Blaze Me a Sun
In February 1986, the police receive a phone call from a man who claims to have raped a woman outside the small town of Tiarp. I’m going to do it again, he says before the line cuts off.
Sweden is in a state of shock and anger after the murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme. To policeman Sven Jörgensson and his son Vidar, this will prove a decisive time in their lives. While Vidar tries to navigate his way through adolescence and into his father’s line of work, Sven becomes obsessed with the case that will haunt the remainder of his career. Two more young women will fall victim to the Tiarp Man without the police getting any closer to stopping him. Then Sven falls ill and dies, leaving the case unsolved – or so it seems.
Decades later, the story about the brutal murders unexpectedly resurfaces when ex-police officer Vidar Jörgensson is credited with finally solving the case of the feared Tiarp Man. But it soon becomes clear that not everything is what it seems. It will take the unrelenting mind of a writer having returned home, to trace the complicated bloodlines of family and loyalty to finally piece the intricate pieces of the puzzle together. In doing so, he slowly uncovers layers of truth about a crime to which there are no easy answers.
Blaze Me a Sun is an elegantly constructed crime novel about guilt and accountability, as an obsession is passed on from father to son. Master stylist and respected Swedish criminologist Christoffer Carlsson plays with the genre as though the novel were a fictionalized true crime drama, allowing his unnamed writer to reimagine the events of the past. A hunt for the truth serves as a motor in this vast and complex narrative about desperation and self-deceit, and ultimately the will to seek light in a world rife with darkness.
“Few are as confident in their storytelling as Christoffer Carlsson […] He is one of the absolute best stylists of the genre, thoroughly knowledgeable about the classics […] This is a beautiful, melancholy story about how extremely difficult it is to try to clarify what has happened, and as a reader you keep doubting up to the very end: is it true? Has the right killer been identified? It is brilliantly realistic and heartbreakingly human.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Blaze Me a Sun – just like the bestseller Under the Storm – is a book about the treacherous aftermath of a crime, rather than an action-filled crime novel about the crime itself. Christoffer Carlsson writes lightyears better than most other Swedish crime writers, with the focus on psychology, social heritage, and how lies upheld over lifetimes disintegrate with dramatic consequences. A magnificent read even for those who are skeptics of the crime genre.”
M Magasin (Se)
“In Blaze Me a Sun, Christoffer Carlsson captures the enchanting combination of darkness and light, of good and evil, and his Tiarp becomes a place where you want to linger for a long time, despite the frightful story that lies there and that is awakened by the narrator of the book – who in this fictive story also becomes the author of the book. […] Blaze Me a Sun is a phenomenal crime novel with elegantly placed red herrings and gradually building suspense. It is also a thought-provoking portrayal of a moment in time.”
NORRA SKÅNE (SE)
“A multi-layered story by a superb author who manages to maintain the suspense to the very last page, while at the same time making his characters feel authentic and vivid.”
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet (SE)
“Christoffer Carlsson has an ability to portray events, characters, and milieus in just a few words, conveying emotions that hit you right in the chest. Sven’s brooding, his coughing, his increasingly stiff relationship to his son Vidar – it’s all incredibly moving. We follow the fates of the characters over time. The language is at times almost poetic. Carlsson balances between genres and discusses themes of guilt, moral dilemmas, truth, and the tragic hand some people are dealt in life on this earth. I hesitate to categorise this book as a crime novel. The true name is in the subtitle: A novel about a crime.”
BTJ, 5/5 stars (SE)
“This is an incredible text, a story that vibrates with life on many different levels, and a novel that will be ranked high when it is time to summarize the suspense novels published this year. […] There are so many things to love about this text. One is the unusual tenderness of the storytelling that is rare in the genre. The tenderness is there in the portrayal of the milieus; the wander through the writer’s own childhood area is impressive. […] Above all, this tenderness is about the people: this is an author who really cares about his characters, […] As readers we come incredibly close to these people, we get the chance to fully understand them, to care about them, and few authors reach that level of writing. There is also a strong realism in the text that likely stems from the author’s deep knowledge as a distinguished criminologist […] A must-read.”
Svenska Deckarfestivalen (SE)
“A well-written, reflective story about a crime that is incredibly suspenseful. Through 117 short, cliffhanger-dense chapters, the reader is thrown between a series of events playing out across several decades. […] The richly illustrated text is teeming with authentic settings, credible characters, and seamless dialogue – I can see the TV-series now. This is a tender portrayal of ordinary police officers who are marked by guilt and a longing for atonement in a time of change.”
Sveriges Radio P4 (SE)
“Prime Minister Olof Palme is murdered in Stockholm in 1986. On the same night, another murder takes place in Tiarp outside Halmstad. One of the murders changes Sweden for ever. The other changes the life of local policeman Sven, who becomes obsessed with finding out the truth about the murdered woman in Tiarp. […] Christoffer Carlsson is skilled at telling stories that contain so much more than a crime mystery. Here he discusses guilt, truth, moral, and responsibility in a tenderly portrayed rural Sweden.”
“This is so much more than a crime novel, by the fantastic Christoffer Carlsson. […] His previous novel Under the Storm was incredibly good, I was so taken by it. And Blaze Me a Sun is equally moving. […] This is as much about a series of unsolved murders in the small village of Tiarp as it is a portrayal of Sweden undergoing radical change. […] Christoffer Carlsson writes with such care and attention to his characters. He wants them well. Carlsson is a criminologist and does not write more than what’s necessary about the actual crimes. To him, you can tell that the people are much more important. You get to know them and you really feel for them.”
Go’kväll, SVT (Se)