New Readers: Start Here

Dear new Nordic Noir reader, welcome! Here is your reading list to begin your journey into Nordic Noir.

As with any genre, there are a few key readers whose works define it, and will give you a sense of whether or not this genre is for you. The best books to begin with are: 

  • Jo NesbøTHE BAT
    • The first in Nesbø's definitive Harry Hole series. The series undeniably improves as it progresses, but I'm a traditionalist when it comes to series-reading. Start here for your introduction to Harry, and a taste of the writing style that makes Nesbø my favorite author. (If you feel adventurous and want to skip ahead, my favorite in the series is book 7, THE SNOWMAN.) Retail info here.
  • Henning Mankell, FACELESS KILLERS
    • Meet Inspector Kurt Wallander, Mankell's iconic character who has inspired numerous TV series. Retail info here.
  • Stieg Larsson, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
    • The book that brought Nordic Noir to the forefront in America. You just can't beat Lisbeth Salander. Retail info here.
  • Camilla Läckberg, THE ICE PRINCESS
    • Some might argue with Lackberg's role as a genre-defining author, but I have seen her influence throughout newer Scandinavian crime writing. The first in a fantastic series with a heart-warming humanity at its core. Retail info here.
  • Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, ROSEANNA
    • The godparents of Nordic Noir. The duo's ROSEANNA is a definitive police procedural which has inspired countless Scandinavian crime writers. Retail info here.

Seasoned Readers: Start Here

Fans of Nordic Noir - I'm thrilled to meet you! This subgenre is so exciting because it's always evolving, with new talent cropping up every day. You already know you love this genre, so you're ready to continue exploring Scandinavia's rising stars and authors to watch. Your reading list here:

  • Erik Axl Sund, THE CROW GIRL
    • Arguably my favorite book of all time. Originally a Swedish trilogy, now releasing June 2016 as a single book. An epic story of violence, abuse, mental illness, and redemption. Retail info here.
  • Thomas Enger, BURNED
    • Enger's fantastic Norwegian crime series became an instant-favorite for me. BURNED is Book 1 in the series; my favorite book in the series is Book 2, PIERCED. I do recommend reading these in order. Retail info here.
  • Sara BlaedelTHE FORGOTTEN GIRLS
    • Denmark's Queen of Crime Fiction is growing in popularity in the US. Though not the first in her series, THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS is a gripping introduction to Blaedel's detail-oriented, investigation-heavy style of crime writing. Retail info here.
  • Agnes Ravatn, THE BIRD TRIBUNAL
    • A lyrical, haunting Nordic twist on a domestic thriller. You won't read another piece of Scandinavian crime like this one. Retail info here.
  • Ragnar JonassonSNOWBLIND
    • Ragnar's Dark Iceland series is taking the world by storm. Optioned for a TV show, this series is deeply influenced by classic mystery writing, and introduces readers to Icelandic crime fiction. Retail info here.