Peter James

Peter James is one of our stars. He’s a colourful character with a fund of tales to tell, a petrolhead, gourmet and food critic, film producer and patron of numerous societies and organisations.


On top of that, he has written a string of more than two dozen novels, including the series of Roy Grace books that normally go straight to the top of the bestseller lists, not least with six consecutive Sunday Times number one sellers, as well as bestsellers in many of the more than thirty languages his books have been translated into.

He also has the honour of having written the first ever e-book when his novel Host was published both in print and on two floppy discs (our older readers will remember those), which aroused a furore at the time as the end of the novel as we know it was immediately predicted.

A staunch supporter of the police, he and his publisher some years ago donated a car to his local police force in Sussex and the Peter James-branded car can be seen in use by the force in Brighton, where he lives, splitting his time between Sussex and London.

He’s certainly a busy man, has also been chairman of the Crime Writers Association (and advocated the idea establishing an Icelandic CWA chapter) for two terms and is a board member of International Thriller Writers in the USA, in addition to writing books, driving fast cars and being in demand as a speaker. He’s a wonderful raconteur and his spot at Iceland Noir is certainly something to look forward to.


Icepick shortlist

After much reading and a little wrangling, we have a shortlist for the Icepick award, and we’re taking the opportunity of using today, Raymond Chandler’s birthday, to announce the shortlist.


The five books in question are:

Joël Dicker: La Vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert [The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair] – Icelandic translation: Friðrik Rafnsson

Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl – Icelandic translation: Bjarni Jónsson

Jo Nesbø: Panserhjerte [The Leopard] – Icelandic translation: Bjarni Gunnarsson

Håkan Nesser: Människa utan hund [Man Without Dog] – Icelandic translation: Ævar Örn Jósepsson

Antti Tuomainen: Veljeni vartija [My Brother’s Keeper] – Icelandic translation: Sigurður Karlsson

The judging panel commented that Veljeni vartija [My Brother’s Keeper] by Antti Tuomainen and translated by Sigurður Karlsson is a very well written crime noir from Finland. The author’s strong and sharp style is impressive and memorable, and is delivered well in translation.

Panserhjerte [The Leopard] by Jo Nesbø, translated by Bjarni Gunnarsson, is a terrific crime novel from the Norwegian grandmaster, well translated; the eighth Harry Hole novel and one of the best in the series.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, translated by Bjarni Jónsson, is seen as a brilliant and exciting thriller, fluently translated; an unusual and surprising storyline, with a wonderful plot twist.

The panel found Människa utan hund by Håkan Nesser, translated by Ævar Örn Jósepsson, to be a first class family drama in the form of a crime novel, driven by strong characters; impressively translated.

In La Vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert [The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair] by Joël Dicker, translated by Friðrik Rafnsson an unusual hero gets caught up in a murder mystery full of surprises, keeping the reader’s attention for 700 pages; a cleverly constructed book, and a very fine translation.

The award is founded by Iceland Noir, The Icelandic Association of Translators and Interpreters and The Icelandic Crime Writing Association. The Icepick will be awarded for the first time at the Nordic House in Reykjavik on 22 November 2014.


Incidentally, Raymond Chandler used an icepick as a murder weapon in his 1949 novel, The Little Sister, long before the writers of Basic Instinct decided to have Sharon Stone do the same.

Craig Robertson

Scottish author Craig Robertson’s twenty years as a Sunday newspaper journalist saw him covering high-profile stories such as 9/11, Dunblane, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the Omagh bombing, as well as being pilloried on daytime TV and beating Oprah Winfrey to a scoop. He also interviewed three British prime ministers, spent time on death row in America and dispensed polio drops on Indian back streets.



These days he has left journalism behind and sticks to crime fiction, setting his book in contemporary Glasgow.


This first novel, Random, was shortlisted for the 2010 CWA New Blood Dagger and longlisted for the 2011 Crime Novel of the Year.


Subsequent books are Snapshot (2011), Cold Grave (2012) and Witness the Dead (July 2013).


Then came a step to one side and Craig’s latest book, The Last Refuge, is set in the Faroe Islands and on he describes the pros and cons of the Faroes as a setting.



Craig will be appearing at Iceland Noir and hopefully taking part in an all-Scottish panel, as well as which he’s one of those behind Bloody Scotland, which takes place in Edinburgh in September.







The Icepick Award

It seemed like a good idea, a literary award to go alongside Iceland Noir. So in typical Icelandic style, the Icepick Award is being launched right away.


It’s an award for the best crime novel translated into Icelandic in the previous year, designed to be an award as much for the translator as for the original work – and Icelanders read lot of translated crime fiction. We all recognise the importance of translators in literature as a whole, not least because those writing in a language such as Icelandic that relatively few people speak are keenly aware of the importance of translation in reaching a wider audience.

The award will be handed over to the translator/author duo (if they are both present) at the dinner planned for the Saturday evening of Iceland Noir in November.

