How to pronounce

The last couple of years I have read many books from the Middle East, like The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini), The Underground Girls of Kabul (Jenny Nordberg), Girls of Riyadh (Rajaa Alsanea), to mention a few. In these books the names of cities and people are much more exotic to me than names of places in  the US or England which I am  more familiar with. When I read novels from far away places I often find myself trying to pronounce the different names. Probably with poor results, which I will never know!

So I was thinking maybe someone would appreciate to hear the prounanciation of some of the Swedish names in the books I review,

This is not a uniqe idé, I have seen it on different web sites, but still it can be a useful addition to my reviews.

Here is how to pronounce “Sandhamn”, the island in Viveca Sten’s stories.

You will find more sound files on the page Listen.

Everything I don’t remember – Jonas Hassen Khemiri

everything-i-dont-rememberusThis book stayed in my mind a long time after reading it. Jonas Hassen Khemiri writes about the friction between ethnic Swedes  and other ethnic groups in Sweden. But he also writes about love and friendship. And in this book about compassion.

Samuel dies in  a car crash, suicide or accident? An anonymous writer decides to find out more about Samuels life.

He is a bureaucrat at the Migration Agency, when Samuel’s grandmother moves to a retirement home, Samuel and his girlfriend Laide secretly turn her house into a safe house for immigrant women. This arrangement slowly gets out of hand, and Samuel’s roommate Vandad, who is a junkie and a troublemaker, is asked to guard the place.

The book is difiicult to read, it is a puzzle of  interviews with Samuel’s fiends and neighbours. They tell their different stories of Samuel’s last time in life before the car crash. When the pargraphs are short and the perpectives shifts quickly I find it difficult to know who’s voice it is, and I have to stop and think. This is probobly a good thing!

The story leaves me with many thoughts about what compassion is and for what reason we want to do good.

(First English release July 2016)


Everything I don't remember
Jonas Hassen Khemiri

A nation of writers

dvsWe have become a nation of writers. In today’s newspaper I read that one of every three Swedes has a desire to write a book. And according to the same article, author is rated third on a list of dream jobs for Swedish women. I used to be one of them.

Writing classes are soon as common as yoga classes. Imagine all the hours  spent on writing stories that no one reads, because few are chosen to be published.  But maybe it is no different from marathon runners running mile after mile to practice without the spectators they have on a race? Writing is practice for the brain, and distraction from your ordinary life. Just like running and yoga.

But it also keeps up the hope of being published one day, and becoming a superstar.

This is a fact, the many successful writers from Sweden and the other Nordic countries has changed our perception of a writer. Our image of an author is no longer a lone wolf with a glass of whiskey in his hand, it is more of a celebrity. A person we can watch on talk shows and in Let’s Dance.

Ultimatum – Anders de la Motte

ultimatumA corps is found in the Baltic Sea close to a resort owned by the government party of Sweden. The police start a murder investigation. This is the second book in a series of independent stories with detective inspector Julia Gabrielsson. It is a story about the murder investigation and the intrigues in the police organization, driven by prestige and ambition. In a parallel track there is a story of political intrigues where an ambitious minister is striving for the highest office of government.

It is a well written book and the reader is kept in suspense until the last page, but I feel that the intrigues and the conning both within the police organization and behind the politician and within his family is too much.

(First Swedish paperback release May 2016)

Anders de la Motte

Something is rotten – Linda Olsson & Thomas Sainsbury

Something is rotten

This is the first book in the new Matakana- series, written by Linda Olsson and Thomas Sainsbury under the pseudonym Adam Sarafis.

I young man is found dead in a library, and the police claims it is suicide. But a friend of the dead man contacts Sam Hallberg, an unhappy former terrorist expert, and persuades him to investigate the death. Together with a journalist Sam Hallberg follows the track of a book manuscript written by the dead man. Their investigation leads them to powerful people and unexpected dark secrets driven by greed and political ambition.

Linda Olsson in an excellent writer, and this book is no exception, she handles this new genre well. The characters are complex and slightly dysfunctional, and the dialog is condensed. Sam Hallberg has a difficult past, which can be explored in coming books in the Matakana-series.

(First English release May 2015)



Something is rotten
Adam Sarafis

In the name of truth – Viveca Sten

i-sanningens-namn_pocketAnother thriller in the Sandhamn series, this time with a slightly different angle. A kidnapping of a child and a trial in court where Nora Linde is prosecutor for financial crimes, the two different tracks merge to one in the end in an unexpected way.

This book is a criminal novel without focus on a murder case, but still it is a page turning thriller. I appreciate that.

The scenery from the Swedish archipelago is brilliant and the plot is unraveled in a rapid tempo.

(Not yet translated. First Swedish paperback release May 2016)

In the name of truth
Viveca Sten

The bomb maker and his woman


bombmakaren och hans kvinnaThis is Leif GW Persson at his best. The bomb maker and his woman is an alarmingly up-to-date crime novel. It is written with the author’s knowledge and experience of terrorist crime, extremism and national intelligence. But the story also holds entertaining implied criticism towards incompetent politicians.

On top of this it is a sheer joy not to have Evert Bäckström in the book. Lisa Mattei is now Security Service Operations Chief and an even more sympathetic character than her predecessor. So I am happy.

(First Swedish paperback release July 2016)

The bomb maker and his woman
Leif GW Persson

En mörkare himmel – Mari Jungstedt & Ruben Eliasson

en mörkare himmel

The setting for this crime story is a small village by the sea on one of the Canary Islands. A woman is found dead on the beach, and the body is arranged like a famous painting from the 15th century.

The story along the way of finding the murderer includes love, betrayal and a yoga retreat in a secluded location. There are many similarities to Mari Jungstedt’s books from Gotland, the plot is easy to follow and there is never any excessive violence. The crime mystery and the motive for the murder are central.

The mood is gloomier than in the books from Gotland. But as in the Gotland crimes there is a journalist trying to solve the murder, and to assist her is a dysfunctional former police, employed by the embassy of Norway.

It is good holiday crime reading.

(First Swedish paperback release December 2015)

En mörkare himmel
Mari Jungstedt & Ruben Eliasson

Flickan framför muren – Kristina Appelqvist


This is a traditional crime story in the spirit of Agatha Christie. The setting is a fictional University in a small town in Sweden, Skövde. A German professor shall be awarded an honorary doctorate, and a graduation ceremony is about to take place when the book begins. The professor is from the former DDR and the appointment is controversial, and the headmaster of the University is under great stress, which escalates when he receives a death threat. The graduation ends in chaos. The local police start an investigation but also a female scientist is following the traces to the world behind the Berlin wall before it was torn down.

This book offers a few hours of distraction without bloodshed and violence or ghastly details. The suspense is kept alive throughout the book and some harmless middle aged love affairs are added to the story.

(First Swedish paperback release December 2015)

Flickan framför muren
Kristina Appelqvist

Kanske imorgon – Felicia Welander

kanske-imorgonMaybe Tomorrow is the translation of the Swedish title. Eva has lost her only child in an accident and she blames herself and is deeply depressed. She wants to end her misery, but as she is preparing for her suicide she is overwhelmed by a neighbor, Monika, who is worried about her and moves in to take care of her. Reluctantly there is friendship between the two women. But Monika has her own dark secret, and after a trip to northern Sweden the terms of their friendship changes completely.

The story feels like an honest attempt to deal with difficult questions of grief and friendship. But the course of events are drastic and the characters are a bit cartoonlike.

(First Swedish paperback release November 2015)

Kanske imorgon
Felicia Welander