Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Swedish Authors, part 4

Arne Dahl (nom de plume for Jan Arnald) is a Swedish writer, best known for his now crime fiction. 10 books about a special elite force within the Swedish police called the A-group. This series has been translated into so far 10 languages, and the English speaking market will at last be enjoying his books sometime during 2008.

Arne Dahl is one of those, sadly rare, crime writers that actually write well, extremely well at that, at the same time as he truly masters the suspense novel genre. His books are perhaps unusually hardcore for being Swedish crime fiction, the plots are both extremely inventive as well as pretty gruesome. What makes the books very special - and make for a great read! - is the unique mix of well-writteness, humour, politics, social criticism, depth of multi facetted characters, wittiness. And all this mostly takes place in and around Stockholm.

Just as with the books by Stieg Larsson the part of the book puzzle that's Stockholm makes for an extra appealing edge to the book, for us Stockholmers anyway, since you as a reader can follow the events, places, comings and goings on a very personal level. Here's the walking path and the bench where the beheaded man was found, here's the cemetery where that man was shot, here's the café where they had that meeting, here's the house where that villain lived, here's the subway station where the bomb exploded...

And the book which involved that latter mentioned bomb was the ninth book in the series, the latest one I've read - since I'm a great fan of paperbacks I always wait until the paperback edition is published, I'm patient that way. Very patient... - and the very second last book of the whole series, Efterskalv /Aftershock.

Arne Dahl is one of my favourite writers and I'm always eagerly awaiting his next book in the series - and what ever will I do when the last one, the 10th book is published in paperback, bought, read and finished...? - I get completely absorbed and I finish reading it oh too soon. Can't wait to see how he skillfully masters to weave together the different stories/mysteries that his books always consists of.

However. This book was probably the one I liked the least of the so far nine reads. I felt the plot being rather strained, even if it was in part a nail-biting read. And the ending was, as far as I'm concerned, such a disappointing slapdash of an anticlimax. Alas, just not the briliant highquality in details read I'm used to, so looking forward to when I pick up an Arne Dahl book.

The books can be read in a non-chronological order, but since the personal lives of the main characters play an important part of the series I very much recommend a chronological read. If the translation is good, you will definitely not regret it! Until the books are published in English you can get a morsel of them at the writer's website

A Swedish production company has bought the movie-rights, the scheduled filming still remains unknown as do the actors. Fingers crossed the movie-series will do justice to the books...

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