Of course, we had to include the latest book in the series as #1 on our list! In The Girl who Takes an Eye for an Eye, we find Lisbeth in the secure unit of a corrupt women’s prison. But instead of feeling like a punishment, Lisbeth actually finds safety and opportunity within the walls of the inmate-run prison. Still in touch with Blomkvist, the pair are getting closer to solving some of the mysteries from Lisbeth’s past, as well as an important expose for Millennium.
If you enjoyed David’s first venture into Lisbeth Salander’s world – The Girl in the Spider’s Web – then you can’t miss out on his follow-up!
Camilla Lackberg is often described as Europe’s Queen of Crime by fans, and with good reason. Her Patrick Hedstrom and Erica Falck series is set in the Swedish town of Fjallbacka, where we meet writer Erica Falck as she returns to her hometown after the death of her parents in a car crash. While Erica is sorting her parents’ affairs, her childhood friend Alex is discovered dead in an ice cold bath with her wrists cut. Alex’s parents ask Erica to write a memoir for their daughter, fuelling Erica to dig deeper into her friend’s past and the mystery leading up to her death. When she finally teams up with local detective Patrik Hedstrom, their suspicions lead them to the deeply disturbing history of their hometown.
The strong back stories of Camilla Lackberg’s characters remind us of reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the first time, and the suspense throughout this thriller is sure to hook Larsson fans.
Norweigan writer Samuel Bjork was an exciting new voice to emerge in 2016 with the release of his debut in the Munch and Krüger series; I’m Travelling Alone. The story kicks off with the discovery of a young girl hanging from a tree with an airline tag around her neck reading ‘I’m travelling alone’. Police investigator Holger Munch is assembling a special homicide unit in response, but he needs his talented old partner Mia Kruger on his side to get to the bottom of things. Deeply troubled and on the brink of suicide, Mia’s heart isn’t exactly in the case. But then she finds a tiny number one carved into the dead girl’s fingernail, and realises that more children are in danger.
Gripping and thought-provoking, Munch and Krüger are just what we need to fill the void left by Salander and Blomkvist.
If there’s one writer that every Stieg Larsson fan needs to get on their bookshelf then it has to be Jo Nesbo. His Harry Hole series is mostly set in Jo’s Norwegian hometown of Oslo where Hole takes on complex and violent cases, often with female victims.
In The Snowman, Harry is confronted with a serial killer who seems to be targeting women. A mother goes missing in the night, leaving a scarf around the neck of a snowman in the garden. Not long after, another woman disappears. It’s a race against time to find out who is behind the disappearances, before someone else is taken.
Dark Places really takes the notion of a troubled past and runs with it, as we meet Libby Day whose family was massacred by her old brother while she hid in a cupboard when she was seven years old. The ‘Libby Day fund’ has kept her going over the last 20 years, but now that money is starting to run out she agrees to do a paid guest appearance. The Kill Club are obsessed with true crime, often discussing the evidence behind notorious murders within their group, and when they book Libby for a guest appearance they reveal that they believe her brother was innocent. Libby’s left with no choice but to re-open her family’s painful history and get to the truth.
Walter Lucius’s debut novel – Butterfly on the Storm – is the first in the fast-paced and thrilling Heartland Trilogy. Discovering that a powerful international crime syndicate may be involved in a hit-and-run on an Afghan boy in Amsterdam, journalist Farah Hafez and her colleague Paul Chapelle begin an investigation that takes them on a perilous journey to Moscow.
A complex political thriller with strong characters and a layered plot, we think fans of the Millennium series will be rightly impressed by this trilogy.
Michel Bussi is a master of twisting plots filled with riddles and mystery, and in his latest novel – Black Water Lilies – he crafts a story around the death of a man in a stream where Claude Monet created his famous paintings. A postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies is found in his pocket. Three women are connected to the mystery, each feeling trapped in their environments but unable to leave. One is an eleven year old painting prodigy, another is a seductive schoolteacher close to cheating on her husband, and the third is an old widow who observes the village from afar. But what do they know about the man found dead? And how are the rumours about a lost Monet painting connected?
We have genuinely seen one reviewer call this ‘dragon tattoo with time travel’ and we can definitely see where they’re coming from. The story involves a house that allows serial killer Harper Curtis to travel through time to spy on his victims at different periods of their lives, before eventually brutally killing them. One girl, however, survives and begins investigating her would-be killer. But what she finds couldn’t have happened; it’s impossible… isn’t it?
