Crystal Nights – the first review!

I am still scatterbrained after the successful launch yesterday so instead of trying to do anything sensible, I spend my time on Facebook, telling other writers how important your network is. And I mean every word!

Thanks to lovely friends and faithful readers, the first review of Crystal Nights appeared yesterday.

Crystal Nights, A Scandinavian Mystery by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen is an extraordinarily interesting chilling read that captivated my senses right away. The author has a unique style that I can see readers gravitating towards. An unusual way of telling a fictional story that plays true in many ways. She has an authentic voice that I found easy to absorb as I went through this story rather quickly, as if it was urgent business. With my curiosity spiked, I needed to know where this would lead.

The riveting mystery called me to attention and the smooth, clever writing style had me turning the pages with a certain enthusiasm I don’t always get from reading a book. This one took me in from the very beginning.

Crystal Nights is a gripping thriller that captured the essence of the time and the place. Emotional, it stirred feelings in me I didn’t realize were there.

And this morning, my brand-new novel was # 23 in the special, British category ‘Scandinavian crime’ – in the very best company.

Crystal Nights # 23

Happy and grateful? Yes, indeed.

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Crystal Nights – published!

Finally. Crystal Nights is out there.

CrystalNights

Below is the description, but if you are curious and want to know what Vendsyssel (my region) was like in the 1960s, you should take a look at this free picture companion.

Kristallnacht in Berlin, 1938.

A Jewish family flees from persecution, the mother desperate to assure her children freedom is within their grasp.

Thirty years later, ten-year-old Lars-Ole disappears from a sleepy village in Denmark.

After months of investigation, the police have no leads. Creeping unease thickens when another boy disappears, and Lars-Ole’s best friend is determined to act. Will Niels succeed when the police have given up? Or will he pay with his life?

CRYSTAL NIGHTS is the story of the violence and evil that rips through a cosy and peaceful Danish village in the 1960s.

The psychological mystery is Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen’s third standalone.

* * * *

The Danish edition of the book, Krystalnætter, won a national competition in 2013. Judge and editor Lene Dalmejer explains her choice:

 

”Crystal Nights” is a highly commendable historical suspense novel that captures the reader from the opening phrase. It opens in Berlin in 1938 on the Night of the Broken Glass, and a Jewish family is preparing for a perilous escape to Scandinavia. Subsequently the story moves 30 years ahead to 1967, to the small town Kalum in Northern Jutland.

… and soon tales of destiny emerge, much larger than tiny Kalum. The novel is well-turned, and the plot is spot-on. Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen writes in a fashion that almost makes you forget you are reading. This is in itself a huge achievement. The language breathes freely, and we delve into the Denmark of the 1960s without any discord whatsoever. It is, in short, a first-rate novel!

 

 

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Crystal Nights – one great step.

CrystalNights

Finally! Less than an hour ago, I finished fiddling with the manuscript of Crystal Nights and sent it off to the proof-reader.

The novel is a historical mystery, a standalone like Anna Märklin’s Family Chronicles, and if you like remote Danish villages and creeping anxiety, this one may appeal to you.

A quotation from chapter four:

Sonja kept insisting Lars-Ole was with his father, but now Mikkelsen and Lyngby felt an urgent need to get back to the station to organize a search for the boy. Mikkelsen had stopped joking about little tramps when it dawned on him that none of the parents had seen Lars-Ole for more than forty-eight hours. Mrs Nielsen downstairs believed she had heard the boy leave the flat Wednesday morning. She had not seen him, but she was sure she had heard the main door open some time in the morning.

“I didn’t hear him on the stairs, but he is a quiet little boy so most days I don’t,” she explained.

Sonja had given them the names and phone numbers of her boyfriend and Lars-Ole’s closest friends from school. Afterwards, she had gone with them outside to point out the corner of the road where Kaj Bager was supposed to have picked her son up.

“It’s right up there. See? A few hundred metres away.” She wrapped her sweater around her as if it were cold, and though she held her chin high, her voice was brittle by now.

“All he had to do was walk up there to meet his father.”

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Crystal Nights – some progress

Happy New Year to my readers.

