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Tove Alsterdal (1960) is one of Sweden’s most renowned suspense writers. She has written six critically acclaimed suspense novels and has won literary prizes in Sweden and France.

Tove Alsterdal made her debut in 2009 with The Forgotten Dead and has since written five critically acclaimed stand-alone novels. Alsterdal’s second novel, Buried in Silence, was on the shortlist for the Best Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2012, a prize she won in 2014 for The Disappeared. It was followed by Do Not Turn Around in 2016 and Erasure in 2019 –both have gone on to become national bestsellers.

In the fall of 2020, Alsterdal for the first time launched a classic procedural crime series featuring investigator Eira Sjödin and set in the stunning High Coast region in northeast Sweden. The first book, We Know You Remember, was published in October 2020 and in November the same year, it was named Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year. 

In August of 2021, Alsterdal won the prestigious Glass Key Award – the award for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year, for We Know You Remember.

Whatever theme Alsterdal explores, she always manages to find an unexpected angle. Be it a woman traveling home to discover her hidden roots, a couple moving to a foreign country to start anew, or a woman crossing oceans to find out what happened to her lost mother, Alsterdal uses her characters’ personal experiences to shed light on larger issues, both social and historical. To read Alsterdal’s books is to be thrilled, but also to be touched by characters reverberating with life. 

With her sharp pen and rigorous research, Alsterdal offers an alternative view on historical and contemporary issues, all while compelling the reader to turn the page. Known for her rare lyricism and nuanced character portrayals, Alsterdal stands out as a master of the genre with a prodigious conscience.

Tove Alsterdal was born in Malmö in 1960 and grew up in the north of Sweden and in Jakobsberg outside of Stockholm. During her younger years she worked as an attendant at the psychiatric hospital in Beckomberga, a place that she has portrayed in her novels. Before making a career as a suspense writer Alsterdal worked as a journalist and playwright for more than twenty years.

Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund

Reviews

“The police Eira is a great new acquaintance and Alsterdal is incredibly skilled at portraying both milieus and the human psyche. Here we’re transported to the region of Ångermanland, but also to a darkness that has long affected an entire community. A clever plot with an evocative atmosphere that doesn’t release its grip on the reader for a single moment.”
Tara (SE)

“What makes Tove Alsterdal such an excellent crime writer? It’s the fact that she writes about ordinary people with such authenticity, people who are neither purely evil nor good. The crimes are rarely meticulously premeditated, instead they are tragic events that happen out of desperation. Alsterdal’s strength is her ability to portray human relationships and draw sharp, psychological portraits.”
Vi Läser (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is one of the very best in the genre. What’s more, her multifaceted suspense novels shed light on burning topics of our times.”
Damernas Värld (SE)

“Strong local color, convincing characters, and a twisty plot make this a standout. This is Swedish noir at its murky best.”
Publishers Weekly (US)

“While still full of very grim crimes, this mystery’s setting in the countryside during the summer makes for a less bleak setting than usual for the genre. Alsterdal plots enough twists to keep the police procedural interesting and writes a great woman protagonist; fans of international mystery will be happy to discover her.”
Library Journal (US)

We Know You Remember is an incredibly good crime novel. Alsterdal doesn’t rely on action or revel in spectacular violence, but rather builds the suspense calmly and in a seemingly ordinary way. She’s a skilled storyteller who focuses on police work and relationships, while at the same time portraying the sparsely populated county of Ångermanland with nuance. The drama feels authentic, and just when you think the solution is close at hand there’s an unexpected twist. After five stand alone novels, Tove Alsterdal starts a series for the first time and the beginning is promising. I look forward to meeting Eira Sjödin and her colleagues in Kramfors again.”
Sydsvenskan (SE)

“Throughout the riveting plot, Tove Alsterdal elegantly weaves in ideas about the terms of rural life today, about the handling of minors in legal processes, about hate campaigns on social media, about the human thirst and longing for emotional connection. I want to know more about Eira Sjödin. About her loneliness, melancholy, longing, her take-no-prisoners attitude.”
Västerbottenskuriren (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal has the ability to not only create a suspenseful crime story – she also succeeds in describing an entire region in detail, where several individual people’s lives becomes threads in a tightly woven shared story. […] Alsterdal builds her tale on the everyday lives of normal people. They are all credible, they all have reasons for doing what they do. The small, simple actions that seem so natural when you do them end up resulting in scary consequences – and it is not always the murderer that is the most frightening.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“Alsterdal delicately handles the milieus of Ångermanland, both the countryside and the small towns, as well as the people there and their complex and infected relationships. Not least, it’s about rumors and gossip and how a person’s image can be cemented because of one single event. […] In addition, We Know You Remember offers an ending that’s uncommon for the genre, and I just want more of Eira and her Ångermanland – as soon as possible.”
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)

