Ever since Stieg Larsson shone a light on the brilliance of Swedish crime writing with his acclaimed and best-selling Millennium trilogy, listeners around the world have sought out and devoured the crime fiction of his countrymen (and women), many of whom have proved to be some of the greatest masters of the genre. In this landmark and unique publication, Sweden's most distinguished and best-loved crime writers have contributed stories to an anthology that promises to thrill even the most jaded mystery listener.
Containing 17 stories, all never before published in English, A Darker Shade of Sweden illuminates the shadow side of this beguiling country as never before, and promises to be among the most highly anticipated crime fiction of the season.
©2014 John-Henri Holmberg (P)2014 HighBridge Company
To much blah blah blah, not enough of the stories. They only way I made it through the book is I thought the next chapter would be better.
I kept listening to this assortment of dull crime stories, hoping that one would actually be good. My hope was never realized. The only interesting part was my cat's reaction to the 'mysterious' music that was played in between each story; it scared the heck out of her.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (Swedish crime fiction) - There are 15 or 20 short stories in this collection, each lasting about an hour or less. I enjoyed this book as a whole but, as my title suggests, some stories were much better than others. They are written by various Swedish authors, each with their own writing style. Some are just basic detective-type stories, some are thrillers, some are dark and eerie, some noir... blah, blah. Steig Larsson himself (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) wrote one of the stores, and his long-time girlfriend pitched in a couple as well. Another reviewer, Alcairha, has written an excellent summary of each story and rated them individually. I agree with most of her opinions.
The entire first chapter is basically an introduction to Swedish crime fiction which I could have done without, and before each story is a summary of its author. I listened to all that stuff but, in hindsight, I wish I'd fast-forwarded through it because I gained very little information of interest when compared with the time spent listening to it all.
My favorite was the third story entitled "Never in Real Life," about a couple on a camping trip. Not only is it very good, but the ending totally rocks! Another story toward the end of the book is entitled "Diary Braun." I was totally confused by the story till it finished and I did a Google search to figure who in the heck it was about. While I enjoyed the mystery and suspense, I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I'd been familiar with the story behind it. If you're interested, do a Google search of the name Eva Braun and read briefly about her relationship with Hitler, their marriage and their deaths. Interesting stuff.
PERFORMANCE - There are a variety of narrators reading these stories, some male, some female. All were very good and one of my favorites, Scott Brick, narrates a couple.
OVERALL - I would recommend this to all mature listeners, whether male or female. There are some sexual references (including lesbianism) and some cursing, but not a lot of either. I hope to hear more from some of these authors in the future!
1. Tove Alsterdahl: Reunion
Meandering, atmospheric tale of a group of school friends reuniting as middle aged women. Can't quite decide if it's a ghost-story or a murder mystery. 3*
2. Ralph and Silla Borland: He liked his Hair
Incomprehensible story with minimal plotline that was a serial killer story?
Vampire novel? Werewolf novel? Not helped by the glacial pace of the narration. Thank God this was a short story! 1*
3. Aka Edvardson: Never in real Life
Terrific story of a couple's summer vacation turning out not to be quite what it looks like… 5*
4. inger Freemansson: In our darkened house
Excellent nugget about a woman's revenge on her former coworkers. 4*
5. Eva Gabrielson: Paul's last summer
Slight tale of a premature tombstone. 2*
6. Ana Johnsson: The Ring
Bullied child uses "The Ring" to give him courage and gets more than he bargained for. 4*
7. Asa Larsson: The Mail Run
Standard story of murder, misdirection and suspect wrongly accused/convicted by prejudice, but well told in a frontier mining town with medieval morals 4*
8. Stieg Larsson: Brain Power
Cautionary tale with the theme of "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" taken to an extreme. Interesting idea, but you can see that the writer was young and immature since the characters are poorly developed. 3*
9. Henning Mankshall and Hagen Nesser: an unlikely meeting
Plotless story of two Swedish crime writers and their fictitious inspectors meeting on Christmas Eve. 1*
10. Magnus Montellius: An Alibi for Señor Venegas
Excellent tale of small time, petty politician manipulated into a false murder confession. 5*
11. Dag Orland: Something in his Eyes
Terrific morally ambiguous story of a repressive father and a daughter's fall from a balcony. Was it murder or was it suicide? 5*
12. Maryland Persson Jolito: Day and Night my Keeper Be
Strong character study, but depressing tale of a missing child. *4
13. May Huval and Per Walu: The Multimillionaire
Silly, pointless story about the start of the career of a minor con artist, who became a millionaire. It's beyond me what this story is doing in this collection since it contains neither murder nor mystery. It certainly wouldn't convince me to read the novels of the authors, who are reportedly Sweden's most famous and enduring crime writing couple. 1*
14. Sara Stridsberg: Diary Braun
A major disappointment after all the positive reviews. The story seems to consist mostly of endless descriptions of how she is getting rid of her jewelry and clothing while preparing for death 2*
15. Johann Theoren: Revenge of the Virgin
Skeletons in a rowboat. not much to it. Meh. 2*
16. Veronica von Schenck - Eitreia. an author to keep track of. Unfortunately, her books are only available in Swedish. Terrific story of an art dealer turned art fraud expert. I would love to read more of this author’s stories. 5*
17. Katerina Wenstahm:Too Late Shall the Sinner Awaken. Outstanding short story featuring a lesbian detective, Charlotta Lund, who is told the solution to an unsolved murder of a teenage boy that happened 25 years ago. 5*
I particularly loved the intros to each of the stories, which gave background information on the writers. I will try to read some of the novels by these writers, if they are available in English, since I generally prefer novels to short stories.
74 y o avid reader using either my eyes or ears. I make earrings that I donate to shelters and while I work, I listen to wonderful books
As with any collection os short stories, some are good and some not. Actually more "not."
Found the padding about biographies repetitious and too long, as if the editor had to sell the writers as good. Stories were too predictible with shallow characters. If this is the best of Swedish crime fiction, it is mostly mediocre.
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
This anthology of mystery writers hits the mark if you are a 7th grade English teacher and like the things your students come up with: simple, non-sensical, discordant, and BORING. If this is an example of Swedish creative writing, I will stick with the Norwegians.
I am a working mom who loves to squeeze in listening to books while walking, doing chores or commuting.
I did enjoy it, although I was disappointed since many parts were anti-God. Most of the characters were messed up and held little hope, so I guess it stands to reason this was from a God - less perspective.
It was a collection of short stories from the "darker" side, so what can you do with that?
The narrators were really great. The "bridge" music between the stories was really cool too. Tavia Gilbert is a favorite.
I think these stories could inspire a new re-make of "The Twilight Zone" television series.
I have become obsessed with the nordic police procedurals. Iceland - Norway - Sweden - have all been awesome - this compilation was well worth the listen and I learned a lot
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