More than 850 book reviews

Detective Stories rss

A Swedish thriller without crazed serial killers(0)

June 26, 2017

The Lost Boy (Fjällbacka #7), by Camilla Läckberg @@@@@ (5 out of 5) If you read Scandinavian noir but have had your fill of deranged serial killers, pick up a copy of The Lost Boy by Camilla Läckberg. Like the preceding novels in her bestselling Fjällbacka series, The Lost Boy shines with in-depth characterization and complex plotting that offers surprises to… Read More ›

Child soldiers, bank fraud, and eccentric police in a Danish thriller

The Marco Effect (Department Q #5), by Jussi Adler-Olsen @@@@ (4 out of 5) In a region of Cameroon populated by people outsiders call pygmies, a Danish development project has gone off the rails. Then, shortly after a visitor from the Danish foreign ministry is glimpsed on a visit, the local liaison between the project and the… Read More ›

Pedophiles, serial murder, and the Holocaust in a Swedish psychological thriller

The Crow Girl: A Novel, by Erik Axl Sund @@@@ (4 out of 5) If you favor mysteries and thrillers full of surprises, you’ll love The Crow Girl by the Swedish writing team that publishes under the name Erik Axl Sund. No matter how shrewd and analytical you might be, I predict that you won’t… Read More ›

Biowarfare, white supremacists, and a Hollywood star in the new Sara Paretsky

Fallout (V. I. Warshawski #19), by Sara Paretsky @@@ (3 out of 5) In the course of 18 novels by the redoubtable mystery writer Sara Paretsky, courageous Chicago detective V.I. (Vic) Warshawski has come face to face with corruption both public and private in her quixotic crusade to clean up her hometown—and get a life… Read More ›

An Edinburgh brothel, an honest MP, and two murders in another great Inspector Rebus mystery

Strip Jack (Inspector Rebus #4), by Ian Rankin @@@@ (4 out of 5) In Ian Rankin’s Strip Jack, the fourth novel in his long-running murder mystery series, the newly promoted Edinburgh police Inspector John Rebus is decidedly unenthusiastic about the latest assignment from his sanctimonious boss, Chief Superintendent “Farmer” Watson. Rebus is ordered to join… Read More ›

The “best Norwegian crime novel” is set in Minnesota

The Land of Dreams (Minnesota Trilogy #1), by Vidar Sundstøl @@@@ (4 out of 5) Some 4.6 million Norwegian-Americans live in the United States, about half of them in the Upper Midwest. Nearly 900,000 can be found in Minnesota alone. These numbers compare with the total of 5.3 million people who live in Norway proper…. Read More ›

Donna Leon’s latest is not “one of her best”

Earthly Remains (Commissario Brunetti #26), by Donna Leon @@ (2 out of 5) For some reason I cannot fathom, Marilyn Stasio raved about Earthly Remains. Stasio has been editing a column on crime fiction for the New York Times Book Review—forever, it seems. Her recommendations are often good. But this one wasn’t. She called this… Read More ›

A Nazi medal in Sweden triggers a journey into the past

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck #5), by Camilla Läckberg @@@@ (4 out of 5) Once upon a time French classicists derived the principles of drama from Aristotle’s Poetics, proclaiming the “three unities.” This restrictive concept required that a play depict only a single action that takes place in a single location within… Read More ›

Inspector Rebus goes to London to catch a serial murderer

Tooth and Nail (Inspector Rebus #3), by Ian Rankin @@@@ (4 out of 5) A serial murderer dubbed The Wolfman by the press has killed and mutilated three women in London, one a month. The pressure is on the police to catch the killer before panic spreads further. Now, someone at New Scotland Yard has… Read More ›

A right-wing politician is murdered on the streets of Oslo

Chameleon People (K2 and Patricia #4), by Hans Olav Lahlum @@@ (3 out of 5) An Oslo police detective known as K2 is startled one Saturday evening when a boy of about 15 frantically rushes through his apartment door and surrenders himself just moments ahead of the police officers who are chasing him. It soon… Read More ›