“This is a thrilling story that is unfurled with tentacles stretching back in time. The relatable language and the very real descriptions of characters and places in the region of Ådalen, where people are not simply good or evil, give the novel its distinctive edge.”
BTJ (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal delivers, both in suspense and style. Her vivid metafors give me the chills.”
Expressen Söndag (SE)

“A novel is generally excellent if you have to stop at the very first page to re-read parts of the text – simply because the style demands it. With We Know You Remember, it suffices with the first three sentences; together they make up a little short story in its own right. […] As first suspected, this proves to be a crime novel that stays first-rate throughout; that the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy has named the book Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year isn’t hard to understand. Alsterdal has a style of her own and knows how to set the tone in just a few words. […] The milieus are stunning and if you haven’t been to those parts of the country, you’ll surely feel tempted to go.”
Göteborgs-Posten (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal stands out as high quality reading. She weaves together past and present, politics with private life, creating a well-written and remarkable web of suspense.”
M Magasin (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is skilled at weaving together stories and going deep into people’s hidden nooks and crannies, and like a storm she uproots old truths and casts history in a new light. […] Tove Alsterdal has the blow life into her stories to the very last page, and to give them both credibility and a depth that feels wholly authentic.”
NSD (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is an exceptionally skilled storyteller. She stokes the suspense constantly and the novel is a true page turner – you keep wondering ‘what happens next?’ Her style is rich and vivid, broad and resilient, with humor and sensitive character portraits. Her nature scenes are fantastic and the author has a truly loving eye on the landscape… At the same time, this is a intuitive and nuanced portrayal of the often so contradictory human psyche; how we act with motives that can be difficult to understand, how we maintain dubious loyalties, irrational insecurities and fears, remarkable egoism, a surprising willingness to sacrifice, generosity and frailty in one and the same person, when we are at our best and when we are at our worst – and everything in-between.”
Tidningen Ångermanland (SE)

“Alsterdal weaves together plot, history, and geography in such a beautiful way […] Moreover, the resolution is everything but expected. But then again, Tove Alsterdal is the author, a mark of quality.”
Borås Tidning (SE)

“In literature and atmosphere [the area of Ådalen] with its vast forests, cliffs and rivers is reminiscent of a combination of Stephen King’s New England and Tennessee Williams’ deep and demonic South. It is in this combined mood that Alsterdal with great skill builds her crime narrative […] This is a collective police procedural in the best Swedish tradition […] At the same time, this is a story about people in a Swedish backwater country that at best has become a place for summer tourists, but that hides destinies that run far back to the grandeur of industrialism, through depopulation and financial decline, to today’s rebranding as a national park. […] Alsterdal offers superb mastery of surprising plot, tons of atmosphere, and clever reflection of urgent topics in society – to the very last page.”
Jyllandsposten (DK)

“If you’re an aspiring crime writer who wants to know how to start a book, you ought to read Tove Alsterdal’s new crime novel We Know You Remember, and then revisit the two first chapters. If you do so, you will see how masterfully and superbly you can introduce characters, milieus, and motifs (even the criminal ones); how an author with such effortless elegance can place crumbs along the path that readers follow – and without us ever even being aware of it. […] Alsterdal updates the collective narrative about [the area of Ådalen]. She portrays the sparsely populated yet large area with a poetic duality that clings to both plot and atmosphere. It is picturesque and hopeless at the same time. It is eerily secluded; the perfect fertile soil for loneliness to grow. But there are also fragrant buttercups and willowherbs and wild chervil growing along the side of the road, and trees as far as the eye can reach. Ådalen can also be the very epitome of freedom.”
Politiken, 5/6 Stars (DK)

Midsommar meets Mare of Easttown in this propulsive, prize-winning page-turner set in the forests of Sweden’s North Coast. […] A police procedural with panache.”
Oprah Daily (US)

“Tove Alsterdal stands out in the suspense genre with an illuminating social perspective.”
Aftonbladet (SE)

“The atmosphere is as eerie as in a horror movie: the creaking old estate without a single mirror, the overgrown garden that extends down to the river, the cellar that isn’t really consistent with the plans, an alarming sense of impending catastrophe. […] Few can write like Tove Alsterdal. She has a style of her own and a directness to her tone, and portrays people who are neither downright good nor bad. It is human and that’s what makes it so frightening: everyone can commit evil deeds, and everyone can keep fateful secrets.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“This is a thrilling page-turner. But Tove Alsterdal’s Erasure is also a subtle psychological novel about relationships, a captivating historical novel about life in a borderland, and a thought-provoking, philosophical novel. […] Breathlessly, the reader gets to experience how silenced and hidden stories from the past and people’s inner depths are brought into the light – in a way Tove Alsterdal does like no other. Cleverly, delicately, masterfully.”
Västerbottenskuriren (SE)

