Friday 23 June 2023

Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen t. Megan E Turney #ThirtyDaysofDarkness @JennyLundMadsen @OrendaBooks #BookReview


Copenhagen author Hannah is the darling of the literary community and her novels have achieved massive critical acclaim. But nobody actually reads them, and frustrated by writer’s block, Hannah has the feeling that she’s doing something wrong.

 When she expresses her contempt for genre fiction, Hanna is publicly challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days. Scared that she will lose face, she accepts, and her editor sends her to Húsafjöður – a quiet, tight-knit village in Iceland, filled with colourful local characters – for inspiration.

But two days after her arrival, the body of a fisherman’s young son is pulled from the water … and what begins as a search for plot material quickly turns into a messy and dangerous investigation that threatens to uncover secrets that put everything at risk … including Hannah…

 Atmospheric, dramatic and full of nerve-jangling twists and turns, Thirty Days of Darkness is a darkly funny, unsettling debut Nordic Noir thriller that marks the start of a breath-taking new series.

Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen was published in hardback and digitally by Orenda Books on 25 May 2023. It is translated by Megan E Turney. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This review was originally published in the June Edition of the National Federation for Occupational Pensioners Magazine. 

Thirty Days of Darkness is a thrilling crime novel, it’s also packed with humour and lightness. The perfect combination that produces an extremely satisfying read. 

Hannah Krause-Bendix is a literary author from Denmark. Her novels are critically acclaimed, but sell very little copies. Hannah is a snob, she considers crime fiction, and the authors that write it to be beneath her. 

Her nemesis is a best-selling crime fiction author. Adored by his fans, his books sell millions of copies. When Hannah claims that she could write a crime novel in thirty days, her agent sends her to a small Icelandic town to do just that. 

Whilst the town of Húsafjöður is certainly small, and very isolated, it doesn’t stay quiet for very long. The body of a local fisherman’s son is pulled from the water, and Hannah becomes caught up in what she believes is a murder. Not only does this give her great material for the novel that she really doesn’t want to write, but it also exposes her to some dangerous and potentially deadly situations. 

Hannah is an amazing character, fuelled by alcohol, cigarettes and a very sharp tongue, there are laugh out loud moments woven between the bleakness of the the Icelandic setting and the progressive dangers of the murder case. 

The suspense builds throughout the novel as Hannah discovers more hidden secrets, building to a reveal that is both unexpected and utterly brilliant. 

So dark, so atmospheric, so funny and so very tense. This is the perfect balance of murder, mayhem and humour. 

Jenny Lund Madsen is one of Denmark’s most acclaimed scriptwriters (including the
international hits Rita and Follow the Money) and is known as an advocate for better representation for sexual and ethnic minorities in Danish TV and film. 

She recently made her debut as a playwright with the critically acclaimed Audition (Aarhus Teater) and her debut literary thriller, Thirty Days of Darkness, first in an addictive new series, won the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish Crime Novel of the year and was shortlisted for the coveted Glass Key Award. 

She lives in Denmark with her young family.

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