There’s about a month to go until Iceland Noir kicks off in Reykjavik on 17 November 2016 and the world’s most northerly crime fiction festival will also be a very hot one. We’re not talking about the climate. That’s sure to be cold and miserable. It’s the brilliant crime authors attending that’ll make it outstanding. Over 50 authors will be heading to Reykjavik, from AK Benedict through to Zoe Sharp… (You might even get to meet Crime Fiction Lover.) Below, we’ve picked 11 authors that you cannot afford to miss.
If you haven’t booked your place at Iceland Noir, hurry over to the website now and get in there!
Sara Blaedel‘s appearance at Iceland Noir will be a big draw for Nordic noir fans everywhere. The Danish author be appearing on the main panel entitled Nordic Crime Fiction Stars, on Saturday 19 November. Sara has four times been voted Denmark’s most popular author for her series featuring police officer Louise Rick and it’s been translated into more than 30 languages. As well as writing, she is the founder of the Sara B publishing house and has worked as a graphic artist and as a TV presenter, researcher, project manager, and editor before turning to writing. The latest Louise Rick novel in English is The Killing Forest, and The Lost Woman is due to be published early next year.
An Irish writer now based in London, William Ryan will be all over Iceland Noir, moderating two panels and appearing on another. His latest, The Constant Soldier, has been picking up some fantastic reviews since it was published a few weeks ago. His thoughtful, carefully researched crime novels feature a police officer with the unenviable task of searching for the truth in Stalin’s Soviet Union, in a milieu where truth is a malleable concept. The Constant Soldier is a bit different, in that it’s not a crime story in the accepted sense. Paul Brandt is shipped home from the Eastern Front in the closing months of World War II, minus an arm and laden with mental scars, to encounter a figure from his past.
Finnish crimewriter Leena Lehtolainen will also appear on the Iceland Noir main panel as one of the stars of Nordic Noir. The author’s first novel was published when she was only 12, but she is best known for the Maria Kallio series and has more recently developed the Bodyguard series featuring professional bodyguard Hilja Ilveskero. Her latest Maria Kallio novel in English is Fatal Headwind, and the third Bodyguard novel, The Devil’s Cubs, was published this year. She has won the prestigious Glass Key Award.
This English author almost slipped under our radar, but if you’re going to Iceland Noir she’s definitely one who shouldn’t be missed and will be talking about Small Town Skulduggery on Friday 18 November. Two of her series have recently been adapted for television – Vera, and Shetland. The latest book in the Shetland series featuring Jimmy Perez came out earlier this month and there’s news that there will be a fourth season of Sheltand on the BBC as well. Got to Iceland and meet Ann Cleeves!
The third woman Nordic noir author on the main panel, Swede Viveca Sten’s books are set in an archipelago east of Stockholm and have taken the country by storm – they’ve sold over three million copies so far. The series of Sandhamn Murders has reached book seven, and features lawyer Nora Linde and police detective Thomas Andreasson. So far, two have been published in English, Still Waters and Closed Circles.
An excellent storyteller, Barbara Nadel has written crime books set in Turkey, in London’s East End, in the present day and in the middle of the 20th century. If you like your crime fiction nuanced and intelligent, Barbara Nadel is a great pick. Don’t miss her panel first thing on Saturday 19 November – you’re sure to discover more about the Ikmen series set in Istanbul, the Francis Hancock books set in London’s East End during the years of WWII, and the new Hakim and Arnold series set firmly in the present day.
Arguably the highest profile author Iceland Noir has ever had, Val McDermid is Scottish but seeing as large parts of Scotland were owned by the Norwegian crown in the Middle Ages, she’s got a good claim on being a star of Nordic noir too. Consequently, she is a star among stars on the main panel on Saturday 19 November. Val has just released her 30th novel, Out of Bounds, and is a wanted woman whenever a crime fiction festival is being planned. A CWA Gold and Diamond Dagger winner, her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series has been adapted for TV as Wire in the Blood.
What Frightens You will be the title of the panel on which AK Benedict appears, on Friday 18 November at Iceland Noir. Her first book, The Beauty of Murder, dips into ghosts and time-travel in a captivating blend of darkness, creepiness, gloom and intrigue that gets under your skin. Her second novel, published this year, Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts, isn’t going to disappoint if darkness and some magnificently malignant characters from the other side are your thing.
Unfortunately you can’t read any of Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s books in English… yet. Help rectify that situation by showing your support and attending Iceland Noir on Saturday 19 November when she’s on the Queer Crime panel. A poet and a playwright, her novel The Trap has been translated into Norwegian and French, and an English deal looks likely. The novel features Sonja, a woman trapped between family and the criminals who are forcing her to find increasingly ingenious ways to smuggle drugs as a frequent traveller between Iceland, London and Copenhagen. Maybe it should have been called The Mule?
JS Law is a former submariner and writes crime fiction of a nautical persuasion. So maybe it’s no surprise that he’s to headline on the ****ing Swearing Panel which closes Iceland Noir on the Saturday. Tenacity is his first novel, set partly on board the nuclear submarine of the same name. It features a woman naval investigator who finds herself dropped into a dauntingly unfamiliar, testosterone-soaked male world where she has to find her own way and uncover uncomfortable secrets. The second novel, Defiance, is on its way.
Did we save the best til last? Well, maybe we did. Published by Orenda Books, Kati Hiekkapelto is going to be a big star on the Nordic noir scene. The Finnish author’s third book The Exiled, has just come out and it follows the story of Anna Fekete, who travels back to the village she came from in the former Yugoslavia for a holiday, only for her purse to be stolen. Quickly she’s drawn into a murder case and intrigue that’s just as gripping as the first two books – The Hummingbird and The Defenceless. A great writer, she has a lot of readers very enthusiastic about her work. In fact, people haven’t stopped telling us how good she is.