Swedish crime author Arne Dahl, real name Jan Arnald (born 1963), is one of the most important contemporary names in the crime genre today. Persistently, he manages to relate pressing and contemporary issues within his work. His latest book, Hunted, is a dark and gripping Scandi-thriller set in the snowy tundra of rural Sweden. Again, he demonstrates that he is one of the finest literary crime writers In Scandinavia.
Hunted is book two of the cops Sam Berger and Molly Blom on the lam from the authorities as a result of the disastrous investigation of the previous book Watching You, where both became implicated in a colleague’s murder.
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Jan Arnals becomes Arne Dahl
Arne Dahl published Barbarer (2001) and Maria och Artur (2006) under his own name, but under his pen name he has written a series of crime novels about a fictional group of Swedish crime investigators called “A Gruppen” (“the Intercrime Group”). The books have been translated into several languages. The first five books were made into 180-minute films, screened as two 90-minute episodes per story.
In 2007, the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers awarded Dahl a special prize for his “vitalization and development of the crime genre through his Intercrime series”. In 2011 Arne Dahl received the ‘Best Swedish Crime Novel Award’ by The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers. During the last few years Dahl has experienced an enormous breakthrough, receiving rave reviews from some of the most respected newspapers in Europe.
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Hunted opens in rural Sweden with a letter, apparently written by a Jessica Johnsson, a paranoid woman in a wilderness cabin. The letter is addressed to Sam’s former partner, Desiré Rosenkvist, AKA Deer, now promoted to Superintendent head of Stockholm Police. It contains uncanny knowledge about Deer as well as information about a serial murderer who targets women with children. The author also notes that someone, possibly the murderer, is hiding in the woodwork and is approaching.
“I got a foot in in the so-called world of ‘fine culture’ in Sweden, and to take the step into the world of crime fiction was a big one,” explains Dahl, who was known as a literary novelist, academic and cultural critic before turning into crime fiction.
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Looking for a fresh start
Dahl made the choice to write under a pseudonym because he was looking for a fresh start, and inhabiting the roles of both an academic and crime writer did not seem possible in Sweden.
In Hunted, nothing is what it seems as identities blur and become transposed. We shift to a point on the timeline where Sam is injured and committed to a psychiatric institution. He is obsessed with escaping at all costs while feverishly trying to recall recent events. How this episode connects to current events becomes key to the murder investigation.
‘Dahl’s intelligent mastery of the genre delivers a flawless atmospheric thriller – chilling in every sense’ wrote The Sunday Times Crime Club.
One Of The Finest Literary Crime Writers In Scandinavia, written by Tor Kjolberg