I first discovered Nordic Noir the way many Americans did - through the huge success of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. After falling head-over-heels for Larsson's raw and epic storytelling, I found myself inspired to investigate this genre that was so new to me. I then discovered Jo Nesbø, and my love for the genre was cemented. Years later, I am thrilled to now have the platform to share my love for the genre, interact with its authors, and recommend the best of Scandinavian crime fiction to you.
As defined above, Nordic Noir describes a genre of Scandinavian police procedurals featuring dark, violent storylines, urban settings, and a gritty, raw plot. These books are typically centered around a detective or lawyer, and detail a criminal investigation. While authors always put their own unique spin on a focus for their stories (some are more investigation-oriented, while some focus on character development, etc.), any Nordic Noir read is going to draw the reader into a complex, gritty, often violent police investigation.
Current generations of readers will recognize Nordic Noir authors such as the aforementioned Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø, along with Henning Mankell, Camilla Läckberg, Karin Fossum, and more. But the origins of the genre date back many decades, and prove that Nordic Noir is not simply a trend - it's a genre with a long, rich history, and a bright future ahead. The godparents of Nordic Noir are generally agreed to be Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, a writing duo who crafted the infamous Martin Beck stories in the 1960's and 1970's. This duo largely laid the groundwork for the police procedural out of Scandinavia, and inspired generations of talented writers to come. The first book in the Martin Beck series, ROSEANNA, is an excellent introduction to the original Scandinavian police procedural.
Building on the foundation laid by Sjöwall and Wahlöö, Henning Mankell quickly became Nordic Noir's grandfather. Mankell's Wallander novels have reached dizzying heights of international acclaim and popularity - you might recognize the name from the BBC series.
The ranks of today's Nordic Noir authors are ever-expanding, with many of the "greats" still producing excellent novels, and new talent cropping up at a dizzying rate. It has been my absolute pleasure to begin developing connections to many of the genre's rising stars, and I will be sharing my reviews and interviews through the respective pages within my Expert Witness: Nordic Noir folder. If you are interested in my recommended Nordic Noir reading list, check out my book recommendations page here for individual lists for new and seasoned Nordic Noir readers.