de er udstødte og erklæret ´døde´. Personerne er også meget nuancerede og troværdige.

Samspillet (eller manglen på samme) mellem de formodede venner Dan og kriminalkommissær Flemming Torp irriterer derimod en smule. Jeg synes ærlig talt, Dan, som sidder med alle de gode kort på hånden i form af en dejlig kone, en sød datter og et velfungerende firma, skulle være gammel nok til at glemme sin fjollede rivaliseren, der får ham til at lege ensom ulv og fare af sted på vilde missioner, som om han intet havde at miste.

Men trods denne ene fejl er Judaskysset rigtig god underholdning i et udmærket sprog, så jeg rækker nok ud efter treeren på hylden inden længe.

Anna Grue, The Judas Kiss.
This Danish crime novel is the second in the Dan Sommerdahl series. It has not been translated into English yet, but I think it has a fair chance.

Having met young, handsome Jakob Heurlin, Ursula, a middle-aged boarding school teacher, is in the seventh heaven, and after five incredible months he appears with an engagement ring and a good, old-fashioned proposal.

Unfortunately, Jakob soon vanishes in thin air with his golden curls and Ursula´s fortune.

The private investigator Dan Sommerdahl´s daughter is one of Ursula´s favourite students, and she and Ursula´s own daughter gang up and force Dan to undertake the case of finding Jakob as Ursula refuses to go to the police and reveal her humiliation.

The plot with the very charming marriage swindler and a Jehova Witnesses-alike sect is highly interesting, just as the characters are nuanced and credible. The cooperation (or lack of it) between the supposed friends Dan and Detective Chief Inspector Flemming Torp is a bit annoying, however. In my humble opinion Dan who has a nice wife, a loving daughter and a well-established company should be old enough to put aside his foolish rivalry which makes him run off like a lone wolf on wild missions as if he had nothing to lose.

Despite this minor flaw The Judas Kiss is fine and well-written entertainment so I am probably going to read the third book in the series before long.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge # 3

fredag den 7. maj 2010

Raymond Khoury, The Sign (2009)

This thriller is the writer´s third novel. Khoury was born in Lebanon but lives in London today.

In the prologue we meet a person who is plunging into a deep cleft in a jeep, pursued by a helicopter. He takes his time and bears it quite philosophically, I´d say.

Other ingredients are a top-secret project, Antarctica, Egypt, global warming, a fire ball in the sky, religious fanatics, non-religious fanatics, and a conspiracy, of course. In short, a bunch of macho men with no sense of judgement, spiced up with one important female character, the ambitious TV journalist Gracie Logan.

A librarybook, read as part of my 2010 Global Reading Challenge, Antarctica.

Did I like it? Not much, but I finished it, and it is probably a fairly good novel of its kind.
Will you like it? If you are one of my faithful readers, I am not at all sure. Well, if you like Dan Brown, you might.

Raymond Khoury, Tegnet (2009)

Denne thriller er forfatterens tredje roman. Khoury blev født i Libanon, men bor i London i dag.

På første side møder vi en person, som er ved at styrte i døden i en jeep, forfulgt af en helikopter. Han tager sig god tid og behersker sig meget pænt, synes jeg.

Et indtryk af Khourys stil:
”Pludselig eksploderede deres brystkasser i mørkerøde skyer, da Maddox plaffede dem ned uden så meget som at sætte farten ned bare lidt.”

Andre ingredienser er et tophemmeligt projekt, Egypten, Antarktis, global opvarmning, en ildkugle på himlen, religiøse fanatikere, ikke-religiøse fanatikere og selvfølgelig en konspiration. Kort sagt, en bunke machomænd med dårlig dømmekraft, tilsat en enkelt kvindelig rolle, den ambitiøse tv-journalist Gracie Logan.

En biblioteksbog, læst som del af min 2010 Global Reading Challenge, Antarktis.

Syntes jeg om den? Nej, men jeg fik den læst, og jeg tror egentlig, den er en ganske god roman af slagsen.

onsdag den 5. maj 2010

DJ´s Bait in the Box # 64

A thriller from far away.

“Just then, another wall of ice crumbled behind her and collapsed on itself, crackling like distant thunder. She turned away from the camera and watched as the entire cliff plummeted into the gray-blue water and disappeared in an angry eruption of spray.

Perfect timing, she thought with a glimmer of satisfaction, a brief respite from the solemnity she´d been feeling since she´d arrived on the ship the day before.”

The Rules:

If you recognize the quotation, or if you think you are able to guess who wrote it, please post a comment. Just leave a hint, do not spoil the fun by giving too much away. The book will be reviewed Friday as usual.

DJ´s gæt en bog # 63.
En spændingsroman som blandt andet foregår ved verdens ende.

”I samme nu brækkede endnu en isblok af bag hende og knustes under sin egen vægt med en buldren som fjern torden. Hun vendte sig væk fra kameraet og så hele isvæggen styrte ned i det gråblå vand og forsvinde i en voldsom kaskade af vandsprøjt.