I have enjoyed a lovely Christmas with my family, and now I am back in full swing, editing, editing and editing.

krystalnætter ebogI have finished the draft of my next stand-alone, Crystal Nights. The main part of the story takes place in Vendsyssel (the very northern part of Jutland) in the sixties, and though I have changed the name of the village and made the main character into a boy, my close relatives have seen through the disguise – this is my childhood revisited. The environment, mind you, not the violent crimes. I was very happy in ‘Kalum’, a lovely and peaceful place to grow up so it is only in my horrible mind that children keep disapearing.

Here you can see the Danish cover, created by Mallory Rock.

A teaser from one of the first chapters

“Open your books on page forty-seven.” Mr Petersen leaned back in his chair behind the heavy desk, his dry voice hypnotizing the children to the point of sleep. “Lone, what can you tell us about the Kristallnacht?”

“Well, Kristallnacht that was the night between the ninth and the tenth of October 1938. The National Socialists burnt down Jewish shops, homes, schools and synagogues all around Germany. They did it because they wanted to blame the Jews for a murder in Paris. Ehm, they called it Kristallnacht afterwards because they smashed in so many windows that there were hardly any whole panes left where the Jews lived.” The blacksmith’s daughter rattled off her homework while making fresh dog’s ears in the history book in front of her.

Mr Petersen was not as mean as Mr Sahl, the headmaster, but Lone was not exactly one of the brightest children of fourth class. Quite soon she began to stutter and repeat herself so it would not take long before Mr Peterson had had enough of her rambling.

Niels’ attention drifted away long before Mr Petersen’s. He did not mind history in general, but the weather was unusually fine today. After several rainy days, the school year had started, and of course the summer hit them at full force. It was downright unfair to coop them up in the dusty classroom, and many of the boys dreamed themselves outside, on the sports field or up in the trees, while Mr Petersen tried to make a confused Lone understand the gist of the Nuremberg laws and a few major, historical events of the 1930s. When he seemed to think she had repeated herself enough times, he let her off the hook and nodded in the direction of Anna. Could Anna tell them about the Jews in Warsaw?

“Lone forgot to mention that Kristallnacht was also called the Night of Broken Glass,” Anna began. She embarked on a smug account of ghettoes and work camps, Jews who tried to escape by emigrating to America and the humiliation of wearing the yellow star badges. Mr Petersen leant back in his chair, putting his fingertips together as if he were listening to his favourite composer. Did he actually understand it would be a waste of time to test the boys who still had the long holiday under their skin? And it was just Wednesday; three long days to go before Sunday.

Niels glanced at the empty chair next to his, wondering if the history lesson would ever end.

The novel should be ready for publication in a few months, but if any of you would like to betaread it for me, just let me know.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to friends from near and far. Yesterday we celebrated Christmas Eve with our three children – and we had a lovely family party in Vorupør where we live now.

And today we woke up to this view. Enjoy!

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The Woman Behind The Curtain – published!

I had some trouble (eh, I made a really stupid mistake) yesterday when I wanted to publish my Tora Skammelsen short story. But now it is there, and I hope it will be well received out there in the big world.

The Woman Behind The Curtain – $ 0.99 for 40 pages – that is not bad, is it?

Woman behind Curtain

Vibeke Svendsen was standing up there with her hand on the white bedroom curtain which she had just drawn back. Their eyes met across the street and Vibeke took an abrupt step backwards so you could not see her from the window.

For a second Tora was dumbfounded. Then she straightened her back and trudged past Henrik and Irene’s dark windows. She had no idea what her mother had told the neighbours, and she realized that she didn’t care. Vibeke was definitely more neurotic than Tora, and not nearly as good at hiding it. Neurotic and prissy, and almost as pedantic as her wizened lecturer husband. Their marriage must be a match made in heaven.

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North Sea Cottage – making me proud

You had probably forgotten I existed, but life and all that …

I thought I’d just pop in to share some good news with you.

1.North Sea # 17Right now “North Sea Cottage”, the first Tora Skammelsen story, is # 17 in the special British category ‘Scandinavian crime’ – in really good company.

And finally I have a new Tora story which is on the way to you. A fairly long short story of c 40 pages. I hope “The Woman Behind the Curtain” will be ready for publication in January.

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