Before the pandemic hit, Norway was the next country on my Must Visit list. My ambition was to travel north along the coast from Oslo to the Finnish borders, using the local ferries and stopping off at the towns and villages like Ålesund along the way. At the moment, my travel plans are on hold so, this week, I’m visiting the fictional Norway offered to me in the dark, twisty thrillers that Norwegian writers excel at.
I’ve picked one book from 2013, which kicked off a best-selling series of three novels about the same pair of detectives and one that was a best-seller in Norway last year and was published in English in March 2022.
I’m hoping that both books are good examples of Nordic Noir – tales of dark things done in isolated places by people with demons in their past, hiding among the normal people around them as the police hunt them with grim determination.
‘I’m Travelling Alone‘ by Samuel Bjork (2013)
I bought ‘I’m Travelling Alone’ back in 2017 on the back of some great reviews. It’s sat on my shelves, unread, because each time I pick it up, I wonder if I really want to read about murdered children. I’ve reached the Read It Or Release It point now, so I added it as the letter I in my TBR ABC Challenge.
One of the things that I normally like about Nordic Noir is that, unlike their American counterparts, these books tend not to foster a sort of covert admiration for the twisted competence of the serial killer but focus instead on the impact of the crimes and the courage and logic needed to stop them.
I’m hoping that that’s what I’ll find here and that I’ll want to read the next two books in the series.
‘Reptile Memoirs‘ by Silje Ulstein (2022)
I picked up ‘Reptile Memoirs’ because it has a killer title, an eye-catching cover and it’s a debut novel by a writer not long out of college that has immediately become a best-seller. It also helped that part of the story is set in Ålesund.
I’m hoping for that pulse of energy you get from the first book from a new talent.