Are you craving a cozy read? Longing for a book with a body in the billiard room, spilled brandy snifter at its side? If you are ready to sink into your couch with a good, wholesome murder in hand then steer clear of Nordic Noir. This stuff is dark.
I am the person who thinks The Lego Movie was too violent and asks my children to play the version of Fruit Ninja with no bombs. It’s true, I have low tolerance for the dismal, violent, dark and wretched sides of people. In fact, I was just about to write about my daughter’s favorite Nancy Drew, (#8 Nancy’s Mysterious Letter) when my friends Joyce and Marge suggested I dip into the writers of my ancestry, those dark Northerners who are so popular right now with Americans who are not, apparently, depressed enough.
I decided to take a chance on The Boy in the Suitcase, once I was assured, on the first page, that the boy in the suitcase was still alive. Phew. But once I picked it up I could not put it down. Yes, it was too gritty for me, (Oh don’t worry, you’ll be fine since you aren’t the one who asks your husband to call the nerf gun a “propulsive device”) but it was paced in such an artful manner that there was no reasonable moment to set the book down. Taking breaks to eat or use the facilities had to be a rushed affair, since I had the feeling the plot was barreling forward in my absence. Really, I can’t argue with the pacing.
Nina Borg is an intriguing main character, a nurse and bleeding heart who finds herself on the run with a small boy. Though married and a mother, Borg is an absent and erratic family member, miscast in her own life. She adores her children, it’s just difficult to see them very much when you are absorbed by your demanding job and ocassionally fleeing from thugs.
I have been so misinformed about the people of the northern climes! I thought women and children wandered the streets in glowing safety, clothing optional, smiled upon by a generous, socialist government as they bicycled, breastfed and enjoyed three year stints of maternity leave. Apparently it’s not the idyll I had pictured. Misogyny and child trafficking abound, at least on the page. Then again, no one wants a mystery about missing kittens. Except me. I like mysterious letters, too.
Other N.N.books recommended by my mystery loving friends: The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo and Nights of Awe by Harri Nykanen. Kaaberbol and Friis have written two other novels featuring Nina Borg: Invisible Murder and Death of a Nightingale.