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Samuel Bjørk (1969) is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Bjørk’s first installment in the Mia and Munch Series, I’m Traveling Alone, is an international success story that has gained critical acclaim and captivated readers all over the world, including hitting #1 on German newspaper Der Spiegel‘s Bestseller List.

Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and then went on to write two highly acclaimed literary novels, Pepsi Love (2001) and Speed for Breakfast (2009). The self-taught, media-shy artist has also released six albums, written five plays, showed contemporary art pieces in various galleries and translated Shakespeare.

When the first installment in the Mia and Munch Series, I’m Traveling Alone, was published in Norway in 2013, it was nominated for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award and became an instant international bestseller. Samuel Bjørk has been compared to the likes of both Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø, and has proved himself to be a force to be reckoned with in the crime genre. His beloved bestselling novels have been published in 33 territories around the world.

The long-awaited fourth book about Mia Krüger and Holger Munch, The Wolf, was published in October, 2021.

Photo of author Samuel Bjørk by Harald Øren

Reviews

“If this is a debut novel, it is something of a literary sensation. Even writers with long experience are rarely able to compose their plots with such elegance and in a language so completely free of clichés as Bjørk does. […] With his first book about investigators Mia Krüger and Holger Munch, Bjørk has already qualified himself into the mystery writers’ elite division. Watch out, Jo Nesbø!”
Bergens Tidene (NO)

“One is tempted to call it a textbook on the modern crime novel. This is how it should be done. […] All the ingredients are there and they are combined by a steady hand.”
Folkebladet (DK)

“An incredibly suspenseful crime novel that captures you from the start.”
Plusbog (DK)

“An absolutely brilliant Norwegian crime novel that has everything you want in a good story. Believable and interesting characters. A truly thrilling mystery and plot. And unexpectedly lovely descriptions of place that create a welcome contrast between scenes that take place in urban environments vs. the countryside.”
Aftonbladet (SE)

“Tense and smartly constructed narrative. […] instantly endearing.”
Wall Street Journal (US)

“Bjørk makes his debut in the genre, but obviously masters the craft at least as well as most of his more famous colleagues. […] (Both Bjørk and Modiano) depict the realities of life for abandoned children and teenagers. Honorable!”
Norran (SE)

“Harrowing and enthralling action sequences…”
Publishers Weekly (US)

“Bjørk constructs a plot like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces, and somehow it all works.”
Kirkus Reviews (US)

“A breath of fresh air in the crowded Scandinavian crime genre, this suspenseful novel will hook readers early and keep them on the edge of their seat until the final pages. Fans of Jo Nesbø are sure to enjoy the flawed yet likable characters.”
Library Journal (US)

“Tense, thrilling and genuinely scary.”
Heat Magazine, 5 Stars (UK)

“If you’re one of the millions who have developed an appetite for Scandinavian crime thrillers, then get ready to sink your teeth into this particularly juicy example. […] This is simply a terrific debut. The characters are completely believable, the plot is scalpel sharp and, as the hunt escalates, it will frighten the wits out of you in an utterly brilliant way.”
The Sunday Mirror (UK)

“For those who admire Scandinavian suspense novels (a group of aficionados growing in leaps and bounds), here’s one well worth your consideration: Samuel Bjørk’s riveting American debut, I’m Traveling Alone. […] The book begs for a sequel.”
Bookpage (US)

“Two very appealing leading characters in the form of police officer Holger Munch […] and brilliant but disturbed profiler Mia Krüger. […] A compelling novel, with plenty of intrigue and some splendid action sequences.”
The Guardian (UK)

“This high-octane, super-tense account of a race against time to nail a psychotic serial killer was written in Norwegian and something of the cool Nordic atmosphere rises off the pages like a frozen mist. […] [Samuel Bjørk] writes with a crisp, swinging rhythm that not only translates well but has its own distinctive tone, especially in the dialogue between characters – short, snappy sentences; pithy exchanges. Delightfully easy yet stimulating to read. I loved it.”
Richard Madeley, The Richard & Judy Book Club (UK)

“I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this cold gallop of a story and I loved the working relationship between the two police protagonists. The conclusion does not disappoint and I can’t wait to read Bjork’s next novel – just as long as it’s about Mia and Holger. It’s a double act with a big future.”
Judy Finnigan, The Richard & Judy Book Club (UK)

“Suspenseful and he certainly knows how to write.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“Nail-biting suspense. […] This is both a crime novel and a thriller that begins calmly and ends with an explosive denouement.  […] A mature crime debut.”
Dast Magazine (SE)

