Best Laid Plans

PetronaShortlist2015I had planned to read all six of the novels shortlisted for this year’s Petrona Award for best Scandinavian crime fiction translated into English before the winner is announced in Bristol this weekend. But real life has gotten in the way of my reading during the past two weeks and I have only finished four and a half of the books and so far only reviewed two of them here on the blog. The contenders are

  • Kati Hiekkapelto’s THE HUMMINGBIRD (am half-way through this)
  • Jørn Lier Horst’s THE HUNTING DOGS
  • Arnaldur Indriðason’s REYKJAVIK NIGHTS (finished it a couple of nights ago but no time to review it yet)
  • Hans Olav Lahlum’s THE HUMAN FILES (awaiting me on the nightstand)
  • Leif G.W. Persson’s FREE FALLING, AS IF IN A DREAM (finished it…finally…but not reviewed because I was quite angry with it by the end and wanted to calm down)
  • Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s THE SILENCE OF THE SEA

Of the ones I’ve finished my preference would be for THE HUNTING DOGS but I am very gripped by THE HUMMINGBIRD at the midway point. For me the Persson book – and the trilogy of which it is the final installment – has some merits but is ultimately too inaccessible to be considered a truly great example of the genre. I can’t imagine recommending it to many crime fans of my acquaintance, let alone those who aren’t ‘die hards’ like myself and for some reason I like award winners that have the potential to attract a wider audience.

Two of my fellow crime lovers have actually finished the shortlist so do head over to THE GAME’S AFOOT and CRIME SCRAPS REVIEW for more well-rounded thoughts and we’ll all await the real winner with interest I’m sure.

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12 Responses to Best Laid Plans

  1. Jose Ignacio says:

    Thank you very much Bernadette!

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  2. MarinaSofia says:

    It was a valiant attempt, Bernadette! So what made you angry with the Free Falling book?

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    • It is very long. nearly 600 pages in the version I read. And could easily have been half the length. There. Is. Just. So. Much. Inane. Detail. Every thought the investigators have – whether relevant or not – whether related to their work or not – is on the page. As one of hundreds of examples we learn one day that Lisa takes a mineral water, a banana and an apple from her fridge for the day’s lunch and then we learn the precise time at which she consumes each item. I was screaming “we took it as a given that she ate the ***ing apple you don’t have to tell us everything”. I was angry about it all because there is a good story here…but it is buried in the morass of details but it’s hard to maintain focus when your memory is being crowded with the menu of every meal taken and the precise route of each of the (many, many) walks and drives depicted in the novel. If I calm down enough I will post a review 🙂

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  3. Norman Price says:

    Bernadette thanks for the link. I am ashamed to admit I never got round to reading all the shortlist leaving out the Icelandic novels.
    Then Yrsa won!
    Life frequently gets in the way of reading time, and with that limited time I now want to read what I want to read. No excuses but I did enjoy The Hummingbird. 😉

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    • You’re right Norman, life is too short. Wish I’d given up on the Persson. Always felt like I was just around the corner (or a few pages away) from it being great. But, for me, it wasn’t. I liked the Yrsa novel (not as much as her previous one) and at least I didn’t get carpal tunnel syndrome from carrying it 🙂

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  4. kathy d. says:

    Given your opinions, I’m not reading the Persson. I have too much to read on the list that shall not be named. I will read The Hummingbird and The Hunting Dogs based on eminent bloggers’ reviews, and will look for your review of the former.
    I’m so far behind but am now reading Long Way Home by Eva Dolan, which is compelling and a book by Honey Brown from Oz, loaned to me by a kind blogger/writer.
    Life gets in the way, but also dvds. Someone bought me months of Netflix and I lie here like a slug and watch movies. IQ points are dropping like flies here.

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    • Don’t be too hard on yourself Kathy. I admit I have succumbed to the lure of Netflix too. It’s only just become available here in Australia so there was a good sign-up deal through my internet provider.

      I definitely don’t think you’ll miss much by skipping the Persson book.

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  5. kathy d. says:

    I have watched a lot of good European TV mysteries, am addicted to them. Between the library and Netflix, I have been in crime fiction fans’ heaven. I am trying to find The Slap and The Code, TV shows from Oz, I believe. Not available here yet.

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  6. I’ve read Reykjavik Nights which I enjoyed, but I’m not familiar with the others.

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  7. FictionFan says:

    The Persson was the first of his I’d read and I agree totally – grossly overpadded with trivia. And I couldn’t stand the sections with Backstrom – I know lots of people enjoy his character, but I found him a total caricature. I haven’t read any of the others, but am looking forward to reading the Sigurdardottir at some point – I’ve really enjoyed some of her other stuff.

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  8. kathy d. says:

    Have you finished The Hummingbird yet? I’m contemplating buying it, but await your review. Norman’s is a good recommendation. Just finished Eva Dolan’s Long Way Home — liked it much.

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