Those Who Follow


I like conspiracy thrillers, but it is definitely an art to write them. The trick is to get the reader to believe – at least while they are reading – that this could happen in real life. Then it needs to be suspenseful, have gory details, plenty of cliffhangers, interesting characters and an intricately woven plot. I must say I am impressed; this is a really good conspiracy thriller. The Norwegian writer Ingar Johnsrud has done a really good job!

Doomsday Cult

A mass murder is discovered on a farm outside Oslo, where a Christian doomsday cult is located. Someone has shot and killed several of the men, but the rest of the men, women and children are missing. The mass murder gets extra media attention when they discover that among the missing people are the daughter and grandchild of a famous politician. The cult has been feuding with an Islamic group, which becomes a suspect, but is it really that simple?

World War II Connection

The theme is a political powder keg with cultural contradictions. When the story is connected to experiments in racial purity dating back to the 1930s it becomes even more interesting. The main character Superintendent Fredrik Beir is forced to cooperate with a new partner Kafa Iqbal.


Original title in Norwegian: Wienerbrorskapet


Norwegian Noir




Norwegian crime writer Torkil Damhaug has really outdone himself with his novel A Fifth Season (En femte årstid). While I recognize Damhaug’s special storytelling techniques this novel differs from his earlier ones. It is rawer and horror takes a more central role than in his typical psychological characterizations and his in-depth explorations of the characters’ inner life. Relationship issues are still included and they are a rewarding part of the reading. Maybe we can call the genre “Noir Existentielle”?

Cannot Put It Down

A Fifth Season takes place during a 38-year time span and it is set in Hammerdal, a small town outside Oslo. Four young people, high on drugs, decide to lock a dull, persistent classmate in the basement of an old and rundown factory. In short, one of them dies, one disappears, and the others are faced with consequences they could never have imagined. One of them has a father who is a policeman; another one has a father who is a convicted murderer, who is mentally unstable. Damhaug really gets under my skin and it is very difficult to put down the novel as it gets close to 3:30am, on a weekday…


Writing with a Partner


The Importance of Communication

Today at Crimetime Gotland 2016 there are several seminars with author conversations. The most interesting this morning was an event with Michael Hjort & Hans Rosenfeldt and Cilla & Rolf Börjlind. They discussed what it’s like to write with a partner. To each write a chapter, or to each write about a character requires communication.

Michael Hjort says “It’s too bad if I suddenly realize that I want to kill a character, but forget to check if Hans has written about the character as a living person, 80 pages later.”

Books vs TV

Both writing duos struggle with inconsistencies when they have written a few books in a series, e.g. the first book gets adapted for TV and they make adjustments, then they write the next novel with the main characters in the TV version in their mind and all of a sudden a character has a different gender in different versions. As an example Cilla Börjlind mentions Olivia’s best friend, who in the book Spring Tide is a woman but in the TV adaptation is a man. In book #2 she is a woman again, but in the next TV production she becomes a he again…

So, if you want to write with a partner it is absolutely necessary to know exactly what’s going on in the other’s text, to make sure everything makes sense in the end.


Crimetime Gotland 2016 Has Started


Crimetime Gotland 2016, Sweden’s new Crime Writing Festival has started. My first seminar is their Writing School. We are a happy gang of aspiring crime writers who have sharpened our pencils (…or rather turned on our laptops) to note everything that some of the best and most beloved crime writers have to share. Our coaches are Anna Jansson, Johan Theorin, Emelie Schepp, Marianne Cedervall and Sören Bondesson. Could it be any better?!

“I hope it will help me kick-start my story”

It will be a lot of fun, says Camilla Wäverstam from Borås, Sweden. “I visited Gotland a few years ago and had an idea, an embryo, and I started writing. But I got stuck pretty quickly, but the idea remained.”

waverstamLast year I came to Gotland to attend the first ever CrimeTime Writing Festival, Camilla tells me.

“I was mostly a spectator and attended as many events and seminars as I could, but this year I am more focused. I will attend the Writing School and I hope it will help me kick-start my story and I will continue to write.”

TheCrimeHouse thanks Camilla for sharing her dreams and we wish her the best of luck with the novel she has started.


Note: this has been translated from Swedish. The original post is available on Deckarhuset.


Snow White Must Die


Brilliant Crime Novel

What a great first read this summer! Snow White Must Die is the first novel in a German series by Nele Neuhaus about police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein.

The story begins when a man in his thirties is realeased from prison after having served ten years for a murder of two young women whose bodies were never found. To return to a small town where something horrible happened and where everybody knows everybody is a recipe for disaster. But what really happened that evening ten years ago? When another girl disappears the witch-hunt begins…

Page Turner

Nele Neuhaus’s strength is the plot. There are so many twists and turns and that it quickly becomes a page turner. And she is very skilled in tying it all together. The characters are also great. There are plenty of people you can relate to, like, feel sorry for, and hate. Thankfully the “bad guys” never turn into bad guys a’ la Disney. Pettiness, greed, selfishness and jealousy go a long way.

