Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Petrona Award 2021 - Shortlist

From the press release which was embargoed until 8.00am today:

Outstanding crime fiction from Iceland, Norway and Sweden shortlisted for the 2021 Petrona Award

Six outstanding crime novels from Iceland, Norway and Sweden have been shortlisted for the 2021 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. The shortlist is announced today, Thursday 30 September.

A NECESSARY DEATH by Anne Holt, tr. Anne Bruce (Corvus; Norway)

DEATH DESERVED by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger, tr. Anne Bruce (Orenda Books; Norway)

THE SECRET LIFE OF MR. ROOS by Håkan Nesser, tr. Sarah Death (Mantle; Sweden)

TO COOK A BEAR by Mikael Niemi, tr. Deborah Bragan-Turner (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

THE SEVEN DOORS by Agnes Ravatn, tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books; Norway)

GALLOWS ROCK by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton; Iceland)

The winning title, usually announced at the international crime fiction convention CrimeFest, will now be announced on Thursday 4 November 2021. The winning author and the translator of the winning title will both receive a cash prize, and the winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2022.

The Petrona Award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia, and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his continued generous support of the Petrona Award. We would also like to thank Jake Kerridge for being a guest judge last year.

We are delighted to welcome new judge Ewa Sherman to the Petrona Team. Ewa is a translator and writer. She blogs at NORDIC LIGHTHOUSE, is a regular contributor to CRIME REVIEW, and volunteers at crime fiction festivals in Reykjavik, Bristol and Newcastle.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist:

There were 28 entries for the 2021 Petrona Award from six countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden). The novels were translated by 17 translators and submitted by 20 publishers/imprints. There were 10 female, 16 male, one male/male pair and one male/female pair of authors.

This year’s Petrona Award shortlist once again sees Norway strongly represented with three novels; Sweden with two and Iceland with one. The crime genres represented include the police procedural, historical crime, psychological crime, literary crime and thriller.

The Petrona Award judges selected the shortlist from a rich field. The six novels stand out for their writing, characterisation, plotting, and overall quality. They are original and inventive, often pushing the boundaries of genre conventions, and tackle complex subjects such as class and power, the bonds of friendship, and the failure of society to support vulnerable individuals.

Today, very aptly, is International Translation Day. We are extremely grateful to the five translators whose expertise and skill have allowed readers to access these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction, and to the publishers who continue to champion and support translated fiction.

The judges’ comments on each of the shortlisted titles:

A NECESSARY DEATH by Anne Holt, tr. Anne Bruce (Corvus; Norway)

Anne Holt, according to Jo Nesbø, is the ‘godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction’. Best known for her ‘Hanne Wilhelmsen’ and ‘Vik/Stubø’ series (the inspiration for TV drama Modus), she also served as Norway’s Minister for Justice in the 1990s. A Necessary Death is the second in Holt’s ‘Selma Falck’ series, whose eponymous protagonist is a high-flying lawyer brought low by her gambling addiction. The novel shows Falck resisting an attempt to kill her: on waking in a burning cabin in a remote, sub-zero wilderness, she has to figure out how to survive, while desperately trying to remember how she got there. A pacy, absorbing thriller with a gutsy, complex main character.

DEATH DESERVED by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger, tr. Anne Bruce (Orenda Books; Norway)

Death Deserved marks the beginning of an exciting collaboration between two of Norway’s most successful crime authors. Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst are both already well known for their long-running ‘Henning Juul’ ­and ‘William Wisting’ series. Death Deserved, in which a serial killer targets well-known personalities, mines each writer’s area of expertise: the portrayal of detective Alexander Blix draws on Horst’s former career as a policeman, while Enger brings his professional knowledge of the media to the depiction of journalist Emma Ramm. The novel expertly fuses the writers’ individual styles, while showcasing their joint talent for writing credible and engaging characters, and creating a fast-paced, exciting plot.

THE SECRET LIFE OF MR. ROOS by Håkan Nesser, tr. Sarah Death (Mantle; Sweden)

Håkan Nesser, one of Sweden’s most popular crime writers, is internationally known for his ‘Van Veeteren’ and ‘Inspector Barbarotti’ series. The Secret Life of Mr. Roos is the third in a quintet featuring Gunnar Barbarotti, a Swedish policeman of Italian descent, who is a complex yet ethically grounded figure. His relatively late appearance in the novel creates space for the portrayal of an unlikely friendship between Mr. Roos, a jaded, middle-aged man who has unexpectedly won the lottery, and Anna, a young, recovering drug addict of Polish origin, who is on the run. Slow-burning literary suspense is leavened with a dry sense of humour, philosophical musings, and compassion for individuals in difficult circumstances.

