Murder in the Fjords…
I have enjoyed telling creepy stories since I was a child. I’ve always had this voice in my head that asks, “What if …”
When you write a crime novel series with a recurring protagonist, one of the most frequently asked questions you get from readers, journalists, and panel participants—and it’s truly my personal favorite—is: How much of yourself have you worked into your main character? The first time somebody asked me that, I was struck; I realized, upon reflection, that I was not actually aware of how much or little of myself I’d brought to my portrayal of Louise Rick. I have since become quite cognizant and mindful as I’ve gained great clarity. After these many years of living and breathing beside and through the same protagonist—a woman I have invented from my imagination and feel so close to—it is inevitable that she has been rather heavily influenced by what I carry around and ponder with regard to history, experiences, weaknesses, desires, and fascinations. Let’s be clear: Louise Rick is not Sara Blaedel, and I am not Louise Rick, but we do share some common features and interests.
In my latest book, The Killing Forest, which will be published in the United States on February 2, we encounter a Louise Rick who has evolved over the years, as do we all. She’s grown older and amassed knowledge as she’s been through wonderful and heartbreaking events, trials and tribulations. The themes of my books are driven by the times we live in, by that which intrigues and provokes me and influences the ways we navigate.
Over the years, I have explored a number of timely, compelling, and ubiquitous topics like prostitution, Internet dating, drug abuse, peer pressure, foster care, and assisted suicide, among many others. There is always a central thrust to my books, which is developed separately from the main story. Running parallel to how this crucial element develops, we follow our protagonist, Louise Rick, along with her dear friend, Camilla Lind, who is a journalist. Deep within and permeating each book is the story of the friendship between these two women, how their relationship develops, and how they grow and change. They are, for all intents and purposes, one another’s families by choice. We follow their lives, observing them at work as we catch up on their sons and significant others.
We follow them through Copenhagen (Louise lives in my old apartment) and the suburbs where they both grew up (as I did), out in the countryside some 50 kilometers away from the city. It is an area with large forests, fjords, and villages; with ancient history and a 1000-year-old mythology. We follow police work and crime solving in this setting. I live in and love Copenhagen and the countryside; I’m riveted by the cramped network of dangerous connections that can be found there, and all the lurking mysteries and secrets.
In many ways, Louise and I are similarly driven. She immerses herself deeply into her career and always gets 100 percent engaged in her cases, especially the human stories she encounters. She is motivated by personal indignation and outrage. Ultimately, though, she is simply an ordinary woman with an extraordinary job she loves. Just like me.
The Forgotten Girls, which precedes The Killing Forest, marks a fresh chapter in Louise’s life. She starts a new position at the Special Search Agency with the National Police Department. Switching from Homicide proves a huge move for Louise, but she’s fortunate to find herself amidst many of the people she’d worked with previously. Major changes began to unfold for Louise when her new partner, Eik Nordström, enters the scene. In so many ways her total opposite, Eik is relaxed, sensitive, and a bit disorganized. Louise cannot hide her irritation with Eik, who doesn’t seem at all bothered by her reaction or that she is playing hardball. At first, that is …
I hope you’ll enjoy reading my Louise Rick crime novels as much as I’ve enjoyed cooking them up.