I am a fan of an Icelandic setting in my crime fiction and therefore I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen.
Thirty Days of Darkness begins with novelist Hannah who wrote a critically acclaimed novel, albeit one that no one had read. She is incredibly scathing of crime fiction, especially her arch nemesis Jorn, a best selling crime fiction writer. During a rather public spat with him she states that she believes she could write a crime novel in a month, a challenge that her publisher decides to take her up on and quickly ships her off to a remote village to stay for 30 days to complete her first crime fiction novel. It’s not long before she realises it might not be as simple as she thought, but equally the village doesn’t turn out to be as quiet as she thought either. When a body turns up Hannah decides to turn amateur sleuth in the hope that it will ignite her inner crime writer!
This was a good read that I enjoyed on the whole. The actual novel writing part of Hannah’s story is almost secondary to the plot, and glossed over at the end but as a story prop it worked well. The focus is very much on the crime in the village, and the secrets and lies of all it’s inhabitants.
The setting of the book is key to the drama within. The long dark nights and cold short days give the story a sense of claustrophobia that only comes from places where the dark outweighs the light. Obviously this was a translated novel but clearly the translation was good as the writing seemed to flow well and I enjoyed how the story progressed.
The character of Hannah wasn’t particularly likeable for me, but it did make a change to read a novel where you are not instantly drawn to the main protagonist. However when her nemesis Jorn appears the pair together quickly lift the novel adding a humour to what was essentially a dark story.. There is a big cast of characters despite the small village setting and they are all drawn skilfully. Each one becomes a suspect in the crime, as one by one the clues to the true perpetrator are slowly revealed.
Overall I felt this was a good debut, and definitely worth a read if you like a bit of Scandinavian crime. Huge thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my copy.
Find out what others thought of the book by visiting other stops on the blog tour:
Pre-order your copy here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thirty-Days-Darkness-Jenny-Madsen/dp/1914585615