Jeremy Megraw: Top five books of 2015

It’s been another banner year for Scandinavian crime fiction, and Sweden leads the pack with the latest trend: collaborative ventures. Two such creatures live in my top five for 2015, The Father by Anton Svensson and The Man Who Watched Women by Hjorth & Rosenfeldt. Also in this category belongs the debut of Erik Axl Sund, whose forthcoming The Crow Girl was teased out in an exclusive Crime Fiction Lover interview during New Talent November. The only outlier in my top five this year is British newcomer Clare Donoghue, whose sophomore effort makes the list just like her debut did last year.

Hjorth-Rosenfeldt-The-Man-Who-Watched-Women-1505 – The Man Who Watched Women by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt
From the creative teams of Wallander and The Bridge comes the series featuring the character Sebastian Bergmann. In this second book, egotistical and brilliant profiler Bergmann has fallen from grace but gets back on his game when he realises a string of murders relates directly to himself. He volunteers to help his old squad, and if he’s lucky, he’ll get closer to his estranged daughter in the process. Here’s the full review.
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Jorn-Lier-Horst-The-Caveman-1504 – The Caveman by Jorn Lier Horst
A body is found just a few doors down from Chief Inspector William Wisting’s suburban home. The friendless neighbour had died in his own chair months before they finally found his mummified body in front of the telly. While Wisting’s journalist daughter Line investigates, he is called to investigate another corpse, which opens a whole new can of worms. An American serial killer has come out of hiding in the Norwegian hinterlands after twenty years, is now on the loose. When we finally glimpse the killer he’s as mysteriously creepy as a coelacanth. The Caveman is chilling, restrained, and masterfully suspenseful. If you’re a fan of Nordic noir you have to read Jorn Lier Horst next. Read my review here.
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Gunnar-Staalesen-We-Shall-Inherit-the-Wind-1503 – We Shall Inherit the Wind by Gunnar Staalesen
Norwegian PI Varg Veum helps out his fiancée’s friend in a disappearance case, and boy does he come to regret it. The detective gets involved in a conflict on a remote Norwegian island where Christian extremists, corporate thugs and eco-terrorists vie for a prime piece of rock. What he doesn’t bargain for is the life and death struggle that culminates. This is the 14th instalment in the Varg Veum series of which just a few are available in English, so jump in and see what the fuss is all about. Read the review here, and the author also shared his favourite classic crime books here.
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no-place-to-die-clare-donogue-1502 – No Place to Die by Clare Donoghue
Clare Donoghue’s debut Never Look Back got top billing here on Crime Fiction Lover last year and her follow-up book in the series is no less impressive for being just as harrowing and suspenseful. If you like Fargo you’ll probably dig the dutiful cop Jane Bennett, who takes centre stage as she attempts to solve the murders of people who’ve been buried alive. Her plate really gets full when a former cop disappears while her boss Mike Lockyer is still collecting himself from the traumas of the last book. This one was reviewed in March.
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Anton-Svensson-Made-in-Sweden-The-Father-1501 – The Father by Anton Svensson
Wallander screenwriter Stefan Thunberg has teamed up with crime novelist Anders Roslund under the pen name Anton Svensson to bring us the auspicious debut of the Made in Sweden series. This sweeping tale of a band of brothers turned ruthless bank robbers is based on the true events of the heists in Sweden. Detective John Broncks investigates a series of bold bank jobs. He sees in the perpetrators something of his own troubled past and drops everything to identify them. As the hunt escalates so does the reckless behavior of the eldest brother, Leo. Through alternating flashbacks, we learn all about the boys and the thrall their estranged father has over them. As Leo seeks to exorcise his personal demons, he careens toward a final confrontation with the authorities. A five-star review and no doubt about it.
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To see the books I picked last year, follow this link.

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2 Comments

  1. Sue Rubenstein Demasi Reply

    Jeremy, Couldn’t find your email -I wanted to thank you for helping me last year at the NYPL when I was working on a book. You are in the acknowledgments. If you are interested in purchasing it for your collection, the title is Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force of the New Deal Federal Writers’ Project. Publisher is McFarland. (He also worked in downtown NYC theatre in the 1920s, which is why I visited the Billy Rose Library. He adapted The Dybbuk for the English speaking stage and also was a Provincetown Playhouse producer.) Sincerely, Sue Rubenstein DeMasi

    book’s webpage is http://www.henryalsberg.com. Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/HenryAlsberg/

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