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Who's the next Stieg Larsson?

Who's the next Stieg Larsson?

Now that Stieg Larsson's crime trilogy has ended with "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," publishers on both sides of the Atlantic are scrambling to find an heir to his spot on best seller lists. Larsson, who died in 2004, left a powerful legacy in the characters Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander. And just as Stephenie Meyer's success led to a flood of vampire novels, Larsson's popularity has led publishers to tout more Scandinavian crime novels.

The Washington Post highlighted several best-selling authors who fit the bill: Camilla Läckberg, a Swede who she makes her American debut this week; Norwegian Jo Nesbø, whose works are published in 40 languages; and Sweden's Henning Mankell, the Wallender creator (and participant in the ill-fated Palestinian aid flotilla).

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The New York Times also weighed in on the scramble. It quoted Dave Callanan, a senior editor for books at Amazon.com, on the Scandinavian noir style: "Their protagonists are aggressive, but more subdued than in American crime fiction. They've had their jobs tramped all over them. There's a slight cynicism to them." That sounds a lot like Philip Marlowe -- with more herring and more snow.

Among the books being touted in fall catalogs, the Times noted, are "Hypothermia," by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason and "Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End" by Leif G. W. Persson.

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We'll see who emerges as the Larsson heir.

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