Det helt rigtige tidspunkt, tænkte hun med en vis tilfredshed – et lille pusterum fra den dybe alvor, som hun havde følt siden sin ankomst med skibet dagen før.”

Hvis du kan genkende citatet, eller hvis du tror du kan gætte hvem forfatteren er, så læg venligst en kommentar. Skriv bare et hint til nye besøgende, lad være med at ødelægge fornøjelsen for andre. Bogen bliver anmeldt på fredag.

tirsdag den 4. maj 2010

Kaaberbøl & Friis, Drengen i kufferten (2008)

Denne danske spændingsroman er Lene Kaaberbøls første inden for krimigenren, og den er Agnete Friis´ debut som skønlitterær forfatter.

Efter den første lille godbid om Karin, som bliver bedt om at hente en mystisk kuffert og finder en bevidstløs lille dreng i den, var jeg en smule forbeholden, fordi forfatterparret zapper hastigt rundt mellem fire forskellige steder og synsvinkler i henholdsvis Danmark og Lithauen på mindre end tyve sider. Det kræver sin læser at holde tungen lige i munden.

Derefter begynder vi så at lære lille Mikas og Karins veninde, Røde Kors-sygeplejersken Nina Borg, at kende. Nina, som aldrig kan nære sig, så længe der er mennesker, som skal reddes, men som har forbløffende svært ved at håndtere sin egen lille familie. Indtil læseren begynder at forstå.

Samtidig møder vi velhavende Jan i den arkitekttegnede villa, som naboerne kalder Fortet, og lithaueren Jucas, som næsten er klar til at falde til ro i Polen med sin kæreste. Han skal bare lige ordne en lille forretning først.

Der er imidlertid intet, der går som planlagt, og over trehundrede sider får vi lige så stille de vigtige personer ind under huden, især Nina Borg (en hovedperson, jeg virkelig gerne vil møde igen) og Mikas´ mor, mens et nervepirrende plot udspiller sig hen over siderne, uden at troværdigheden på noget tidspunkt går tabt, og helt uden den ulækre kælen for død og lemlæstelse, som nogle thrillerforfattere forfalder til.

Bogen er en biblioteksbog, og huskede jeg at fortælle, at det er den bedste danske thriller, jeg nogen sinde har læst?

Kaaberbøl and Friis, The Suitcase Boy

- this one may be on its way to American readers -

This Danish thriller is Lene Kaaberbøl´s first crime novel, but she is well established as a writer of children´s books, whereas it is Agnete Friis´ debut. It has not been translated into English yet, but I think it will be!

After a captivating opening scene with Karin, who is asked to pick up a mysterious suitcase and finds a little, unconscious boy in it, I was a bit sceptical because the authors zap around among four different settings and points of view in Denmark and Lithuania over less than twenty pages.

But after this breathless opening we get to know little Mikas and Karin´s friend, the Red Cross nurse Nina Borg. Nina who can never resist saving people but struggles surprisingly hard to cope with her own little family. Until the reader begins to understand.

At the same time we meet affluent Jan in the architect-designed villa – which the neighbours call The Fort – and the Lithuanian Jucas who is almost ready to settle down in Poland with his girlfriend. He just has to finish this last business …

Nothing goes according to plan, and over three hundred pages we get the main characters under our skin, especially Nina Borg (a protagonist I am very keen to meet again) and Mikas´ mother, while an excellent plot unfolds, completely free of the uncanny cultivation of death and mutilation some thriller writers indulge in.

The book is from the library, and did I remember to mention that this is probably the best Danish thriller I have ever read?

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 # 2

mandag den 3. maj 2010

Camilla Läckberg, Tyskungen (2007)

Dette er femte bind i den svenske Fjällbacka-serie om Erica og Patrick. Den danske udgave, Tyskerungen, udkom i 2009.

På første side har Läckberg lagt lokkemad ud i form af en meget livlig sværm af fluer i selskab med et meget dødt lig med et sår i hovedet.

Straks efter oplever vi et gensyn med nygifte Erica Falck, som glæder sig til en rolig og uforstyrret skriveperiode, mens Patrick har forældreorlov for at gå hjemme og passe lille Maja. Erica har en deadline på sin næste bog, men har svært ved at lade de stilehæfter ligge, hun har fundet på loftet, skrevet af moderen i 1943.

Mordofferet Erik Frankel og hans bror Axel var stærkt interesserede i historie og i at optrævle nazitiden, og den nationalistiske forening Sveriges Venner så deres virksomhed som en provokation. Personalet på Tanumshede politistation, nu med forstærkning af chilensk-fødte Paula Morales, gør deres bedste for at opklare sagen, og da noget tyder på, at Mellberg og Gösta er i bedre form end nogensinde før, gør de visse fremskridt på egen hånd. Helt klare elementære mordundersøgelser kan de dog ikke, så Patrick stiller velvilligt op med Maja i barnevognen, når som helst han har mulighed for det. Erica, som selv har kedet sig bravt gennem et helt år i selskab med Maja, er dog ikke meget for at lade Patrick kaste sig ud i noget som helst andet end at tale babysprog og passe hus og hjem. Desuden vil hun gerne blande sig i mordsagen, da Frankelbrødrene og en af politiets mistænkte var nære venner af Elsy, Ericas mor, under krigen.