“[Alsterdal’s] nuanced and restrained prose not only gives authenticity to the characters and milieus, and the same fenomen heightens the suspense. […] What builds her plot isn’t the calculated or unlikely, it’s rather the structured and comprehensive. The wisdom of history, the return of injustice from the century when the idiocy of nationalism devastated the continent. History is the murderer, now and then. […] A true history lesson, a tale in the minor key.”
Norrbottenskuriren (SE)

“When Tove Alsterdal publishes a new book, critics sit prepared to give the highest marks. Erasure has now been translated into Norwegian, and yes – she meets the expectations – because her writing is superb, and her storytelling is excellent. […] Here, Alsterdal shows just how good she is: the grand, political story doesn’t just serve as a shallow backdrop for a crime mystery. On the contrary: the greater story of war, about friends who became enemies, about injustices and ownership, almost becomes more thrilling than the mystery of a dead boy found in the tunnel under the vineyard. Almost. Because it’s impossible to separate the two stories, they are intertwined into one other and create a propulsion and depth that is rarely seen in the crime genre.”
Stavanger Aftenblad, 5/6 Stars (NO)

“A thrilling history lesson. […] An incredibly exciting book that on the one hand provides insight into a part of European history that few of us knew anything about. And on the other hand it’s a moving and psychological plunge into the workings of a collapsing relationship.”
Adresseavisen, 5/6 Stars (NO)

Erasure is a novel about a time, an era, and history. But it is also both thrilling and moving, it is after all written by Tove Alsterdal, which is always a guarantee for quality. […] In Erasure she elevates her authorship further. She tells a story that may be fictive, but that nonetheless stems from many actual human fates. And she does so with precision and great empathy.”
Smålandsposten (SE)

“This beautiful novel explores a little-known period after World War II where a large German population once lived.”
Télé Loisirs (FR)

“I really enjoyed the author’s style and the prism through which she chose to tell this story. A beautiful reflection on the memory of the past! I’ve only just discovered Tove Alsterdal with her fifth novel, and I will continue to follow her.”
Livresse Du Noir, Blog (FR)

“A stunning novel full of twists and turns, that portrays both a modern couple whose relationship has run its course, and a piece of history that never ceases to echo in the present.”
En Lisant, En Écrivant, Blog (FR)

“The author suceeds to interweave historical facts, politics, the present and the past. She gives us family secrets hidden beneath a leaden cover of silence and history. I won’t forget her descriptions of the village, the countryside, the roses of the vinyard and its former glory that makes you want to visit Bohemia. I am infatuated with this mystery novel and it’s above all the historical aspect that gives it flavour. I love to discover topics I don’t know anything about. […] The threads of this grand story are tied tigether with great talent and respect. […] An excellent read!”
L’Atelier De Litote, Blog (FR)

“Dramatic, thrilling, small-scale and enormous at the same time. And the language! Alsterdal is fantastic, end of story.”
Folkbladet (SE)

“Thrilling, well-written and highly topical.”
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is among the top tier of Swedish crime writers, she’s perhaps the best one.”
Dast Magazine (SE)

“Cleverly constructed and an exceptionally credible plot.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“Alsterdal is one of those crime writers who raises the bar, she’s an honor for the whole genre.”
Berlingske (DK)

“An absolutely smashing thriller.”
Dagbladet (NO)

“The best suspense novel of the year.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“An incredibly skillfully written thriller, dark and hair-raising.”
Ingalill Mosander, Aftonbladet (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal is more than just a Queen of Crime – she is the Empress of the genre. The best book I’ve read this year!”
Dast Magazine (SE)

“The breathtaking story and the skillful character portrayals stays with you.”
Skaraborgs Allehanda (SE)

“Incredibly interesting about an unusual subject. […] Alsterdal writes incredibly well, the plot is smart and the resolution is utterly phenomenal.”
Aftonbladet (SE)

“I won’t say too much about this captivating novel, since I don’t want to ruin the suspense which is so masterfully handled by Tove Alsterdal, who exposes difficult matters like the need to silence certain facts, resistance, and the loss of innocence.”
Bruxelles Culture (FR)

“Tove Alsterdal is an imaginative author who possesses a very sharp pen, and she has written an unexpected tale where personal drama is combined with historical tragedy and impeccably high suspense. […] Tove Alsterdal bursts through the glass ceiling of the crime genre and both deviates from it and surpasses its conventions, offering her readers an unusual novel that is both complex and captivating.”
Transfuge (FR)

