A snobbish Danish literary author is challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days, travelling to a small village in Iceland for inspiration, and then the first body appears…
Copenhagen author Hannah is the darling of the literary community and her novels have achieved massive critical acclaim. But nobody actually reads them, and frustrated by writer’s block, Hannah has the feeling that she’s doing something wrong.
When she expresses her contempt for genre fiction, Hanna is publicly challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days. Scared that she will lose face, she accepts, and her editor sends her to Húsafjörður – a quiet, tight-knit village in Iceland, filled with colourful local characters – for inspiration.
But two days after her arrival, the body of a fisherman’s young son is pulled from the water … and what begins as a search for plot material quickly turns into a messy and dangerous investigation that threatens to uncover secrets that put everything at risk … including Hannah.
Can authors really be that snobby and bitchy, do they really think their writing, just because it is more literary is that much better than anyone else’s? Madsen’s author Hannah certainly thought she was, in fact I instantly disliked her which I am sure was Madsen’s intention.
Hannah was one tough cookie, unbreakable, and when pushed by fellow author Jorn accepts the challenge of writing a crime novel in thirty days.
Madsen exiled her to a secluded Icelandic town, with suitably suspicious locals, and a dislike for outsiders. The scene was set, our chain smoking, wine swigging snobby author was ready, or was she? Was she ready for the body that turned up, the distinct apathy from the towns one and only policeman, and the secrets that lay buried?
I was definitely ready and as the town unravelled, then so did Hannah. Madsen very carefully and delicately peeled away her layers, the austere exterior remained in place when needed but a person who had feelings, who began to care for those around her started to appear.
It fed her writing, but also pushed her further and further into danger, the twists and turns multiplied, my head started to spin and I wondered where Madsen was taking me.
I am sure Hannah had the same feelings and when her time came to be brave, quick thinking and resourceful she didn’t let herself or anyone else down.
The truth sent ripples though the town, long ago grievances resurfaced, justice served. Yet what did it mean for Hannah? Would it be an author fated for a crime novel she never wanted to write, a woman who finally engaged with her emotions and let down the ever present facade?
It’s not for me to say but the reader to decide. What I will say is that Madsen has written a fabulous debut crime novel, one that I sure her protagonist Hannah would be proud of. Next one please!
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Thirty Days Of Darkness to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Jenny Lund Madsen is one of Denmark’s most acclaimed scriptwriters (including the international hits Rita and Follow the Money) and is known as an advocate for better representation for sexual and ethnic minorities in Danish TV and film. She recently made her debut as a playwright with the critically acclaimed Audition (Aarhus Teater) and her debut literary thriller, Thirty Days of Darkness, first in an addictive new series, won the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish Crime Novel of the year and was shortlisted for the coveted Glass Key Award. She lives in Denmark with her young family.