STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indridason

Arnaldur Indridason’s most recent novel available in English, STRANGE SHORES, is the most thoughtful, subtle and sympathetic portrait of Reykjavik Police Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson I have read. The author shines an intimate searching light on the seasoned, somewhat curmudgeon, Erlendur, and a tragedy in his past that “convinced [him] there and then that he would never be a happy man.” On vacation in the village of his childhood, situated in a remote part of the eastern region of Iceland, Erlendur cannot escape the long lost or suppressed memories of two disappearances that of his young brother in one of the sudden vicious storms and of a young woman in another.

February 22, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Iceland, Sleuths Series

CHILD WONDER by Roy Jacobsen

Navigating that shaky bridge between childhood and adulthood is never easy, particularly in 1961 – a time when “men became boys and housewives women,” a year when Yuri Gargarin is poised to conquer space and when the world is on the cusp of change.

Into this moment of time, Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen shines a laser light on young Finn and his mother Gerd, who live in the projects of Oslo. Fate has not been kind to them: Gerd’s husband, a crane operator, divorced her and then died in an accident, leaving the family in a financially precarious position. To make ends meet, she works in a shoe store and runs an ad for a lodger for extra money.

September 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Facing History, Family Matters, Norway, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Danish Detective Carl Morck is a walking tormented shell of his former self. Recently returned to work, he is living with post-traumatic stress disorder following an incident that ended with the shooting death of one of his colleagues and a shot that paralyzed his friend, Detective Hardy. Morck was also injured by a shot to the head. So far the perpetrators have not been found and Morck lives with survivor’s guilt. He is difficult to get along with, often late to work, and no longer has his heart in his work.

September 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Denmark, Drift-of-Life, Noir, Sleuths Series

BAD INTENTIONS by Karin Fossum

Karin Fossum’s BAD INTENTIONS is about three friends, now in their twenties, who have known each other since they were six. On the surface, Axel Frimann is by far the most successful. He is well-spoken, good-looking, nicely dressed, and drives a Mercedes; his job at an advertising agency pays well. Philip Reilly, on the other hand, is disheveled, has long, stringy hair (“he looked like a troll from a fairy tale”), and spends a portion of his small salary as a hospital porter getting high. The third member of the trio is Jon Moreno.

August 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Norway, Psychological Suspense, Sleuths Series, Translated, y Award Winning Author

YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUESTED AT SUVANTO by Maile Chapman

Nestled in the pristine Finnish woods is a sanatorium for women. It’s the 1920s and medicine and its accompanying attitudes towards women’s health is moving from Victorian ideas to more modern methods of treatment, but those shifts have not yet reached the women’s hospital at Suvanto. This vast multistoried building is still part spa for the wealthy wives of the male employees for the local timber company, and part hospital for the poor. This is a building with sharp physical and mental divisions between staff and patients and also between the patients themselves. The poor patients–those who are considered “really” ill are kept on the bottom floors, while the convalescing wives of the timber employees, called the “up-patients” lodge on the 5th floor.

July 15, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Finland, Mystery/Suspense, Unique Narrative

MISTERIOSO by Arne Dahl

MISTERIOSO by Arne Dahl is a unique and wonderful book. It is part mystery, part police procedural, part existential philosophy and part comedy. There is something so distinctive about this book that it resists categorization. On the surface, it is a mystery but so much of the novel lies below the surface, getting into the characters’ minds and thoughts as they live their lives and work at trying to catch a serial killer.

The title of the book comes from a piece of music composed by Thelonius Monk, a famous American jazz pianist and composer, now deceased. There is a serial killer on the loose in Sweden who is killing very rich and powerful men. The killer waits for his prey in the victim’s living room listening to Monk’s Misterioso on the stereo and when the victim arrives he is shot in the head two times. The killer views the music as “a pantomime, a peculiar dance of death.” The Swedish police put together what they call an A-Team to find this killer.

July 13, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense, Sweden, Translated, World Lit