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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.

Reviews

“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)

“Many – often posh – people make a big number of never reading so called crime novels. But then let me recommend a novel that I think they will love for exactly that reason, and that is Blaze Me a Sun by Christoffer Carlsson. Carlsson is a brilliant stylist. I dare say that he is one of the most eloquent contemporary writers of the Swedish language. I have to go back to 1993 and Kerstin Ekman’s book about a crime, Blackwater, to find something as equally well-written as this one.”
Leif GW Persson (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.”
Ölandsbladet (SE)

“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)

“The story itself is suspenseful and clever, with many twists that await the reader in the buildup to the solution. And questions remain. It is especially the people, the place, and the era that Carlsson is so skilled at depicting. I had to look up the details to see if it was based on an actual case, it felt so vivid and true. Simply incredibly good!”
Norrköpings Tidningar (SE)

Blaze Me a Sun is a deep-dive into the Sweden we say arose with the murder of Olof Palme. It is categorized as a crime novel and of course there are moments of suspense, but above all it is rewarding to read this as a psychological drama: how are people affected by gradually being worn down by failure, by guilt, by shame, by fear?”
Sydsvenska Dagbladet (SE)

“It is both elegantly and skillfully told […] This is a dark tale, a linguistic pleasure, and a crime novel that dares to trust its own and the reader’s ability. We follow a long-lasting investigation, but above all it is about being human, about guilt, and about trying to do the right thing.”
Göteborgs-Posten (SE)

“This is a thrilling read, no doubt about it, but as usual Christoffer Carlsson’s strength lies within his tender character portrayals. He lets people be just people – with strengths, weaknesses, and whose actions create ripple effects. Building suspense, atmosphere and complexity in the ordinary is a difficult art form that the author masters splendidly.”
Aftonbladet Söndag (SE)

“Christoffer Carlsson’s storytelling is unhurried and exact, creating a vibrating atmosphere and seething tension. The whole area comes to life, both the inhabited and empty houses. Blaze Me a Sun is a vividly real depiction of Halland noir, a part of the forgotten Sweden.”
Borås Tidning (SE)

“This is a dark and captivating story – brilliantly told. The second part of The Halland Suite is a novel that stands on its own even if some of the policemen from Under the Storm return.”
Örnsköldsvik Allehanda (SE)

“An eloquent chronicle that delicately captures the characters and their fates. In addition, it is devilishly thrilling. You cannot ask for more.”
Barometern (SE)

“It is dark and existential, well thought out and brilliantly executed.
Stavanger Aftenblad (NO)

“Complex, the best Swedish crime novel in 20 years.”
Deutschlandfunk (DE)

“The better Wallander […] Not only of enormous finesse, but also of an emotional force that is rarely found in a crime novel.”
Der Spiegel (DE)

“A thrilling, densely narrated and masterfully composed crime novel that approaches its characters with psychological sensitivity.”
Stern (DE)

“Carlsson weaves a web that is as complex as it is transparent, made up of facts that slowly come together, and he describes the states of mind of his characters with tenderness.”
Frankfurter Rundschau Online (DE)

“Brilliantly drawn characters, a cleverly constructed arc of suspense: This is great crime literature.”
Hamburger Abendblatt (DE)

“Blaze Me a Sun is a Russian doll of a mystery, holding its truths within layers and layers of secrets and revelations. You think you know where this book is going.  You don’t. Carlsson’s American debut is a wonder.”
– Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of House on Fire and Vanished, Winner of the International Thriller Writers Award

“In this powerful, exquisitely constructed novel about a crime (but so much more), Christoffer Carlsson uses a twisty murder mystery to explore the haunting reverberations of guilt and obsession through generations of families and communities. At once thrilling and profoundly poignant, Blaze Me A Sun thrums with a relentless tension that culminates in one of the most satisfying and devastating endings I’ve read in a long time.”
– Angie Kim, bestselling author of Miracle Creek, winner of the Edgar Award and the ITW Thriller Award

“A gripping, powerful story about an obsessive quest for truth, and the devastating consequences of conscience, and how the mistakes we make and the secrets we keep can outlast our lifetimes.”
– Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author of The Expats and Two Nights in Lisbon

“A Swedish neo-noir by way of Sartre, Blaze Me a Sun is at once a crime novel and a gripping study in how we struggle to understand our own lives and the lives of others. The writing is spare and moody, elegantly unwrapping decades of guilt and damage.”
– Flynn Berry, New York Times bestselling author of Northern Spy

“Christoffer Carlsson is the finest crime writer we have in Sweden. His writing is a perfect combination of crystal clear prose and exact knowledge.”
– David Lagercrantz, bestselling author of The Millennium Serie”

“An extraordinary achievement. I can’t decide which talent I admire in Christoffer Carlsson more, his ability to construct a supremely clever, diabolical murder mystery or his powers to create rich, living-and-breathing characters with insight and sensitivity. Blaze Me a Sun is that rare crime novel that had me turning the pages in suspense, while also nearly moving me to tears. If you want a new favorite Swedish writer, read this book immediately. It renews my faith that a writer can work in the crime genre and still produce literature.”
—Christopher Bollen, bestselling author of A Beautiful Crime and The Destroyer

“Christoffer Carlsson is to the police procedural what Cormac McCarthy is to the western, and his American debut is a story of near biblical power about crime and punishment, vengeance and redemption. If you read crime fiction, you’ll find yourself gripped by the ingenious plotting and page-turning suspense. If you read literary fiction, you’ll find yourself moved by the gorgeous writing and heartbreakingly real characters. If, like me, you read both, you will find that Blaze Me a Sun is the perfect novel.”
—Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury Pictures Presents and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

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