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Best Scandinavian Crime Novel Award 2023 To Pascal Engman's Femicide

Scandinavian noir is one of the favourite reads for many of us. And they are so productive that it's difficult to follow all new gripping releases. That's where The Petrona Award might be of a help, as it honors the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

It's too soon for the winners of this year but we can overview last year's Petrona Award, which is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia, and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

Seven impressive crime novels from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have been shortlisted for the 2023 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year:

  • Pascal Engman - FEMICIDE tr. Michael Gallagher (Sweden, Legend Press)

  • Anne Mette Hancock - THE CORPSE FLOWER tr. Tara F Chace (Denmark, Swift Press)

  • Håkan Nesser - THE AXE WOMAN tr. Sarah Death (Sweden, Mantle)

  • Petra Rautiainen - LAND OF SNOW AND ASHES tr. David Hackston (Finland, Pushkin Press)

  • Joachim B Schmidt - KALMANN tr. Jamie Lee Searle (Switzerland, Bitter Lemon Press)

  • Lilja Sigurðardóttir - RED AS BLOOD tr. Quentin Bates (Iceland, Orenda Books)

  • Gunnar Staalesen - BITTER FLOWERS tr. Don Bartlett (Norway, Orenda Books)

Femicide by Pascal Engman was announced the winner of the 2023 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. The novel tells of a young woman, Emilie, who is found murdered in her Stockholm apartment in the same week that her violent ex-boyfriend is released from prison. Detective Vanessa Frank is assigned the case. Meanwhile, we hear the story of young journalist Jasmina, the survivor of a recent, severe sexual assault. Author Pascal Engman dives into the world of incels through Tom, a very believable character who is part of a weaponised gender war brought about by, amongst other things, misguided hatred, feelings of being ignored by society, and sexual frustration. Femicide comes to a pinnacle as the attacks against women escalate on a huge scale. 

According to the judges, "Femicide is a challenging read that broadens thinking. The writing is well informed, the book has a good sense of urban space, and it picks up pace in a satisfying manner. There is a cast of interesting, and sometimes unconventional, characters for the reader to get to know. All the judges felt this book offered something creatively original that captured the zeitgeist of the early twenty-first century and it is a deserved winner. "

We're yet to know about this year's winner in autumn 2024.


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