TO COOK A BEAR by Mikael Niemi, tr. Deborah Bragan-Turner (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

Mikael Niemi grew up in the northernmost part of Sweden, and this forms the setting for his historical crime novel To Cook a Bear. It’s 1852: Revivalist preacher Lars Levi Læstadius and Jussi, a young Sami boy he has rescued from destitution, go on long botanical treks that hone their observational skills. When a milkmaid goes missing deep in the forest, the locals suspect a predatory bear, but Læstadius and Jussi find clues using early forensic techniques that point to a far worse killer. Niemi’s eloquent depiction of this unforgiving but beautiful landscape, and the metaphysical musings of Læstadius on art, literature and education truly set this novel apart.

THE SEVEN DOORS by Agnes Ravatn, tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books; Norway)

Agnes Ravatn’s The Seven Doors has shades of Patricia Highsmith about it: a deliciously dark psychological thriller that lifts the lid on middle-class hypocrisy. When Ingeborg, the daughter of university professor Nina and hospital consultant Mads, insists on viewing a house that her parents rent out, she unwittingly sets off a grim chain of events. Within a few days, tenant Mari Nilson has gone missing, and when Nina starts to investigate her disappearance and past life as a musician, worrying truths begin to emerge. A novel about gender, power and self-deception, expertly spiced with Freud and Bluebeard, The Seven Doors delivers an ending that lingers in the mind.

GALLOWS ROCK by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton; Iceland)

Gallows Rock is the fourth in Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s ‘Children’s House’ series, featuring child psychologist Freyja and police detective Huldar as a reluctant investigative duo. Their relationship provides readers with some lighter moments and occasional black humour, along with a frisson of mutual attraction. The novel’s intricate plot focuses on skewed morals and revenge: what begins as a ritualistic murder at an ancient execution site in the lava fields – the Gallows Rock of the title – leads to the unearthing of a case of long-term abuse, whose devastating impact is sensitively explored. The author won the 2015 Petrona Award for The Silence of the Sea.

The judges

Jackie Farrant – Crime fiction expert and creator of RAVEN CRIME READS; bookseller for twenty years and a Regional Commercial Manager for a major book chain in the UK.

Dr. Kat Hall – Translator and editor; Honorary Research Associate at Swansea University; international crime fiction reviewer at MRS. PEABODY INVESTIGATES.

Ewa Sherman – Translator and writer; blogger at NORDIC LIGHTHOUSE; regular contributor to CRIME REVIEW; volunteer at crime fiction festivals in Reykjavik, Bristol and Newcastle.

Award administrator

Karen Meek owner of the EURO CRIME website; reviewer, former CWA judge for the International Dagger, and Library Assistant.

Further information can be found on the Petrona Award website:

Images of the Petrona Award logo and the shortlisted titles are available (from 8.00am) at:

(copy & paste link into browser)

On social media, please use #PetronaAward21.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Petrona Award 2021 - Update

Just a quick update to let you know that the shortlist for the Petrona Award 2021 will be announced on Thursday 30 September aka International Translation Day. The shortlist will be taken from the 28 titles entered. These 28 titles are listed here.

Check back on Thursday to read the press release revealing the six books in the running for this year's Best Scandinavian Crime Novel. 

The winner will be announced on 4 November 2021.

Friday, September 03, 2021

New Releases - September 2021

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in September 2021 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). September and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.

