6 Scandinavian Thriller Authors To Check Out (Apart From Stieg Larsson)

March 1, 2013


Stieg Larsson might have made thriller lovers turn their attention to the Scandinavian region with his ‘Millennium Series’ but he certainly is not the only author to have come from thence (and unfortunately wrote only three major titles). Indeed Sweden, Norway and Finland have produced a fair crop of thriller writers, many of them as good, and some, we dare say, even better than Larsson. So if you like a touch of Scandinavia in your thriller reading list and are wondering where to head after finishing The Millennium trilogy, here are six authors worth checking out:

1. Henning Mankell

To many, he remains THE Scandinavian crime writer, as he had been making a name for himself even before Stieg Larsson. He is known form grim, and often near-depressing plot lines, often with his most notable character, Kurt Wallander, based in Ystad. Expect not just very classy writing and well woven plots but also reflections on the state of society. This is so Ruth Rendell meets PD James.

Start with: Faceless Killers


2. Jo Nesbo (Pictured Above)

Hailing from Norway, Nesbo has made a name for himself with a series of books involving Harry Hole, a hard-bitten, unorthodox but brilliant investigator. The series is replete with clashes with authority and often extremely grim violence. Not much wit here, but the plots are very well woven. Stuff to keep you awake at nights, turning pages feverishly.

Start with: The Bat


3. Camilla Lackberg

She is not yet forty, but Lackberg is already being hailed by many as the Swedish Agatha Christie. And she is one of those authors who seem to be as interested in the motive of a crime as in its solution, with a good deal of social reference thrown in. She often shows her hand well before the end, but still keeps you riveted because even though you know WHO did it, you just want to read on to see how and if they will get caught. A very classical narrator this, and very different from the more frenetic Nesbo and Wallander, although every bit as grim – and violent- at times.

Start with: The Ice Princess


4. Sjowall and Wahloo

Before Mankell and Larsson, there were Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. This husband and wife combination were perhaps the first authors to draw thriller readers’ attention to Scandinavia with their The Story of a Crime series. Mainly police procedurals, they had detective first grid Martin Beck and his colleagues tackling crime. He is not a happy man, but a brilliant investigator. The series is notable for its crisp writing and well etched out characters – look out for the exchanges between Beck and his colleague, Sten Kollberg.

Start with: Roseanna


5. Asa Larsson

She spent years as a tax lawyer before turning to crime (writing) and struck gold with a compelling character, Rebecka Martinsson, who is also – surprise, surprise – a tax lawyer. But don’t think this is Miss Marple or even Janet Evanovich stuff. Larsson books are studded with violence and often very grisly crimes. They do get solved but we would not recommend reading her books too late at night if you have not a strong heart.

Start with: The Savage Altar


6. Roslund and Hellstrom

Take a journalist and a founder of an organisation to prevent crime and what do you get? Well, some very good thriller writing with both perspectives of a crime being seen. Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom have a knack of writing books that are not just about solving a crime but also what lead to it. Perfect for those who like to see both sides of the story. And get a rollicking good tale in the bargain too.

Start with: Three Seconds


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