While some of Scandinavia's literary elite looked down on [Peter] Høeg and [Henning] Mankell abandoning serious fiction in favour of something unashamedly mass market, there's little argument that they set the standard for what followed. Their books may have been populist but they were never pulp, and the quality of writing in Scandinavian crime fiction has remained, in general, a notch or two higher than elsewhere.
But no one buys a thriller for the writing alone: the Scandinavians have consistently come up with great plotlines that are as cold and bleak as the locations in which they are set. It's this sense of the other that sets them apart.
For the rest of the article, click here. And don’t neglect to scroll down to the very end for Crace’s list of authors to watch out for, complete with brief bios and series descriptions—an excellent resource if this is a new arena for you.