Luckily I know German because I am seriously considering ordering the next novel in the series instead of waiting for the translation. The fact that my German is a bit rusty may be a good thing, because that means the novel will last longer.


Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan

tell no tales

Eva Dolan

This was my first encounter with British author Eva Dolan, whose first novel was Long Way Home. Tell No Tales is #2 in the series. (The 3rd novel is called After You Die.)

Politically Very Current

What hit me the most is how politically current it feels. Britain recently voted to exit the EU. Many Brexit supporters claim that the consequences of the free job market in Europe is that many, according to them, comes to the UK and “steal” their jobs. This novel is about guest workers in the city Peterborough, many from Poland but also other countries and the cultural and racial tensions that it brings.

Hate Crimes Unit

Zigic leads the Hate Crime Unit who is investigating several murders with a neo-Nazi overtone. Zigic, the feisty Ferreira and the rest of the team they also get a case where a man kills some guest workers in cold blood. Ferreira is convinced that a local politician leading a right-wing extremist party is behind the crimes, but it is difficult to get past his polished surface.

Far Away from Midsomer

If you want a crime novel á la Midsomer Murders, Sandhamn or Fjällbacka you have chosen the wrong one. There are dirty places, tough reality and tragic life stories. You get an insight into a world that is very much real and it shows how extremism can develop in different ways. There are no winners when hate takes hold. It is unpleasant and scarily close to reality, but also useful and exciting to read.


Interview with Emelie Schepp

EmelieS_nyPhoto: Helén Karlsson

Welcome to TheCrimeHouse Emelie!

A lot has happened since our last interview. You have gone from being a self-publisher to having a publisher, you have sold almost 500,000 novels and to 29 countries. The third novel in the series about prosecutor Jana Berzelius was recently published in Sweden. Congratulations on all of your successes! And now we have some questions…

What is the biggest difference between self-publishing and having a publisher?

When I was a self-publisher I had to find the right people who could help me with editing, printing, distribution, etc. Now that I have a publisher I have all experts under one roof which is a big plus. Since I like to have control from idea to finished book I am still as much involved in the process as before, and I will always be. I accepted the offer to belong to a traditional publisher because I saw the strength in combining my experience as an entrepreneur with Wahlström & Widstrand’s experience in the publishing industry. We are an excellent team and we work hard together to get my books read.

How has your life changed since you’ve achieved you success as an author?

I wrote Marked for Life in secret and in my spare time. No one except my husband, Henrik, knew that I was in front of the computer writing a book every evening. Today I have the privilege to be able to write fulltime. The mornings are holy. That is when I write the best. In the afternoons I read what I wrote in morning and make changes. Then I do all the other things that are needed: interviews, social media updates, planning attendances at festivals, events, book signings, etc. My life is very varies and contains a lot of travelling at the moment. It is fantastic to travel all around the world and meet my readers in different countries. I would never have been able to do that if I had given up on my dream of becoming an author. But I didn’t give up, instead I made my dream come true, and that’s what I’m most proud of.

What do you like the best/least about the character Jana Berzelius?

Jana Berzelius is a prosecutor with a complex past, which drives her to break the law. I think many readers are drawn to Jana’s person. She could probably exist in real life, but she is definitely balancing on the brink of what is possible. Her double-character makes her interesting to write about and that’s what I like the best about her. On one hand she is a successful prosecutor that does everything it takes to maintain law and order. On the other hand she does not hesitate to break laws and rules to protect her dark past. What I don’t really like about her is that she is not interested in other people and does nothing to hide it.

How many books have you planned to write in the series about Jana Berzelius?

As long as readers want to know more about Jana Berzelius and the other characters I will continue to write books about them.

What are your plans for the summer? Work or vacation?

Since my third novel was published recently I will work quite a bit this summer with book signings and events. I will attend Crime Time in Visby among other things. Since last year’s festival was such a success my expectations are very high this year. I look forward to meeting all crime fiction enthusiasts, colleagues and people in the business. Above all I look forward to meeting the readers, meeting them is one of my favorite things.

What will you read on the beach?

Crime fiction and biographies. I have already started collecting books for the summer and in addition to plenty of Swedish authors I will also get to know Jørn Lier Horst and Caroline Kepnes.

What questions would you ask yourself that no one has asked in an interview yet, and what would you respond?

You write about death, what’s your relationship with death?

I am scared to death of death, and suffer from incurable death anxiety.

What’s taboo for you?

Banana as a pizza topping.

Are you a morning or evening person?

Morning person. I love to get up disturbingly early, to my husband’s chagrin.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and good luck with future projects!

Note: This interview has been translated from Swedish.