Scandinavian noir wrapped in a British coat, Fatal Crossing has all the satisfying twists and turns of a slow-burn thriller, with a smart, relatable lead in Nora Sands. It’s an exciting and well-turned-out debut by a writer who knows her craft.
As London-based foreign correspondent for Danish news weekly Gobalt, Nora Sands isn’t easily rattled. But when a chance purchase of a vintage suitcase reveals images of two missing Danish girls and a possible connection with a convicted serial killer, she finds herself on the trail of something far more sinister than she can possible guess. And it’s the kind of story that may not end well.
Bridging Denmark and London, Lone Theils has woven a believable narrative drawing in an imprisoned psychopath, hard-nosed cops, ex-foster kids with a story to tell and the grisly image of fifteen tongues preserved in vinegar. Not to mention a neat bit of will-they-won’t-they sexual tension between Nora and her high-school best friend (turned member of the Danish Violent Crime taskforce) Andreas.
After 16 years as a Danish foreign correspondent in London, Thiels has clearly drawn on her considerable experience to offer readers an insight into the exacting work of an investigative journalist. Following up leads, tracking down interview subjects, seeing what others don’t in small details. And – at times – putting yourself in the frontlines to get to the bottom of a story.
In an era of shrinking newsrooms and a second by second reactive Twitter cycle and talk of fake news, it feels enormously satisfying to follow in the (albeit fictitious) path of a journalist uncovering a story, following her instincts and uncovering a great wrong. With Fatal Crossing, Theils reminds us of the value of her former profession – while staking her place as a thriller writer to watch.
Lone Theils is a former London correspondent for national Danish papers Berlingske Tidende and Politiken. During her 16 years based in London she also worked in television and radio. Lone now lives in Denmark and is focusing on being an author full time. Fatal Crossing is her first novel.