“It is seldom that I am genuinely frightened while reading books. The first time was with (Johan) Theorin’s Night Blizzard, and the most recent was with I’m Traveling Alone. The reader is pulled into the story in a very particular way and the experience of suspense is forceful and physical. With few words, Bjørk succeeds in creating a relationship between the reader and the characters. […] Bjørk plays a high stakes game by centering a story around the murder of children. It is like balancing on a knife’s edge, but Bjørk never slips and falls.”
Moss Avis, 6 Stars (NO)

I’m Traveling Alone is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year. The characters are so real that it is almost as though they are sitting in my own living room. The plot is easy to follow and intelligently constructed. What’s more, there is something about the combination of children’s vulnerability and cold-blooded murder that makes this book impossible to put down. The story stays with you. For a long time.”
Brabok.no, 6 Stars (NO)

“A breathtaking and very compelling crime novel. We are completely engrossed from the first page and are happy to be guided through the story’s twists and turns in the company of Holger Munch’s genial investigators. I’m Traveling Alone offers several hours of first-class escapism – and we look forward to hearing more from Samuel Bjørk!”
Bokkilden.no  (NO)

“Once you’ve read the first pages of I’m Traveling Alone you know you’re holding something special in your hands. […] An admirable debut.”
Vrij Nederland’s Thriller Guide (NL)

“Very enjoyable and will keep the reader hooked to the end.”
The Irish News (UK)

“The odd pair [Mia Krüger and Holger Munch] are memorable cops sometimes reminiscent of the duo in The Bridge in their interactions and respective personalities are as gripping as the complex, splendidly engineered plot which will keep you up all night until its multiple strands are cleverly pulled together. Bleak and hypnotic, so much more than your average Scandi crime book.”
Love Reading (UK)

“This story is dispatched with real élan. […] Mia’s confrontation with both her own demons and a very human one is mesmerising fare.”
The Independent (UK)

I’m Traveling Alone is a spectacular novel, never a dull moment and impossible to put down. […] The plot is very thrilling, well-constructed and elegant. The variety of the characters and the events is perfectly built by Samuel Bjørk, who leaves nothing to chance. Not even a smudge, no imperfections: in short, an excellent novel.”
Paperblog (IT)

“This is a book for Scandinavian noir devotees, who are legion. The Nordic novels that reach me are nearly always written with skill and empathy, feature sympathetic police detectives of both sexes and describes horrific crimes with almost dispassionate exactitude. This one, the first of a planned series, is from Norwayy. […] The story is exciting, the setting cleverly evoked, the translation excellent and, despite the appalling nature of the crimes, there is very little explicit. Welcome to a new voice and variations on an old theme.”
Literary Review (UK)

“A very sophisticated and terrifying thriller, which keeps the reader guessing and gasping to the very last page. The story is powerful, the style is fluent, and the cast of characters is simply irresistible.”
Thriller Magazine (IT)

“A superb thriller. […] I thoroughly enjoyed I’m Travelling Alone. It’s definitely a well plotted book, with a fantastic array of characters.”
Bibliophile Book Club, Blog (UK)

“Bjørk can make virtually any character or scenario believable, and has an evident fascination with the psychology of humans and how they react to trauma. It will be a pleasure to see how this manifests in his future work, and meanwhile, I’m Travelling Alone constitutes not only a superb debut but one of the most diverting and satisfying crime novels of 2015.”
Coast (NZ)

“I was utterly spellbound by the quality of this Nordic narrative, which was engrossing to the point of addiction. It’s one of those books you can really lose yourself in, snatching your attention from the first chapter and refusing to loosen its grip.”
Little Bookness Lane, Blog (UK)

“Samuel Bjørk has given life to a plot that keeps the readers breathless to the very end.”
La Republica (IT)

“A scary police thriller that shocks the readers, keeping them in suspense until the very last page. The plot moves effortlessly between multiple threads, the writing flows and the characters are compelling and unforgettable.”
Hmerisia (GR)

“A breathtaking thriller from Norway.”
Eleftheros Typos (GR)

“There’s something about Scandi-crime fiction that sets it apart form the norm and the second novel in Norwegian author Samuel Bjork’s Munch and Kruger series exemplifies everything that is great about the genre. […] Told in short, compelling chapters that alternate between several perspectives, Bjork creates a unique, twisting, unsettling thriller that really epitomises the phrase ’page-turner’. And at the heart of it are two police officers whose own emotional battles are as enticing as the crime they are investigating. Read as a standalone novel or as part of the series, the book works equally well. In fact, there is very little to fault in this Nordic crime thriller par excellence.”
The Irish News (UK)

