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Review of Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen (Translated by Megan Turney)

When snobby literary author, Hannah Krause-Bendix, becomes frustrated with writer's block, she projects her frustration onto acclaimed crime fiction author, Jørn Jensen, exclaiming that 'any idiot can write a book like this in a month'. With that shocking challenge accepted, Hannah's agent arranges a secluded writing retreat for her in the close-knit, Icelandic village of Husafjordur. Can she actually come up with an idea and write a bestselling crime fiction novel in just thirty days?

Upon her arrival at Husafjordur Hannah begins to come to terms with her debilitating writer's block, when a fisherman is found dead, presumed murdered! Hannah quickly finds herself the pseudo-detective of the case as it becomes clear that the lead inspector of this small village has no clue how to proceed. Situated in a claustrophobic environment echoing the small-town atmosphere of Agathe Christie and Ragnar Jónasson crime classics, Thirty Days of Darkness will have you hooked from the prologue, and breathless with anticipation until the final page. Madsen brings us a protagonist who can only be described as endearingly annoying at the beginning of the book yet throughout the unravelling storyline becomes increasingly more three-dimensional. Thirty Days of Darkness is the first instalment of a new crime fiction series, and I for one cannot wait to catch up with Hannah in the next book!

This is a claustrophobically chilling novel from a new exciting voice on the crime fiction block which will have readers biting their nails with suspense, suspicion and tension as Hannah races to unravel the culprit behind this grizzly murder. With threads of the storyline tied up pretty tight, you'll definitely get yourself in knots with what I'm sure will become your next favourite novel!

A shoutout to the translator of Thirty Days of Darkness, Megan Turney, who has done a great job in translating the key elements of this debut novel, to the point where we can clearly feel the enveloping atmosphere of the setting, as well as getting to authentically know our protagonist and the various cast of characters. A brilliant example of a writer - translator duo! Bravo!

Review by Danielle.

Thirty Days of Darkness was published on 25/05/23 by Orenda Books.

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