Easter is approaching, and with it come some unusual traditions around the world. For example, did you know a Nordic Easter involves crime solving? In Norway, it’s a beloved annual holiday activity. So what are the best Easter crime books to read right now to welcome the season? We’ve curated a list of the best new and classic Nordic Noir books to curl up with this Easter. Just be sure to lock the door before you begin.
it’s Easter crime season!
Moody, dark and usually set in the blustery landscape of winter, nobody does mystery and intrigue like the Scandinavians. Despite consistently ranking among the happiest places in the world, the countries of Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland continue to churn out stories filled with mercurial characters, down-and-out detectives and dark and twisty plot lines. Make no mistake, we’re hooked on page-turning Nordic Noirs.
Ready to dive in and enjoy a toe-curling thriller this Easter crime-solving season? These 12 books combine harsh climates with harsh crimes for stories that promise to keep you up all night reading.
12 best new and classic Nordic Noir books to read this Easter
1. Hidden in the Snow by Vivica Sten
In Hidden in the Snow ($11), the Swedish ski town Åre becomes the backdrop for a bone-chilling crime. Shortly after Stockholm police officer Hanna Ahlander retreats to her sister’s ski lodge for some much needed comfort after both her personal and professional lives crash, the entire village is shaken by the sudden vanishing of a local teenage girl.
Hanna can’t help but investigate, and while searching for the missing person, she lands a job with the local police department. There she joins forces with Detective Inspector Daniel Lindskog, who has been tasked with finding the girl. Their only lead: a scarf in the snow.
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2. Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is perhaps the most popular Icelandic Nordic Noir writer working today (And, rather surprisingly, she is also a well-known children’s book writer). The first in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series, Last Rituals ($14) opens with the body of a German graduate student found murdered and strange symbols carved into his chest.
Police waste no time in making an arrest, but the victim’s family isn’t convinced that the right man is in custody. They ask Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, an attorney, to investigate. It isn’t long before Thóra and her associate, Matthew Reich, uncover more about the murdered man’s obsessions. They start down a shocking and dangerous path.
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3. The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen
No Noir list is complete without including Finnish author Antti Tuomainen. In The Rabbit Factor ($16), Henri Koskinen’s life is turned upside down when he unexpectedly loses his job as an insurance mathematician and inherits an adventure park from his brother with a host of problems. This includes peculiar employees and troubling financial issues.
The book is currently being adapted into a movie by Amazon Studios starring Steve Carrell and book 2 of the series, The Moose Paradox ($26) will be released in the US on April 11th.
BUY NOW – $16.00.
4. Stigma by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger
The fourth book four in the Blix & Ramm series, Stigma ($8) by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger arrives on Kindle April 13th. Alexander Blix, a former Oslo police investigator, is convicted for avenging his daughter’s death. He now finds himself in a Norway high-security prison. Blix’s former colleagues meanwhile are on the hunt for the killer and the one lead they have brings them straight to Blix’s prison ward. One of Blix’s few visitors, journalist Emma Ramm, has become an ally and helps him connect the outside world and the one he now finds himself in.
And as he begins to piece things together, he identifies a woodland community in Norway where deeply scarred inhabitants foster deadly secrets. These secrets may be the unraveling of everyone involved.
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5. Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl
In Cabin Fever ($16), Kristina is a successful Oslo therapist whose client begs her to join her at a remote cabin, deep in the heart of a Norwegian forest.
Throw in some mid-winter darkness, the chilling cold, and an ill-thought-out trek into the isolated wilderness and, well, it’s safe to say that what happens next is no teddy bears picnic.
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6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Chances are you might be familiar with the character Lisbeth Salander and the book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ($10). It might even be the O.G. of Easter crime books when it comes to global popularity. Thanks to the wild success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and the subsequent movies that followed, even people who haven’t read or seen it feel as if they have.
If you’re among those who have somehow missed or avoided the one up to now, consider this your second chance to get to know the world of one of the Nordic noir genre’s most captivating heroines, as she hacks her way through a forty-year-old missing person’s case together with the disgraced financial reporter Mikael Blomkvist.
BUY NOW – $10.00.
7. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø
Hailed as one of Jo Nesbø’s best novels, The Redbreast ($13) is a great place to dive into Nordic Noir. It’s his third book featuring Harry Hole. Harry Hole is a depressed and alcoholic detective who is in many ways, the blueprint for the classic Nordic Noir detective fiction.
Norwegian author Nesbø’s book takes the reader back and forth between modern-day Oslo and the Eastern front during WWII. A tale of revenge unfolds, focused on a war criminal who was not punished due to a technicality, with Hole on the trail.
BUY NOW – $13.00.
8. The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell Eriksson
It’s been four years since Cecilia Karlsson vanished without a trace from the island of Gräsö. So when former police inspector Ann Lindell hears that she’s been seen alive, she cannot help but try to investigate.
The Deathwatch Beetle ($17) explores Sweden in the throes of change, much like the insect of the title, while exploring social class, family, and, above all else, how men treat women. Readers will be rewarded with a slow yet steady plot that builds to a rewarding climax.
BUY NOW – $17.00.
9. The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson
“Teacher wanted at the edge of the world”. So begins the ad that catches the eye of 30-year-old Una in The Girl Who Died ($18). Keen to get out of Reykjavík and start a new life for herself, Una moves to the remote village of Skálar with just 12 inhabitants to teach two young girls. Not long after her arrival tragedy strikes.
With the addition of sinister hostility from the locals, the dark, bleak landscapes, and some supernatural undertones, this is one creepy thriller that may have you keeping the lights on.
BUY NOW – $18.00.
10. We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal
Awarded Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year, We Know You Remember ($15) transports you to the Swedish countryside and into the life of Eira Sjödin. Eira Sjödin is a young detective investigating a suspicious death that resurrects long-forgotten nightmares of her childhood and hometown. Expect the unexpected.
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11. The Sandman by Lars Kepler
Don’t let the high page count of this book fool you. The Sandman ($14) is a fast-paced and action-packed thriller from the husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. It will keep you turning pages and possibly up all night.
The book opens with a young man who has been found malnourished and near death on a snowy railroad bridge near Stockholm. The police discover that he and his younger sister went missing almost 13 years ago. They have since then been presumed to be victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter. However, the young man explains that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he calls the Sandman.
BUY NOW – $14.00.
12. I’m Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork
We finish our list of the best Easter crime books to read this season on a high note with a classic novel of the genre. I’m Traveling Alone ($15) is a chilling Nordic Noir fiction thriller centering on the hunt for a vengeful killer targeting children in Oslo. The novel follows Investigators Holger Munch and Mia Kruger, a brilliant detective with her own unnerving past, as they delve into the mystery of who done it, only to find that they might be closer to the killer than they originally thought. Like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the relationship between the two investigators is layered and complex, making the book extra enthralling.
BUY NOW – $15.00.
12 new and classic Nordic Noir Books Best for Easter 2023
That’s it, our favorite cold-weather Nordic Noir Easter crime books to read this spring. The good news? After reading and watching one or more of these thrillers, you won’t feel weird about biting the head of that chocolate Easter bunny ever again. Happy reading!