‘Lycke’ by Mikaela Bley


Genre: Crime

“Nordic noir” the most delicious name for a genre of fiction. Crime novels set in depths of Scandinavia are an ever increasing trend and, if my time working in a book store taught me anything, evokes some very loyal readers.

‘Lycke’ was my introduction into the genre and is a Swedish thriller and the first in the Ellen Tamm series. What was I expecting? I was expecting realism, with believable characters that highlight the complexity of human psychology.

This book is a crime thriller set in Stockholm that tells the story of an 8 year old girl who goes missing and the journalist, Ellen Tamm, who becomes obsessed with trying to solve the crime. The book has likenesses to the Stieg Larsson and ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ series. I was very excited to receive this book because I’ve always been intrigued by Scandinavian crime.

‘Lycke’ is the debut novel by Mikaela Bley and the first in the Ellen Tamm series, so this book has a lot of character and story set up, which can feel a little unresolved- which for a stand alone novel, is bad but this isn’t one. But it does raise the interesting question of whether books in series should read like their own stories or is it ok for them to blend?

It is female lead, which I always like, who is hard working and obviously good at what she does. However, Ellen Tamm’s character development felt quite forced, which I’ve noticed is common in debut authors (e.g. E.L. James in ’50 Shades of Grey’) The reason it felt forced because if you’re going to tell the reader something about the character, it needs to have relevance to the story.

The most intriguing feature of this book though is that it’s a tragic book but a undeniable page-turner

Noir fiction, yay or nay?

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