In The Owl Always Hunts at Night, Frode Sander Øien demonstrates that he has become a skillful international suspense writer. […] [He] has written a thrilling and entertaining crime novel with many rich elements. […] Even though it’s a thick book, there are many delicate details to delight in. […] The story may stay within a few miles of the Oslo area, but rises up to an international level.”
Adresseavisen (NO)

“Norway’s most famous artwork is Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Norwegian author Samuel Bjørk gives Jo Nesbø a run for his money in conveying the pain and rage beneath the country’s placid surface. This sequel to I’m Travelling Alone sees the return of the brilliant but damaged investigator Mia Krüger and her appropriately named boss, Munch. The plot is competently handled but the brilliantly drawn angsty sleuths kept me hooked.”
The Daily Express (UK)

“Samuel Bjørk proves to be an interesting suspense writer with great energy. […] Thrilling, great dialogue, and many characters that each have the potential to inspire new stories from Samuel Bjørk in the future.”
Oppland Arbeiderblad (NO)

“Thanks to the author’s ease of hand, we’re hooked. With descriptive milieus, a rich cast of characters, and effortless dialogue the book has terrific flow. […] I like both the investigators Holger Munch and Mia Krüger and I will gladly follow them further on new crime adventures.”
Trønder-Avisa (NO)

“With fluid language, clever twists and suspense, the reader is kept on their toes the entire way to the finish…”
Moss Avis (NO)

“Bjørk can still write, The Owl Always Hunts at Night is undeniably tighter than I’m Traveling Alone, and the ending is so thrilling that you want to read it in one sitting.”
De Volkskrant (NL)

“Expertly paced and thoughtfully plotted, The Owl Always Hunts at Night will leave you shaken to your core.”
Bustle (US)

“The best part of this book really is the relationship between Mia and Munch. I absolutely love the repartee these two have—I would read any book featuring them. […] It was truly fantastic to be back in Mia and Munch’s world—and this book ended on a cliffhanger that has me absolutely dying to read the next series installment.”
Crime By The Book (US)

“There are more twists and turns than a serpentine in this gripping thriller, and red herrings galore. […] The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a page-turner and will keep you guessing until the climax when the shocking truth comes out.”
The Gremlin (ZA)

“A chilling, stimulating, intensely dark tale set in Norway. […] Samuel Bjork creates a jagged zig-zagging edge of understanding, there isn’t a convenient jigsaw shaped hole waiting for your thoughts. The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a cunning, dramatically sinister tale, it looks as though this is a series with staying power.”
Love Reading (UK)

“Raw, psychological, disturbing. The Owl Always Hunts at Night, the new thriller by Samuel Bjork, is one of those reads you just can’t stop thinking about […] a great thriller, a novel that leaves you with a sense of confusion and anxiety, a discomfort because of what humanity is capable of.”
Il Gallista (IT)

“Samuel Bjørk delivers knowledge of human nature on an intense level, while at the same time a gruesome and inhuman tale unfolds. The author has incredibly good grip of both his characters and his plot, and another captivating thing about the book is how new characters are introduced time and time again. […] This book is damnably perfect, the suspense constantly increases, and the wonder of the reader follows. But it’s how the author embraces his characters, their range of feelings, the dread of the victims, and the intense and at times hopeless work of the investigation team that splendidly carries the novel, from the first to the last page. A real ace of a crime novel full of suspense, horror, loss, deprivation and eternal love. Each and every page is worth reading.”
Mitt Fyn, 5/5 (DK)

“A great combination of an interesting investigation and highly dramatic suspense at the end. […] I’m hoping for a third book in the series soon!”
Bokreisen, 5/6 (NO)

“Powerful and thought-provoking. […] this one has mesmerized me to the point that I was unable to stop reading, even when the pages were hard to swallow because of the strong content. This is the strength of Samuel Bjørk: his books do not give you a way out.”
Libretto Reviews (AUS)

The Owl Always Hunts at Night is a startlingly phenomenal read where the complexities of the mind, criminal or otherwise, threaten consume the characters in countless ways. It’s unreservedly compelling and highly recommended – I’m absolutely looking forward to the next instalment!”
Little Bookness Lane, Blog (UK)

“The plot has many intriguing twists and turns offering a puzzle that was enjoyable to try to solve. The build up of tension was skilfully managed, the final threads keeping the reader engaged through to the final page. An entertaining crime thriller even if I didn’t warm to the protagonists. The cold and darkness of the setting were well evoked and the killer, once revealed, was as chilling as they come.”
Never Imitate, Blog (UK)