“Simply magnificent!”
HR1 (DE)

“A brillianty good crime novel. […] One of the best crime novels of the spring.”
Verdens Gang (NO)

“A great thriller: haunting, fascinating, alternating between past and present. […] Very captivating.”
DLM (FR)

“An excellent Swedish thriller.”
Frankfurter Stadtkurirer (DE)

“Captivating.”
Myway (DE)

“A thrilling novel.”
Bücher Magazin (DE)

“Alsterdal isn’t just a skilled writer, she’s a razor-sharp social critic and also very funny. This is one of the best crime novels of the year, I know that already, for the simple reason that it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Amelia (SE)

“An excellent novel that combines personal wounds with collective tragedy.”
Nyctalopes, Blog (FR)

The Disappeared portrays revenge, justice, and oblivion with great originality.”
Fondu Au Noir, Blog (FR)

“In her second novel Buried in Silence [Tove Alsterdal] holds her international grip firmly and confirms that she has an impressively strong voice of her own. […] Buried in Silence keeps me mesmerized from the opening scene in the decaying homestead where everything is haunting to the unexpected and bold ending.”
Göteborgs-Posten (SE)

“This is a thrilling, well-written crime novel, but at its core lies a piece of Swedish history that has been difficult to process. […] With this foundation Tove Alsterdal has written a crime novel that recounts the history of the Torne Valley, about the Soviet Union and about Russia today. Do not miss this.”
Lotta Olsson, Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“Tove Alsterdal’s new suspense novel is more than a gripping thriller – it’s a great psychological drama, a contemporary historical novel and a melancholy love song.”
Västerbottens-Kuriren (SE)

“It’s a thriller, but in my eyes this is so much more. I’ll have to use big words, in my mind she fits in side by side with authors like Dennis Lehane and Ross McDonald. […] With Buried in Silence, Tove Alsterdal confirms that she’s among the best crime writers from Sweden. […] In a skillful way the novel evolves into an accomplished family chronicle, filled with drama both in the past and present.”
Norrbottenskuriren (SE)

“The best suspense novel of 2012 may already have been published. Tove Alsterdal’s new novel has kept me spellbound from the first to the last page. […] A novel that breathes suspense, historical mystery and northern nature imagery. […] This is the best that I have read in a very, very long time.”
Dast Magazine (SE)

“A pace worthy of Dan Brown. […] this is at the high level of Henning Mankell. This year’s best crime novel.”
Expressen (SE)

“An impressive debut.”
WDR5 (DE)

“A complex topic is condensed into this book with great finesse. Nothing is missing and nothing can be added. The balance is perfect. This first novel by Tove Alsterdal is a total success and the translation of her second book is already eagerly awaited.”
Huffington Post (CA)

“Tove Alsterdal’s The Forgotten Dead is a harrowing and well-founded thriller about modern slavery. […] For a debut, The Forgotten Dead is astoundingly profound. […] She really knows how to write. And she knows her facts. The story is extremely well-researched and despite the fictitious setting it gives a  thought-provoking and important glimpse of the darkest alleys in Europe.”
Politiken (DK)

The Forgotten Dead will keep you engrossed from beginning to end. Take a step in to the darkness, will you be able to escape?”
Nudge Books (UK)

“A captivating debut!”
Der Standard (DE)

“Alsterdal is a gift to lovers of suspense novels.”
Søndag (DK)

“If you’ll only read one Swedish crime novel this summer, make it The Forgotten Dead by Tove Alsterdal.”
Berlingske (DK)

“A thrilling, insightful and incredibly well-written tale.”
Göteborgsposten (SE)

“Without a doubt, she is one of our best crime writers right now. Or rather, in short, one of the best writers right now.”
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)

Books

Series

The Borderland Suite Learn More

The High Coast Series Learn More

Press Images

Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
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Tove_Alsterdal_4
Tove Alsterdal foto av Annika Marklund Photo by Annika Marklund
Tove Alsterdal foto av Roland S Lundström Photo by Roland S Lundström
Tove Alsterdal foto av Roland S Lundström Photo by Roland S Lundström

Awards

2021 – The Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel for We Know You Remember
2021 – Prix Cognac for Best International Novel 2021 by Le Festival Polar de Cognac for Erasure
2021 – Shortlisted for the Book of the Year Award for We Know You Remember
2020 – Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year for We Know You Remember
2019 – Shortlisted for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year for Erasure
2018 – L’Ancres Noir for Best Crime Novel for Buried in Silence
2017 – Prix Balais D’or for Best Crime Novel for Buried in Silence
2014 – Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year for The Disappeared
2012 – Shortlisted for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year for Buried in Silence

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