Fans of Scandinavian crime fiction have been spoilt for choice in recent years, with the likes of Henning Mankell, Arne Dahl, Jo Nesbo and Karin Fossum thrilling and terrifying in equal measure.

Which is why any new names on the scene need to offer something a bit different in order to stand out from the ever–growing crowd.

And that’s where Mons Kallentoft comes in.

His main character is a brilliant detective who works too much, drinks too much and has relationships problems. So far, so familiar, right?

Think again. Because Mons’ troubled hero is actually a heroine – welcome to the world of Detective Inspector Malin Fors.

Those at the event were treated to a reading by Mons of an excerpt from the book Savage Spring. Event chair, and Bloody Scotland co–founder, Alex Gray is a big fan of the dark, poetic prose and it was easy to see (or should that be hear?) why.

Audience Bloody Scotland 2013 Alex Hewitt

As readers, we are given Malin’s point of view but the Swedish author is fairly unusual in the respect that he also gives a voice to the victims whose murders she must try to solve. “You should feel the breath of the dead in your ear,” he told the audience, as a cold chill no doubt crept down the spines of everyone in the room.

Four of his books are available in English so far – Midwinter Sacrifice, Summertime Death, Autumn Killing and Savage Spring. Clearly a fan of the seasons, and with all the usual ones used up, the next book in the series is, naturally, called The Fifth Season.

As well as the Malin Fors books, the hugely talented Mons is also the author of the novels Pesetas, Marbella Club, Attractive, Healthy and Spontaneous, plus Food Noir, a collection of food essays.

So how did it all begin?

A keen footballer and ice–hockey player, at the age of 14, a sports injury confined him to the house. A lack of anything decent to watch on television saw him turn to books and delve into the darker elements of literature. His debut novel, Pesetas, was first published in Sweden in 2000 and saw him win the Swedish equivalent of the Costa Book award. However, it is the Malin Fors books that have seen Mons establish himself as one of the most exciting Scandinavian crime writers around at the moment.

Once the roving microphone made its way around the room, one audience member wanted to know why, as a man, Mons is so good at writing a female protagonist? He explained: “As a good writer, you should be able to write – whether the characters are male or female. Men and women are not that different. Malin is very much a human being.”

As for Malin being a television star of the future, Mons isn’t so sure.

“I’ve turned down a lot of television and film offers,” he revealed. “Malin is my baby. I’m still waiting for the perfect moment.”

Post by Lisa Gray