The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Yrsa Sigurdardóttir is one of Iceland’s best-selling crime fiction authors. She has previously written a series about the attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. This is the first novel with child psychologist Freyja and police officer Huldar.

I hesitated reading a novel that takes place in the winter when it is summer, but when I finally started I finished it pretty quickly. It is quite suspenseful, but be aware there are many brutal murders. The prologue sets the tone when a few children are taken in custody by the Social Services after a family tragedy and you realize that this will never end well…

Huldar is put in charge of a murder investigation. The first murder of a middleclass woman was witnessed by the victim’s daughter, so they ask child psychologist Freya for assistance. Huldar and Freyja have met before, a meeting that ended in an embarrassing way and it makes the collaboration somewhat uncomfortable.

In parallel we follow a young radio amateur nerd. When he suddenly starts receiving strange coded messages he becomes obsessed with solving the code. Soon he realizes that it is connected to the murders, but how? It does not help that his only two friends do not believe him.

This is a good and pretty classic police novel with interesting characters and a nicely constructed murder mystery. I enjoy the debate about what is nature versus nurture. Is it always best to know the truth about one’s background? And what can the truth do to a person? Some Icelandic crime novels have plenty of descriptions of a barren gloomy landscape, and luckily it is missing from this novel.

My Year in Books – 2018

Better late than never, here is my summary of my year in books for 2018. I set the same goal as previous years (50 books) and this year I reached the goal with one read book per week.

The result…

– 52 read books, (goal met!)

– 73% crime fiction

– 60% Swedish authors

– 58% female authors


Just like in 2016 and 2017 I read mostly crime fiction, preferred Swedish authors, and mostly read books written by female authors.


Interview with Mons Kallentoft & Anna Karolina

We are delighted to welcome Mons Kallentoft and Anna Karolina to TheCrimeHouse. Their novel ”Falco”, the 5th novel in the Hercules series, was recently published in Sweden.


Photo: Thorn Ullgren

Mons: You co-wrote the Hercules series with Markus Lutteman before, but now he’s focusing on his own projects. How come you wanted to share the writing of the Hercules series? And how come you wanted to work with Anna?

I’m very much a loner. I had written several, successful novels, but wanted to keep evolving. So I wanted to open up my creative process, throw out everything I took for granted, and cooperate.

I was happy when Anna wanted to work together. She is a complete author. Plot, character, style. She knows it all. And she’s a former policewoman which gives a nice authenticity to Falco.

Now that we have worked on this book I know that she has a sense of humor. And seems to understand mine, which is quite unusual…


What are you reading right now?

Anna: Innan snön faller by Helena Kubicek Boye (Swedish novel)
Mons: The Second Girl by David Swinson


Anna: When Mons asked you to work together, what was your first thought?

This could be awesome!


Hercules is known for his twelve heroic labors and the novels are loosely based on these. Is the plan to write twelve novels?

The plan is twelve novels, one for every labor. After that there may be more. Who knows? Hercules myth lived on after his heroic labors.


Mons: You have a strong interest in food. At TheCrimeHouse we like to post recipes that are fitting for a novel/author. Is there are dish that would be fitting for the Hercules series?

A long time ago in France they ate entrecôte with oysters. This dish fits the Hercules series and Zack. Potent and forceful, but also sensual, and elegant.

TheCrimeHouse’s comment: We’ll see if we can find a good recipe to share.


Do you have a personal favorite character in the Falco novel?

Anna: Ester – she’s in that teenage phase where the hormones go crazy.
Mons: Rudolf – it’s fun to make a character like that work. Blind oracles tend to be cheesy…


Anna: You’re a policewoman, so honestly, how much does the novel remind you of reality?

It reminds me a lot of reality, behind the scenes things happen that people – including the police – doesn’t know about. Then we always prioritize suspense over facts – we are writing fiction after all.


Mons: You spend a lot of time abroad, do you read a lot of foreign crime fiction? Is there a crime writer you think should be translated into Swedish?

David Swinson is awesome and should be translated. He is an old homicide investigator in Washington and writes with a great feeling. I almost only read foreign crime fiction since they inspire me more.


What do your bookshelves look like?  

Anna: My books are spread all over the house, a big mess. I don’t own a bookshelf :-0
Mons: I have an office with shelves along the walls. And then there are books all over the apartment.


Please list your three favorites: crime novels, crime writers, crime series and crime movies.

Anna: Wow, that’s difficult. My spontaneous answers:
Novels and writers: Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, Ghostman by Roger Hobbs, Easy Money by Jens Lapidus.
Movies: The Town, Point Break, Silence of the Lambs
Series: La Casa de Papel, The Americans, Breaking Bad

Novels: The Black Dahlia, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Big Sleep
Movies: French Connection 1 and 2, Copolla’s The Conversation, and The Asphalt Jungle by John Huston.
Series: The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad


What do you want the reader to get out of reading Falco? (Except a pleasant reading experience of course)

Anna: Look around: who around you is being radicalized right now?
Mons: I agree with Anna. And you’re supposed to be sweaty from the suspense!


You write in the hardboiled genre, what is it that you like about it?

Anna: The language and the jargon are closest to the environment I have worked in, so it came naturally. And the genre includes characters who get personally involved in crimes. They’re not divided into good and evil in the same extent as in the classic novel, here those attributes are present in the same person. It gives a more nuanced picture of the person, and I love to read and write about complex people.

