6 Chilling Scandi Noir Reads

Sparsely populated, snowy old towns and a murder mystery waiting to be solved are all elements that make for a Scandinavian thrill. With the bleak backdrop ...
6 Chilling Scandi Noir Reads

The Ice Swimmer

by Kjell Ola Dahl

In Oslo, the dead body of a man is pulled out of the harbour’s freezing waters right before Christmas and complicates Detective Lena Stigersand’s already stressful life. As she unravels the threads of the mystery, she finds it may be too close to her own life for comfort. A political conspiracy with solid thriller elements, with the added tension of a murder investigation, this deliciously dark and nail-bitingly tense Nordic Noir read will keep you on the edge of your seat as you sail through the pages. Dahl’s writing is crisp and intense, which brings the eerie atmosphere to a head. This fast-paced novel is the perfect partner for a particularly dreary summer afternoon.

The Lonely Ones

by Håkan Nesser

Replete with Nesser’s signature suspense and sense of foreboding, the book follows Detective Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti as he tries to solve the mysterious death of a lecturer from Sweden’s Lund University at the bottom of a cliff. Strange clues turn up, the more he delves into the case. Stranger yet is the fact that a student from Uppsala University died in the same way, at the same spot, around 35 years ago, bringing dark suspicions to the forefront of the story. Racy with spine-chilling twists, The Lonely Ones is a book that comes from one of the best writers of the genre with all the makings of a fun and thrilling read to lose yourself in.

The Lost Village

by Camilla Sten

The constant, prickling dread of being watched is the feeling that this novel induces. This is a thriller worth your time and attention, and Camilla Sten does a brilliant job of keeping you guessing if it is horror or thriller in this dazzling debut novel. Set in Sweden, the story follows Alice Lindstedt, a documentary filmmaker, and her crew on their journey to an abandoned mining town or “The Lost Village,” where her grandmother’s entire family, along with all the other residents there, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Reminiscent of “The Blair Witch Project,” this book is thoroughly engrossing with an atmospheric setting.

Smilla’s Sense Of Snow

by Peter Høeg

When Smilla Jaspersen learns that her neighbour, a six-year-old boy and her only friend, has fallen to his death from his apartment building, her intuition signals foul play. Mourning her loss she puts her mind to work. Smilla’s superpower is that she can read snow, and she sets out to use it to unearth secrets the police miss. Danish novelist Peter Hoeg takes the reader in through the opening scene with his unassuming writing, filled with a quiet tension and constant actions, that would keep you hooked till the very last page. This action-packed novel weaves in social critique and historical context flawlessly and is satisfyingly gripping.

The Chestnut Man

by Søren Sveistrup

If you find a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts, you are dead. Now a Netflix series, Søren Sveistrup’s brilliantly written masterpiece chases a psychopath’s terror reign through Copenhagen, who leaves these sinister souvenirs at his crime scenes. When the fingerprint of a young girl murdered a year ago is unearthed at one of the crime scenes, a pair of detectives must put aside their very different personalities and come together to put an end to these gruesome killings plaguing their city. Fast-paced and sensational, you might need to set aside an uninterrupted window of time to get through with this absolutely unputdownable piece of fiction.

The Midnight Witness

by Sara Blaedel

The Midnight Witness might be the perfect start if you are new to Scandinavian crime fiction. Detective Louise Rick is headstrong and fierce, the kind of protagonist that you would want to steer you in the right direction and find answers. But before she can solve her assigned case of a young girl who was found strangled, she gets embroiled in another: the murder of her best friend’s acquaintance. Blaedel’s writing is sparse, and her characters are rich. Her pairing of level-headed Detective Louise Rick and her slightly impulsive crime reporter best friend Camilla Lind is a shining example of detailed character sketches and impeccable research.

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