“Immensely thrilling crime novel! […] If you’re looking for some suspense in the autumn darkness, this is absolutely the book for you!”
Tine Sundal, Blog (NO)

“Samuel Bjørk’s strength is that he writes with great ease and knows the craft of constructing a suspenseful thriller. Like his previous book, The Owl Always Hunts at Night is difficult to put down. You just have to keep reading.”
Artemisias Verden, Blog (NO)

“High suspense from the beginning to the end. […] Captivating from the first page with it’s gruesome story. […] It was impossible to put down.”
Born to be a Reader, Blog 5/6 (NO)

“Bjørk can write crime! What a frightening and thrilling novel this was! Just as fascinating as I’m Traveling Alone, his first crime novel. You’re hooked from the first page.”
Med Bok og Palett, Blog (NO)

“This tale is thrilling and quite unpredictable, and a great crime novel that I was very entertained by.”
Rita Leser, Blog (NO)

The Boy in the Headlights is the best book in the series so far. Here, Bjørk proves he’s in shape and that he’s being playful. The plot is thrilling and well constructed, with many surprising twists. The ending is both frightening and cold as ice. […] Bjork has an original voice. His style is at times rhythmic and musical, and sometimes he offers constructions we usually find in poetry.”
Verdens Gang (NO)

”A masterclass in crime fiction. Superb”.
The Sun (UK)

“Bjørk proves to be a storyteller that builds and constructs his tales in clever and ingenious ways […] When you think you’re close to figuring everything out, Bjørk gives the story a new turn and the tension holds to the very last page. That’s the way it should be in the great crime novels, and that’s how it is here. […] Bjork writes exceptionally well – there’s a propulsion to both his style and plot that makes it impossible to put down the book before your eyes give up.”
Nettavisen, 5/6 (NO)

“The new novel is as clever and twisty as his hugely successful debut I’m Travelling Alone.”
The Sunday Times (UK)

“Fans of Scandi-Noir will adore this ice-cool chiller featuring detectives Holger Much and the brilliant but troubled Mia Kruger. […] Brilliant suspense to the very end.”
Best Magazine (UK)

“An exuberant and dark fantasy. […] There’s an uneasy atmosphere permeating this story urging the reader from page to page in want of a solution. Bjørk’s writing is captivating, and Holger and Mia have established themselves as a couple you like and recognize.”
Trønder-Avisa 5/6 (NO)

“What distinguishes Bjørk from most of his colleages in the thriller genre is his literary talent. His imagery and metaphors are more original, and he’s better at creating associations than most. He creates subsidiary characters we care about, and let’s them sail their own sea in favor of the main plot, as we keep being curious about them. This creates a singular energi which separates Bjørk from the many thrillers that are more adapted for the market. […] Claustrophobic suspense to the very end.”
Adresseavisen (NO)

“Unbearably thrilling! […] Jesus Christ how he writes, this Samuel Bjork! Such drive! Such speed! Such suspense! Such surprising twists! Such a great group of investigators! Such completely crazy deeds! 444 pages – and not a single one is boring. Not a single detail is unimportant. And the ending! […] A display of how to write an effective, suspenseful, and entertaining thriller. A real firework display!”
Bjørnebok, Blog 6/6 (NO)

“This was one of the coolest thrillers I’ve read in a long time, and I once more sit here waiting for more to come. Come on, Samuel Bjørk, give us more suspense novels about Holger and Mia!”
Med Bog Og Palett, Blog (NO)

Books

Series

The Mia and Munch Series Learn More

Press Images

Harald Øren1 Photo by Harald Øren
Harald Øren2 Photo by Harald Øren
BB6Y6797 lav Photo by Harald Øren
BB6Y6732-2 Photo by Harald Øren
SAMUEL BJORK SPISOVATEL /Norsko/ Photo by © Mafra/Jan Kubicek
Frode Sanderfinger Øyen Photo by Marie Sjøvold

Awards

Shortlisted for the 2018 Riverton Prize for Best Norwegian Crime Novel for The Boy in the Headlights
2018 Shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award for The Boy in the Headlights
2016 Hebban Award for Best Thriller of the Year for The Owl Always Hunts at Night
2016 Le Prix des Nouvelles Voix du Polar Pocket for I’m Traveling Alone
2015 Shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award for The Owl Always Hunts at Night
2013 Shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Award for I’m Traveling Alone

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