With fascinating characters and a compelling story, we think Larsson fans will be gripped by this critically-acclaimed book.
The Thora Gudmundsdottir series by Yrsa Sigurdardottir is definitely worth giving a read if you’re looking for a tough female lead who can keep you gripped throughout. Thora is an attorney with a difficult personal life and two children to look after. When a young history student is found brutally murdered, his wealthy German family want answers. They don’t agree with the police who think that their son’s drug dealer is responsible, and so they commission Thora to get to the bottom of things, along with boorish ex-policeman Matthew Reich. As they descend into a gruesome and disturbing thread of Iceland’s history, discovering more about torture and witchcraft along the way, they come dangerously close to a killer with an obsession.
If you’re looking for another investigative journalist delving into a tangled web of secrets then Night Film should definitely be on your list. When Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse, her death is treated as a suicide. Disgraced journalist Scott McGrath is suspicious, and when he realises the girl’s father is reclusive film director Stanislas Cordova – who Scott has had trouble with before – he digs deeper into the mystery surrounding him. Madness, mysterious deaths and disappearances follow Cordova’s every move, and Scott will have to play with fire to find out what’s really going on here.
Although the third in the Detective Erlendur series, Jar City was the first of Arnaldur Indrioason’s novels to be translated into English and to introduce many of us to this exciting Icelandic writer. The story begins with the murder of an elderly man in his flat, found with a cryptic message and a photograph of a grave on his body. Detective Erlendur searches into the past and finds a forty year old accusation against the old man which never resulted in a conviction. Delving further and further into the shadows, the detective uncovers more carefully guarded secrets that lead him to Iceland’s Genetic Research Centre and some of the most disturbing secrets yet.
Dark, layered and puzzling, this story focuses on the investigation and keeps you racking your brains to figure out what’s going on.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow was Peter Hoeg’s international breakout novel, offering an unusual take on Scandinavian crime. Smilla Jaspersen is a lonely singleton in her late thirties with a chip on her shoulder. When a little boy in her apartment block apparently falls from the roof and dies however, Smilla notices some clues that don’t quite add up, and takes it upon herself to find out what really happened. Straying into a dangerous and male-dominated world, Smilla is forced to stand up to intimidation and assault with an attitude reminiscent of Lisbeth Salander. Atmospheric, intriguing and tightly plotted, we couldn’t recommend books for Stieg Larsson fans without including this one.
A painful mystery in Ella’s family’s past has had a hold on Ella ever since. When her sister Miranda disappeared ten years ago leaving her baby behind, Ella did her best to hold it together for her young nephew. But now that new evidence has emerged suggesting that Miranda may have been linked to a man already in prison for the murders of several women, Ella is desperate to know the truth. Even if it means coming face to face with a dangerous killer.
Exploring family relationships and the ways loss can change us, this is a deep and chilling story that will keep you in suspense until the end.
If you like your stories dark and bleak, then the third in the Nina Borg series – Death of a Nightingale – would be right up your street. Ukranian Natasha Doroshenko is arrested for murdering her Danish fiancé, but before she can be interrogated she manages to escape. When her fiancé’s tortured body is later found in a car with striking similarities to Natasha’s first husband’s death, the police step up their search for her. But Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg just can’t imagine that the young mother who once took refuge at Nina’s crisis centre could be capable of murder. With roots going back to a terrible famine in 1934 Stalinist Ukraine, it seems there’s a lot about Natasha that Nina doesn’t understand.
A.R. Torre’s first in the Deanna Madden series introduces us to a reclusive web cam girl who has shut herself away from the world to protect others from herself. She’s earning good money from her work, and her clients’ secret fantasies and desires are acting as a good distraction from her own secret obsession. But then a little girl goes missing and the story is all over the news. The circumstances are chillingly similar to one Deanna’s clients’ fantasies, but no one will listen to Deanna’s concerns. Compelled to do something, she leaves 6E for the first time in three years, and takes matters into her own hands.
Dark, captivating and gruesome, The Girl in 6E offers a heroine as twisted as Lisbeth Salander but with that same sense of personal morals that will keep you rooting for her.