Archive for June 23, 2009

>THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE

Posted: June 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

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Yesterday I blithely eliminated authors with two International Daggers, two Nordic Glass Keys and a British CWA Gold Dagger between them from consideration for the 2009 International Dagger.

Today I will decide between books by Karin Alvtegen, Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo and Johan Theorin.
Next year 2010 I have a feeling that Larsson, Nesbo and Theorin will be the main contenders again, but here goes for 2009. Feel free to tell me I am wrong, I am used to it.
Firstly any one of the four books [see links to reviews here] would be a worthy winner, but I have to be hypercritical to eliminate contenders.

Shadow by Karin Alvetegen, is a bit predictable and the basic plot is a little bit derivative. It is still a brilliant read if a bit bleak.
The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo, I don’t think is quite as good as some of his other books but with Nesbo that means 9/10 as opposed to his usual 9.5/10.

I will therefore be very harsh and eliminate these two books. That leaves the Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire, with the awesome character of Lisbeth Salander, and Echoes From The Dead by Johan Theorin a superbly constructed novel, good characters, atmosphere and a final twist in the story.
I am a bit embarrassed having met Steven Murray and Don Bartlett the charming translators of the other three books, but Echoes From The Dead by Johan Theorin would be my choice.
Johan Theorin won the Nordic Glass Key and Best Swedish Crime Novel for his second book Nattfak this year, and Echoes From The Dead won the Best First Novel in 2008.

There was once a Golden Age of the English Detective Novel and surely we are now in a new Nordic Golden Age of crime fiction.
The interesting point is that where Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Freeman Wills Croft and company constructed plots that were not much more than escapist fantasy to ordinary people, the Nordic writer’s plots are much closer to our everyday experience of life.