This Nordic Noir crime novel could almost be for your ordinary adult crime fan, were it not so short. But it is actually a YA noir, written by Swede Christoffer Carlsson. This is his first YA book, but he’s an award winning author of several adult crime novels. I was attracted to his lovely surname, and the fact that he hails from a place I know well.
I don’t think the story is set there, though, but it’s still easy enough to visualise those dark and intimidating woods. I don’t like woods.
To my mind this is quite a daring story for translation into English. I’m sure the Swedish teenager reading it won’t turn a hair over the sex, but I can see that UK gatekeepers might have something to say about it. Hopefully October is the Coldest Month will make it into the hands of new readers without interference.
Set in Småland, and I imagine far from the nearest IKEA, we meet 16-year-old Vega who lives in a small community in the woods with her mother and older brother. And now her brother has disappeared and the police are looking for him.
Vega knows more than she will admit, and she sets out to find Jakob, and also to discover what’s behind his reason for hiding, and how it will affect her, and for that matter, the lives of everyone else out there.
Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, it feels throroughly Swedish and depressingly noir.