The panel of Magnea J. Matthíasdóttir, chair of the Icelandic Association of Translators and Interpreters, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, MP and former Minister of Education and Culture, journalist and respected critic Kolbrún Bergthórsdóttir, and crime writers Ragnar Jónasson and Quentin Bates has been immersed in a flood of translated crime fiction from all over the world over the last few weeks as the rather long longlist is being whittled down to a shortlist of five candidates for the Icepick.

We’ll be announcing the Icepick shortlist next week, on Raymond Chandler’s birthday – he was born on the 23rd July 1888 – and he used an Icepick as the murder weapon in his 1949 novel The Little Sister, beating Sharon Stone to it by several decades.

So watch this space for the shortlist…

Jeff Siger

Jeffrey Siger left an illustrious career in law to spend more time writing on his beloved Greek island of Mykonos. As crime fiction readers, we feel that was a smart move.


Jeff Siger (with bottle) and Quentin Bates (with pint) discussing the finer points of crime fiction over a curry at Crimefest. pic: Ewa Sherman

He was far from being any old lawyer, but worked for a major Wall Street law firm. While there, he helped establish the leading organisation in New York City for private-practice lawyers seeking to volunteer for public service, and served as Special Counsel to the citizens group responsible for reporting on New York City prison conditions. Leaving Wall Street, he joined his own New York City law firm and continued as one of its name partners, litigating high-stakes society scandals and other delicate public and private matters of domestic and international consequence.


His novels have been described by the Greek press as ‘prophetic.’ Eurocrime has named him as being on a par with Joseph Wambaugh and Ed McBain, no less. The City of San Francisco awarded him its Certificate of Honor citing that his ‘acclaimed books have not only explored modern Greek society and its ancient roots but have inspired political change in Greece.’


Jeff was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received degrees in political science and biology from Washington and Jefferson College and in law from Boston College Law School (together with the academic honor, Order of the Coif).


Aside from all the above (shamelessly pillaged from his website), Jeff is a whole load of fun to be around. He’s a great speaker, fizzes with ideas, stories and questions, and is among the elite of modern crimewriting in that he’s one of the regular Murder is Everywhere bloggers. If you haven’t read the blog, then we would urge you to go now – immediately and without stopping, passing Go or collecting £200 – to and spend the rest of your day reading.


Oh, and he writes some outstandingly fine books as well…


Johan Theorin


We’re fortunate to have Swedish writer Johan Theorin taking part in Iceland Noir. 



Although he lives in Gothenburg in western Sweden where he works as a journalist as well as writing novels, his childhood was spent on the Baltic island of Öland where his books have their setting. He describes his books as being a combination of dark crime, Scandinavian folklore and ghost stories, but he says they are not horror or fantasy as he prefers the supernatural element to remain in the background.

 The island of Öland is where Echoes from the Dead, The Quarry, the Darkest Room and his latest novel in English, The Asylum, have their setting, and the island where Johan Theorin’s mother’s family comes from clearly calls to him. He describes the family as sailors fishermen and farmers who lived there for centuries absorbing and contributing to the rich legacy of folklore and tales. He visits the island regularly, particularly in the off season when the tourists have departed and many of the island communities are virtually deserted through the winter months.

His first novel, Echoes from the Dead (Skumtimmen) was voted the best first crime novel by the Swedish Academy of Crime in 2007 and it was a top seller in Sweden, as well as winning the CWA dagger in 2009 for the best crime debut. The Darkest Room (Nattfåk) was voted the best Swedish crime novel of 2008 as well as winning the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel in 2008.



His latest novel in English is The Asylum, published earlier this year.

Johan’s English web site, and one in Swedish


Hans Olav Lahlum


Let’s call this part one of a series of profiles of the characters who will be at Iceland Noir this year. We just about have time between now and November to profile all of our authors, if we do a couple every week.

We’re starting with Hans Olav Lahlum, a Norwegian crime novelist who also has parallel roles as a historian, chess player and politician. He has written biographies and history book as well as fiction, and hold the Guinness World Record for the longest interview recorded, lasting a marathon 30 hours, 1 minute and 44 seconds, and beating the previous record by more than four hours.

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 09.10.32

His crime debut, The Human Flies (Menneskefluene), was published in Norway in 2010 and in English translation in 2014. The book is set in the Oslo of 1968 when the war years were still relatively fresh in people’s memories. Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen is called to a murder scene in an apartment block where renowned resistance hero Harald Olesen has been murdered.

It seems that many of Olesen’s neighbours had reasons for wanting him dead, and Kristiansen (known as K2) enlists the help of Patricia Louise Borchmann, a young woman with a brilliant mind but wheelchair-bound, to unravel the mystery.

Hans Olav Lahlum’s books are written in a classical style that reflects the era in which they are set, and subsequent novels in the series are the Satellite People (Satelittmenneskene, 2011) and The Catalyst Killing (Katalysatormordet, 2012).

Incidentally, there’s a video of that record-breaking interview here, condensed into a mere two minutes. But for the purists out there, the entire 30-hour interview can be found here.

Info & pic shamelessly filched from Wikipedia and elsewhere.