The moment a chill hits the air, nothing makes me want to curl up with crime fiction like a Nordic Noir novel. There’s something about this specific genre of crime fiction that is incredibly immersive. Nordic Noir is Scandinavian crime fiction that typically has a more police procedural plot combined with darker storylines and an incredible atmosphere. If you’re new to this genre, grab your coziest sweatshirt, your favorite coffee mug, and prepare for some incredible binge-reading of the best Nordic Noir books!
Reader beware, your wishlist isn’t the only thing in for a scare.
The Sandman by Lars Kepler
Thirteen years ago, two children went missing and were declared dead, thought to be victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer. Now, the brother is found alive and says that his sister is still alive as well, being held captive by an unknown man called The Sandman. Detective Joona Linna has a history with Jurek Walter and is life went to shambles after making personal sacrifices to put Jurek behind bars. Believing he has an accomplice, Joona enlists the help of a young detective named Saga Bauer to go undercover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is being held. Are the two cases related? Will Saga get the information she needs to bring the sister home alive?
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
Two detectives must hunt down a serial killer tormenting the streets of Copenhagen, leaving a doll made of chestnuts and matchsticks at each crime scene. Suddenly, the detectives discover one of the chestnuts has a fingerprint belonging to a young girl who went missing and was presumed murdered a year ago. With a man behind bars for the young girl’s murder and a killer hunting his next victim, could the two cases be connected—or is something much darker and sinister brewing?
The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl
Cecilia has everything she would want in life: a supportive husband, two wonderful children and a beautiful home in a wealthy neighborhood. But behind that perfect facade, Cecilia’s desire to keep it all together is held together by the fear of her past coming back to haunt her. Meanwhile, Annika is stuck with barely anything in her name, living with an abusive boyfriend who deals drugs. As a last resort, Annika has one chance to get her life on track—and it’s all because she knows Cecilia’s secret. When someone forgets to pick up their child at the local pool, Cecilia tries to bring him home, only to find the house abandoned, catapulting Cecilia’s and Annika’s two worlds to collide.
The Midnight Witness by Sara Blaedel
In the first of a series, Detective Louise Rick is called to the case of the murder of a young woman found strangled in a park. Meanwhile, Louise is also put in charge of the case of a male journalist who had been killed in the backyard of a hotel. Louise’s best friend, journalist Camilla Lind, knew the murdered man. Now, Louise must try to solve two homicides that may or may not be connected and also try to protect her best friend who is willing to go at any lengths for a good story.
The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson
Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of Reykjavik’s police department is forced into early retirement at the age of 64. In an attempt to keep her occupied, she is given the choice to work on a cold case of her choice in her last two weeks as a detective. It doesn’t take long for Hulda to choose to work on the cold case of a young Russian woman whose body washed up on an Icelandic shore, declared a suicide. When Hulda discovers that another young woman vanished at the same time, she vows to bring justice to the two cases as her colleagues make attempts to put a stop to her investigation.
The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck
When a best-selling author’s wife is found dead in her home, it’s not your average crime scene. She is dressed in a beautiful evening gown and her face is frozen in a creepy smile. When investigator Jessica Niemi reports to the scene, she believes this to be a deranged copycat killing that is a reenactment of a murder in the victims’ husband’s books—but quickly learns this is a group that believes in a sinister form of witchcraft. As the list of victims increases, Jessica’s dark past is brought to light as she hunts and prepares to catch a dangerous coven of killers.
We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal
Olof Hagstrom has just returned home for the first time in two decades after being found guilty of raping and murdering a local girl as a teenager. Upon returning home, Olof finds his father dead in the shower. When police detective Eira Sjodin reports to the scene, the childhood fear she felt when Olof was sent away to a youth home for his crimes comes back to haunt her. As Eira investigates the death of Olof’s father, she wonders if the two cases could be connected, and even worse, the town may have to reopen the decades old case Olof was convicted of.
The Corpse Flower by Anne Mette Hancock
No one has seen or heard from Anna Kiel since she was caught on camera leaving a crime scene covered in blood three years ago in which a lawyer was fatally stabbed. Now, journalist Heloise Kaldan has started to receive letters from the missing woman. Meanwhile, detective Erik Schafer is investigating the murder of a reporter who had originally wrote about Anna’s crime. As Heloise continues to receive letters and Erik’s investigation leads him to Heloise, the two realize there is a connection between the two women that will require Heloise to confront a dark past she’s been trying to keep buried.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
On the first snowfall of the year in Oslo, a young boy wakes up to a puzzling scene. His mother has disappeared and a mysterious snowman is in his yard wearing his mother’s scarf. Detective Harry Hole is assigned the case and realizes that this isn’t the first woman to go missing on the first snowfall. After receiving a mysterious letter, Hole realizes that there could be a link between whoever is sending him these menacing notes and the missing women. Even worse, he is part of the puzzle in solving this twisty and terrifying case.