Swedish thrillers

When was it decided that Swedes are especially good at thrillers and whose twisted idea was it?
Swedish thrillers suck. Big time! Honestly, it’s the greatest PR stunt of all times in the history of literature.

At least when the Da Vinci Code became a sensation nobody even tried to say it was a good book. Everyone knew it was appallingly bad written, verbose, full of cliches and its story wasn’t even that original. Still, it was a page turner, a typical blockbuster appealing to easy readers so we accepted its ridiculous success as we accept the winners of the X Factor.

But Swedish thrillers have been sold as a great example of genre literature. Not only that, articles have been written about how they show the dark undertow of Scandinavian society, the condition of women, and similar stuff.
This attempt at selling cheap blockbusters as great social novels was immediately evident in southern Europe, where the title of Stieg Laarson’s (the main culprit of this ludicrous trend) first book was changed from The girl with the dragon tattoo into Men who hate women. People rushed to buy it under the assumption it gave an insight into Sweden’s undertow of machism and fascism, whilst it was only a very very long unoriginal novel about a psycho who tortures and kills women in a dungeon, offering some gratuitous graphic descriptions of sodomy and in desperate need of editing (the epilogue, 150 page long, is the ridiculous and incongruous story of how the lead girl manages to get money from a bank account by wearing a wig. Yes yes..)
I mean, really? REALLY? have you not ever seen Silence of the lambs? Seven? Psycho???

The social criticism was supposed to be embodied by the above mentioned female character, a skinny self harmer boasting piercings and leather jackets. Wow, original.
She was abused.
She gets tortured.
Any average episode of “Criminal minds” features women more interesting than that.
When a series of mysterious “numbers” looking like phone numbers appear around chapter three I prayed with all myself, please let them not be bible verses… Of course they were.
I also prayed we would discover at the end the murderer wasnt who it appeared to be from page one. No chance of that. We have the joy of a “baddy” as horrible as a cartoon character.
The whole plot is so pedestrian it can be guessed after 80 pages. Pity the novel goes on for over 500!
I resented Laarson so thoroughly for making me waste a week of my life reading this very badly structured, poorly written, superficial, boring book, he only had to thank he was dead.

Let’s face it, the Millennium trilogy came to fame firstly because his author was dead, raising suspicions about what killed him, speculations about the Swedish neo-Nazi movement’s involvement and so on.
Pure heaven for marketing!! I even suspect Laarson never existed and the whole thing was a publicity stunt…

Problem is, it triggered a boom in Scandinavian thrillers. The BBC is currently broadcasting an unprecedented number of Norwegian, Swedish and Danish series so soporific I almost want a real psycho to appear at my window just to shake me off my torpor. Because let’s face it, despite Laarson’s attempt at proving the opposite, Sweden isn’t exactly exciting. Its nice, beautiful and it has the best political system, social services and public healthcare in Europe, but perhaps all that efficiency and education don’t breed excitement. Everyone is polite and crime rate is low. Thank god for the occasional mad nazi or even miss Marple would commit suicide.


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