• Anthology: Bodies from the Library 4 (ed. Tony Medawar)
• Anthology: Daggers Drawn (ed. Maxim Jakubowski)
• Abdullah, Kia - Next of Kin
• Blake, Sam - High Pressure (ebook only)
• Boland, Shalini - The Couple Upstairs
• Bonner, Hilary - The Danger Within #4 DI David Vogel, Bristol
• Bottini, Oliver - Night Hunters #4 The Black Forest Investigations
• Bradley, Rebecca - Seconds to Die (ebook only) #2 Claudia Nunn
• Bridgestock, R C - Persecution #3 DI Charley Mann, Yorkshire
• Browne, Sheryl - The Liar's Child
• Bruen, Ken - Callous
• Buchanan, Tracy - Trail of Destruction
• Chambers, Kimberley - The Family Man
• Clark, Anne Wyn - Whisper Cottage
• Cleeves, Ann - The Heron's Cry #2 Detective Matthew Venn, Devon
• Cooper, Catherine - The Chateau
• Cumming, Charles - Judas 62 #2 Box 88
• Curtis, Emma - Invite Me In
• Dalgliesh, J M - To Die For (ebook only) #9 Tom Janssen
• Daws, N R - A Quiet Place to Kill #1 Lizzie Hayes, Pilot & DI Jonathan Kember, 1940
• Day, Elizabeth - Magpie
• Delaney, Luke - The Killing Boys (ebook only)
• Doherty, Paul - Dark Queen Watching #3 Margaret Beaufort
• Douglas, Claire - The Couple at No 9
• Dowd, Victoria - The Supper Club Murders (ebook only) #3 Ursula Smart
• Down, Holly - The Courier
• Elliott, Lexie - How to Kill Your Best Friend
• Ford, Martyn - All Our Darkest Secrets
• Francis, Dick - Iced (by Felix Francis)
• French, Nicci - The Unheard
• Gatward, D J - Blood Sport (ebook only) #7 DCI Harry Grimm
• Gibney, Patricia - Little Bones #10 Detective Lottie Parker
• Goodwin, Sarah - Stranded
• Greene, Morgan - Old Blood (ebook only) #3 DI Jamie Johansson
• Griffiths, Elly - The Midnight Hour #6 Stephens and Mephisto, Brighton, 1950s
• Griffiths, Rebecca - The Girl at My Door
• Hannah, Mari - Her Last Request #8 Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels
• Hawkins, Alis - Not One Of Us #4 Harry Probert-Lloyd, 1850s, Wales
• Hayes, Samantha - The Trapped Wife
• Heley, Veronica - False Face #15 Bea Abbott, Sixty-something owner of The Abbott (Domestic) Agency
• Holland, Jane - Keep Me Close
• Hunter, M A - Exposed #6 The Missing Children Case Files
• Johnson, Alan - The Late Train to Gipsy Hill
• Knight, Alex - Darkness Falls
• Kovach, Carla - What She Did
• Lackberg, Camilla - Truth or Dare (ebook only) - Novella
• Lancaster, Neil - Dead Man's Grave #1 DS Max Craigie, Scotland
• Lee, M J - When the Guilty Cry #7 DI Ridpath
• Lynch, Rachel - Lying Ways #9 DI Kelly Porter, Lake District
• Mark, David - Past Life #9 Detective Sergeant McAvoy of Humberside CID
• Marsh, Alec - Ghosts of the West #3 Drabble and Harris
• Martin, Faith - Murder Now and Then (ebook only) #19 DI Hillary Greene, Oxfordshire
• Maslen, Andy - Death Wears A Golden Cloak (ebook only) #6 DI Stella Cole
• McCleave, Simon - The River Seine Killings (ebook only) #10 DI Ruth Hunter
• McIlvanney, William & Ian Rankin - The Dark Remains #1 Laidlaw's First Case
• Mey, Louise - The Second Woman
• Meyrick, Denzil - Terms of Restitution
• Mina, Denise - Rizzio
• Monroe, J S - The Man on Hackpen Hill
• Moss, NJ - Her Final Victim (ebook only)
• Mullen, Owen - The Accused (ebook only) #4 PI Charlie Cameron
• Mulrooney, Gretta - Murder in Mallow Cottage #3 DI Siv Drummond
• Nesbo, Jo - The Jealousy Man and Other Stories - Short Stories
• North, Lauren - Safe at Home
• Osman, Richard - The Man Who Died Twice #2 The Thursday Murder Club
• Penrose, Andrea - Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens #5 Wrexford & Sloane
• Perry, Anne - Three Debts Paid #5 Daniel Pitt, Barrister,1910
• Peston, Robert - The Whistleblower
• Petersen, Christoffer - Warrior (ebook only) #6 Greenland Crime
• Probyn, Jack - The Cadre (ebook only) #4 DC Jake Tanner
• Ramsay, Caro - The Silent Conversation #13 DCI McAlpine, DS Anderson and DS Costello, Glasgow
• Reynolds, Rod - Black Reed Bay #1 Detective Casey Wray, USA
• Rigby, Sally - Dark Secrets (ebook only) #11 DCI Whitney Walker & Dr Georgina Cavendish
• Rogers, Gemma - The Babysitter (ebook only)
• Scarr, Louisa - Under a Dark Cloud #2 DS Butler & DC West
• Seeck, Max - The Ice Coven #2 Jessica Niemi
• Shaw, Alex - Traitors #1 Sophie Racine and Aidan Snow
• Simenon, Georges - Death Threats: And Other Stories - Short Stories
• Smith, Alexander McCall - The Joy and Light Bus Company #22 Mma Ramotswe, PI, Botswana
• Tallon, Emma - Her Rival #2 Scarlet Drew
• Todd, Marilyn - Bad Blood (ebook only) #3 Julia McAllister, Victorian Era
• Tyler, L C - Too Much of Water #7 John Grey, lawyer, 1657
• Walden, Celia - Payday
• Walters, Victoria - Murder At The House On The Hill #1 Dedley End Mystery
• Ward, Rhiannon - The Shadowing
• Westerson, Jeri - The Deadliest Sin #15 Crispin Guest, ex Knight, Medieval times
• White, S R - Prisoner
• Wilkinson, Kerry - The Perfect Daughter (ebook only)
• Yahagi, Toshihiko - The Wrong Goodbye #3 Eiji Futamura