The best Nordic Noir books to get you hooked on this genre

Who am I?

I'm an engineer with a PhD in electrical engineering and have spent more than twenty years of my career in the nanoelectronics industry researching how to create better electronic chips. The need to tell stories has always been there, but I never really envisioned a career as a writer. It wasn't until my 40s that I decided it was time to rekindle that passion for writing. I've always loved the dark atmosphere of Scandinavian noir TV series like The Killing and The Bridge with their often flawed and intriguing characters. So when I decided to write my first novel, it was almost a given that it was going to be a Nordic Noir thriller.

I wrote...

The Find

By Venezia Miller,

Book cover of The Find

What is my book about?

This Nordic Noir thriller follows a team of police investigators who try to catch a serial killer in the dark forests of Sandviken, Sweden, and it is the first book in a series of suspenseful novels set in the Far North.

During a hike, PhD student Alexander Nordin finds human remains. After discovering more bodies, the police realize they are looking for a serial killer. Inspectors Isa Lindström and her partner Magnus Wieland are assigned to the case. While their investigation soon leads to four families who spent their summer vacation together in the area, the search for the killer triggers a series of dramatic events with far-reaching consequences.

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The books I picked & why

The Snowman

By Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (translator),

Book cover of The Snowman

Why did I love this book?

When the first snow falls, married women disappear. This book has everything a good Scandi Noir should have: a terrifying yet intriguing murderer, an inspector who, despite his many flaws and unorthodox methods, won't let anything stop him and instills a certain sympathy as an anti-hero. All this against a backdrop of eerie snowscapes and an incredibly dark, menacing undertone that shimmers throughout the book.

If you're not familiar with the Harry Hole series, this book will definitely leave you wanting more.

By Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Snowman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon the first snow will come

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Outside, he sees her favourite scarf - wrapped around the neck of a snowman.

And then he will appear again

Detective Harry Hole soon discovers that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.

And when the snow is gone...

When a second woman disappears, Harry's worst suspicion is confirmed: a serial killer is operating on his home turf.

...he will have taken someone else


*Watch out for The Jealousy Man,…

The Chestnut Man

By Soren Sveistrup,

Book cover of The Chestnut Man

Why did I love this book?

It may be a cliche but my first experience with nordic noir was The Killing (Forbrydelsen). This Danish TV series in which inspector Sarah Lund goes in search of the murderer of a young girl fascinated me enormously. Not only because of the oppressive atmosphere that grabs you by the throat at times, but also because of the fantastic character development. The series was created by Søren Sveistrup, the author of the equally magisterial The Chestnut Man. The book begins when a young woman is found horribly mutilated in a playground on a chilly October morning. Next to her is a doll made of chestnuts and sticks. When a chestnut man is also found at the scene of a subsequent murder, it is clear that a serial killer is at work.

By Soren Sveistrup,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Chestnut Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


If you find one, he's already found you ....

From the creator of The Killing, “a full-throttle thriller in the tradition of classic Stieg Larsson” (A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window).

Winner of the Barry Award for Best First Mystery/Crime Novel * A New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a…

Until the Night

By Giles Blunt,

Book cover of Until the Night

Why did I love this book?

Giles Blunt's books show that Scandinavia does not have a monopoly on Nordic Noir. In 2017 we were on vacation in Canada and quite by chance I saw an episode of Cardinal on TV. Only one episode from the first season, but enough to keep me captivated by the story set in the snowy landscapes of Algonquin Bay in Canada. I knew it was based on a book series. When I got home, I immediately found the author and started reading. I chose this book because of some amazing passages that capture the essence of Nordic Noir, among others a frozen body in the ruins of an abandoned hotel in the woods. The book presents a clever plot where seemingly unrelated threads are ingeniously weaved together. 

By Giles Blunt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Until the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's not unusual for John Cardinal to be hauled out of a warm bed on a cold night in Algonquin Bay to investigate a murder. And at first this dead body, sprawled in the parking lot of Motel 17, looks pretty run of the mill: the corpse has a big bootprint on his neck, and the likely suspect is his lover's outraged husband. But the lover has gone missing. And then Delorme, following a hunch, locates another missing woman, a senator's wife from Ottawa, frozen in the ruins of an abandoned hotel way back in the woods. Spookily, she was…


By Ragnar Jónasson,

Book cover of Snowblind

Why did I love this book?

Snowblind is Ragnar Jonasson's debut and the first book in the Dark Iceland series. Again, an author who knows perfectly how to evoke that moody, compelling Nordic Noir vibe. He paints a vivid picture of the isolated town of Siglufjordur in the far north, and the claustrophobic feeling that creeps in when residents are trapped in the city by a snowstorm. A great read that sometimes reminded me of Agatha Christie's locked room mystery The Mousetrap: a snowstorm, broken phone lines, and a bunch of people trapped with a murderer among them.

By Ragnar Jónasson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Snowblind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



A murder takes place in the isolated Icelandic town of Siglufjoerdur, where an avalanche has cut off all communication and the unrelenting snow threatens rookie police officer Ari Thor Arason first investigation...

'A modern Icelandic take on an Agatha Christie-style mystery, as twisty as any slalom...' Ian Rankin

'Ragnar J nasson writes with a chilling, poetic beauty' Peter James

'Seductive ... Ragnar does claustrophobia beautifully' Ann Cleeves


Siglufjoerdur: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors - accessible only via…

The Legacy

By Yrsa Sigurdardóttir,

Book cover of The Legacy

Why did I love this book?

A mother is murdered, and her seven-year-old daughter is the only witness, but she does not speak. Detective Huldar and psychologist Freyja must find out what the girl saw and stop the killer. 

Yrsa Sigurdardottir puts her own stamp on the Nordic Noir genre and combines crime fiction with a touch of horror, which I really like. Although this book is more of a police procedural, the plot is layered and complex, and still brings out that dark, chilling, and disturbing side of the crimes and the secrets the characters hold.

By Yrsa Sigurdardóttir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Legacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 40 best crime novels published 2015-2020

The first in an exciting new series from 'Iceland's outstanding crime novelist' (Daily Express) Yrsa Sigurdardottir.


'Believe all the hype - this is crime at its best.' Heat

Detective Huldar is out of his depth. His first murder case is like nothing he's seen before - a bizarre attack on a seemingly blameless woman.

The only evidence is a list of numbers found at the scene, and the testimony of the victim's eleven-year-old daughter, who isn't talking.

While his…

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