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If you raced through Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy and can’t wait for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”to be released in theaters this winter, you don't have to worry: There's plenty more where that came from.
Stieg Larsson's books weren't anomalies, but rather part of a larger trend of Scandinavian crime novels that have been taking Europe by storm for over a decade. Thanks to the success of “Dragon Tattoo,” these books are finally being released in English by the droves. What better way to cool off this summer than with chilling crime novels set in the frosty towns of Northern Europe?
The Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell
Wallander, the protagonist in Henning Mankell's popular crime series, is a middle-aged cop in a small town in southern Sweden. Wallander has a less than ideal personal life, but his detective skills are top-notch. Despite what can only be described as an overindulgence of alcohol, he brilliantly solves a series of shocking murders throughout Sweden. Start out with Faceless Killers, the first Wallander mystery, and work your way up to "The Troubled Man."
‘The Hypnotist’ by Lars Kepler
This book, which has been a sensation in Europe for years, was finally released in English this month, and the reviews are raves. Written under a pseudonym by a Swedish crime-writing couple, the book follows detective Joona Linna, who uses hypnotism to help question the only survivor of a grisly triple murder: a young boy who's entire family was killed before his very eyes. You won't be able to put it down.
‘Three Seconds’ by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom
This gritty and fast-paced novel questions the Swedish police force's use of civilians in its operations. Piet Hoffman is a father of two who has been secretly working undercover for the Stockholm police for nine years. As part of an operation, he must get himself sent to a maximum security prison and survive there until he has enough information for the police to move in on a crime ring. The book was named “Best Swedish Crime Novel of 2009,” and the English translation has been praised for sticking close to the original.
The Inspector Van Veeteren series by Hakan Nesser
The protagonist of this series is Inspector Van Veeteren, a detective in the fictitious Scandinavian city of Maardam. In the first novel of the series, “Mind's Eye,” Janek Mitter wakes up one morning with a brutal hangover and finds his wife dead in the bathtub. Despite Mitter's flimsy alibi, Van Veeteren is convinced the case is more complicated than it would seem, and sets out to prove Mitter's innocence. Check out the most recent book in the series, “The Inspector and Silence.”
The Ann Lindell Mysteries by Kjell Eriksson
In the first novel of the series, “The Princess Of Burundi,” Ann Lindell is a policewoman living in Uppsala, Sweden, who must solve the murder of a tropical fish expert who is found dead in the snow. What sets this novel apart isn't so much the details of the crime itself, but rather the psychological insights into the characters, from the suspects to the detectives. The most recent book in the series, “The Hand That Trembles,” is due out in hardback this August.
‘Misterioso: A Crime Novel’ by Arne Dahl
Detective Paul Hjelm must track down a mysterious killer who has been breaking into the homes of Sweden's high-profile business leaders and kills them while playing Thelonious Monk's jazz tune "Misterioso." This is the first novel in Dahl's "Intercrime" series and will hit American bookshelves on July 12.
‘Red Wolf: A Novel’ by Lisa Marklund
Journalist Annika Bengtzon was about to interview a journalist about a long-ago attack on a nearby air base — but before she can, he is found murdered in northern Sweden. Convinced that his death is linked to the attack, Bengtzon begins to investigate his death, which is soon followed by a series of shocking murders.
‘Bad Intentions’ by Karin Fossum
Detective Konrad Sejer must deal with a disturbing new local trend: The bodies of young men keep turning up in nearby lakes. This is a fast-paced thriller that will be released later this August.