Sideløbende med nutiden får vi afsnit fra perioden 1943-45 om Frankel-brødrene og Elsys dramatiske oplevelser, og som Läckberg lægger op til i sin fjerde bog om Erica, er det meningen, at vi skal få en større forståelse for Anna og Ericas følelseskolde mor. Konflikter mellem forældre og børn er i det hele taget et gennemgående tema i bogen. Plottet er udmærket tilrettelagt, men begge historier udvikler sig dog noget langsomt, og Ericas privatliv fylder som sædvanlig rigtig meget.

Advarsel: hvis du er allergisk over for bløde mænd, bleer og barselsorlov, så hold dig langt fra denne roman! Men ellers er der vel kun at sige, at Läckberg følger sin sædvanlige femikrimi-opskrift.

Jeg har selv købt den svenske paperback.

Camilla Läckberg, The German Brat.

This is the fifth volume in the Swedish Fjällbacka series about Erica and Patrick. It has not been translated into English yet.

On the first page Läckberg has put out bait in the form of a lively swarm of flies surrounding a very dead body with a head wound.

Soon after we are reunited with newly-wed Erica Falck who is looking forward to a quiet, undisturbed period of writing while Patrick is on parental leave with little Maja. Erica is on a deadline for her new book, but it is difficult for her to stay away from the exercise books she found in the attic, written by her mother in 1943.

The murder victim Erik Frankel and his brother Axel were highly interested in history and in unraveling the Nazi period, and the nationalistic union Friends of Sweden saw their activity as a provocation. The staff at Tanumshede police station, now reinforced by Chilean Paula Morales, do their best to solve the case, and as Mellberg and Gösta seem in better shape than earlier, they make progress of a kind. They are not quite ready to cope on their own, however, so Patrick volunteers with Maja in her pram whenever he has a chance. Erica who has been bored stiff through a year in the company of Maja is not keen on letting Patrick engage in anything but baby talk and nappies. Besides she tries to get in on the murder case herself as the Frankel brothers and one of the suspects were close friends of Elsy, Erica´s mother, during the war.

Parallel with the modern case we get passages from 1943-45 about the dramatic experiences of Elsy and her friends, and as Läckberg promises in her fourth book about Erica, the intension is to give the reader some kind of sympathy with Anna and Erica´s cold and distant mother. Conflicts between parents and children is a recurrent theme in the book. The plot is well-planned, but both stories evolve rather slowly, and as usual Erica´s private life take up much space.

Warning: if you are allergic to soft men, nappies and parental leave, stay clear of this novel! This is a standard Läckberg, also called Scandinavian femikrimi.

I bought the Swedish paperback myself.

Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 # 1

lørdag den 1. maj 2010

April - mowing forward or back?

When it comes to reading, April was a very successful month. I reviewed eleven novels, most of them excellent books I enjoyed a lot.

On the other hand, I have wasted much time on computer problems and other time consuming activities lately, and instead of writing fiction, I have moved backwards, so to speak. I am in the process of editing a Danish manuscript, and this week I have removed c 500 words (if I am not mistaken, I have removed quantity and added to the quality, but who knows).

But I have also made some decisions about the plot and my protagonist so thanks to you I think I am on the right track.

And when it comes to my reading challenges, things are going so well that I have decided to join a fourth, The Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010, hosted by Amy of The Black Sheep Dances. (Well, it shouldn´t be too difficult either, after two days with a sore throat I have read half of the six novels).

What´s in a Name Challenge:
1. Food: Pierre Magnan, Death in The Truffle Wood. READ
2. Body of water: Paul Cleave, Cemetery Lake READ
3. A title: Colin Cotterill, The Coroner´s Lunch (TBR)
4. A plant: Thomas Cook, Red Leaves (TBR)
5. Place name: Matt B Rees, The Bethlehem Murders READ
6. Music term:Margot Kinberg, B-very Flat READ

2010 Global Reading Challenge:
1) YabaBadoe, True Murder, Ghana (TBR)
2) ?

1) Shamini Flint, Inspector Singh Investigates (TBR)
2) Matt B Rees, The Bethlehem Murders READ

1) Paul Cleave, Cemetery Lake, NZ READ
2) Peter Temple, Bad Debts – Australia READ

1) James Thompson, Snow Angels READ
2) Simone Van der Vlugt, Reunion READ

North America:
1) Megan Abbott, Bury Me Deep, USA READ
2) Vicki Delaney, Valley of the Lost, Canada READ

South America:
1) Leighton Gage, Blood of the Wicked, Brazil (TBR)
2) ?

1) Raymond Khoury, The Sign (TBR)
2) ?

2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge
1. Donna Moore, Old Dogs – cozy caper – READ
2. M.C. Beaton, Death of an Outsider – READ
3. Louise Doughty, Honey-Dew – READ
4. Pierre Magnan, The Murdered House TBR
5. Rebecca Tope, Death in the Cotswolds TBR
6. ?