Whats With Scandinavians? Crime Thrillers from (Near) Perfect Societies



Shashank Reddy


I have just finished reading Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard, starring the ever dependable, alcoholic and stoned police inspector Harry Hole and as with previous Jo Nesbo novels, I am completely blown away. In recent times, crime thrillers have become ubiquitous with authors from the Nordic countries which is quite a paradoxical thing if you look the societies in which such novels are based. Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy arguably the most famous of the Scandinavian crime thrillers and easily the most influential, was, in my opinion, the series that started it all. Starring possibly the most original character in recent times, the dysfunctional hacker Lisbeth Salander, The Millennium Trilogy is highly dystopian and speaks of a country (Sweden) controlled by robber barons, corrupt politicians and secret service agents, and populated by neo-nazis, misogynists and wackheads of every possible kind. Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole books likewise speak of a Norway filled with serial killers, drugs and an ever present sense of doom. Add to that the border-line psychotic nature of their protagonists and you have an explosive combination of gore, lunacy and conspiracy theories set in (atleast from the perspective of an Indian) possibly the most boring region in the world (barring Vanuatu, but the Vanuatu atleast has beaches). But why? Continue reading