Mons: All art, including the art of the novel, is poetry and construction in unison. I could write about anything, in any form. But it may be boring, so violence and sex and a clear structure suits me better, since I like to have readers.


Mons: When will the next novel about Malin Fors be published (in Sweden)? And what sense will be its focus?

It will be published this fall, in October, and it’s about hearing. A little boy is forgotten in a locked car on a hot summer’s day and no one can hear him scream…


Anna: What’s your next personal book project?

I’m working on the sixth novel in the Hercules series, so my own book projects will be sometime in the future.


Shortly describe where the will to write comes from?

Anna: When the ”perfect story” pops up in my head that’s a euphoric feeling – hopefully it stays with me as I’m working.

Mons: For me it’s 0% about lust. I’m an author, artist. This is my life. I write every day, regardless of how I feel. Lust is for amateurs who don’t understand what commitment it is to be an artist. It’s supposed to be painful otherwise it’s not real.


Anna: How was it writing with someone compared to writing on your own?

It has been lovely to bounce ideas with someone who is equally aware of the plot as myself. We can solve any issues together, alone isn’t always strong.


Mons: If the Hercules series becomes a TV series or a movie, who would you like to see portraying Zack?

It would be nice if Thimothée Chalamet could add a hundred pounds of muscles and learn perfect Swedish! He is cool, and he can probably look tough given the chance.

TheCrimeHouse’s comment: I didn’t know who Thimothée Chalamet was so I had to google ad agree with Mons (at least looks-wise), he would be perfect with a few extra pounds!


How worried are you about terror attacks where you live (Malmö and Mallorca) and does it affect your everyday life in any way?

Anna: Terror attacks are always in the back of my mind when I’m in crowds these days. But it doesn’t stop me from doing things.

Mons: I also have it in the back of my mind at all times. Mallorca is an attractive terrorist target, since it would get a lot of attention to hit a vacation spot where people are having a nice time. Unfortunately you think about the risk, which means that they have won a small victory.


How does it work to write together when you live in different places?

Anna: Skype and email solve most things.

Mons: And we get together sometimes. But Skype and email is most important.


Note: This interview has been translated from Swedish.

Sharp Objects – TV Series Coming Soon

I am really looking forward to HBO’s new limited series, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed debut novel Sharp Objects, which will premiere in July. The main character is portrayed by Amy Adams.

My Year in Books – 2017

My Year in Books 2017


When the year started I thought that I would read a lot more books this year, but I still set the same goal as 2016 (50 books). Then life happened and things did not turn out as I had thought.

The result… (last year’s results in parenthesis)

– 46 read books, goal not met (57 books)

– 63% crime fiction (89%)

– 59% Swedish authors (63%)

– 65% female authors (58%)


I read less crime fiction this year than I usually do. For different reasons I have had a hard time reading about evil and people (especially children) being treated badly. It is no surprise that I prefer Swedish authors and just like last year I read mostly female authors.


Happy New Book Year!

A Christmas Greeting: Emelie Schepp

Christmas Greeting

Swedish crime writer Emelie Schepp sends a Christmas greeting and answers a few questions.

What is your best book recommendation?

For young thrill seekers I recommend The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren.

How will you celebrate Christmas?

I will celebrate Christmas with my family on the island Koh Samui in Thailand.

Do you have a New Year’s wish for 2018?

Since we recently lost a loved one, my wish is that all our loved ones are healthy and happy. My resolution for 2018 is to finish the fifth novel in the series about Jana Berzelius.

Emelie Schepp Deckarhuset julen 2017

Merry Christmas

Best wishes from Emelie Schepp


Note: This greeting has been translated from Swedish and was first published by Deckarhuset.

A Christmas Greeting: Åsa Schwarz

Christmas Greeting

Swedish thriller author and IT Security Expert Åsa Schwarz sends a Christmas greeting and answers a few questions.

How will you celebrate Christmas?

I’m fortunate to celebrate twice. I have already celebrated Christmas at my uncle’s vacation house in the archipelago where we stayed with that part of my family for 24 hours. There were Christmas gifts, Christmas food and glögg (Swedish mulled wine) by the hot tub outside with a mile wide view of the ocean. On Christmas Eve the other part of the family will come to our house from the 1920s that used to be a milk and grocery store. With our mothers, five children and another four adults it will be loud, but in a good way.

Since you are an expert in IT security, we’d like to hear your best IT security advice.

It is more important that have long and weird passwords than changing them often. You mainly just have to do it when you think it has been compromised. Remember to use different passwords in the most important places like your job, email and social media. Keep your computer and phone updated. But the most important thing is how you act online.  Is it really a friend who sent that video link? Who is on the other end of the chat? Did I enter that lottery where I won a million? You get far using critical thinking.

Do you have a New Year’s Wish for 2018?

My New Year’s wish is related to the underlying theme in my thriller The Seven Keys. I wish that politicians and CEOs start taking cybersecurity seriously. Our entire society is dependent on IT, so we must make sure that our systems don’t fail.


Merry Christmas

Best Wishes from Åsa Schwarz


Note: This greeting has been translated from Swedish and was first published by Deckarhuset.