Extract: Thirty Days of Darkness

Jenny Lund Madsen – Thirty Days Of Darkness (Blog Tour)

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Published by Orenda Books, hardback £16.99, also available in ebook. Thirty Days Of Darkness is translated by Megan Turney. Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. You can buy the book direct from the publisher online: orendabooks.co.uk/product/thirty-days-of-darkness

“Witty”, “original”, “delightfully dark”, “ingenious” – just some of the words others have used to describe Thirty Days Of Darkness. If I was tweeting about it, I suspect I’d probably need a whole line of conflicting emojis, because this one sounds like a really twisty, sneaky tale with a bold metafictional slant. And even from this short extract, I can see that Hannah is going to be a glorious character to spend time with…

First, the official blurb: Copenhagen author Hannah is the darling of the literary community and her novels have achieved massive critical acclaim. But nobody actually reads them, and, frustrated by writer’s block, Hannah has the feeling that she’s doing something wrong. When she expresses her contempt for genre fiction, Hanna is publicly challenged to write a crime novel in 30 days. Scared that she will lose face, she accepts, and her editor sends her to Húsafjörður – a quiet, tight-knit village in Iceland, filled with colourful local characters – for inspiration. But two days after her arrival, the body of a fisherman’s young son is pulled from the water, and what begins as a search for plot material quickly turns into a messy and dangerous investigation that threatens to uncover secrets that put everything at risk … including Hannah.


Once outside the Bella Center, Hannah stops to light a cigarette, thoroughly regretting coming. As she fills her lungs with the courage to confront the book-fair attendees, she watches the throng of people pass through the grimy glass revolving door, the rotating mechanism and hand-power funnelling grey-haired Jutlanders and children in and out of the book world. These are the people she’s going to have to talk to. Christ alive, kill me slowly.

‘Sorry, but could you possibly take that cigarette a bit further away from the entrance?’ Hannah turns and finds herself looking straight into the hair of a woman who, in another age, would have made an excellent milkmaid. But, in this life, she appears to be a teacher, with her dyed hair having clearly grown about four centimetres since she last visited her small-town salon. Hannah lowers her gaze, looks directly into the woman’s affronted eyes. The teacher sends a concerned glance back at the unruly group of children standing behind her.

‘The smoking area is over there.’ The woman points towards a smoking shelter so far away that Hannah can barely see it.

Hannah smiles demonstratively. ‘Right, I’ll go all the way to Sweden for a smoke, shall I?’

‘Think of the children. They might be encouraged to start smoking if they see others doing it. Or they might get cancer.’

‘From seeing me smoke?’

‘From breathing your smoke.’

Wearied, Hannah looks at the milkmaid teacher, then down at the children, who are all gaping up at her as if she were Darth Vader. She bends down so she’s face to face with the first in line: a snotty little boy with red cheeks. Offers him the cigarette.

‘Fancy finishing this off for me?’

The boy shakes his head, terrified.

Hannah straightens up, looks at the teacher again.

‘See – I’m not encouraging anyone to do shit.’

Hannah stubs out the cigarette, turns and enters book-fair hell, just about catching the sound of the woman yelling at her to pick up the remains of her cigarette and put it in the bin.


Jenny Lund Madsen is one of Denmark’s most acclaimed scriptwriters (including the international hits Rita and Follow the Money) and is known as an advocate for better representation for sexual and ethnic minorities in Danish TV and film. She recently made her debut as a playwright with the critically acclaimed Audition (Aarhus Teater) and her debut literary thriller, Thirty Days of Darkness, first in an addictive new series, won the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish Crime Novel of the year and was shortlisted for the coveted Glass Key Award. She lives in Denmark with her young family. You can follow herr on Twitter here: @JennyLundMadsen

Megan Turney is originally from the West Midlands, and after having spent several years working back and forth between the UK and the Hardanger region of Norway, she is now based in Edinburgh, working as a commercial and literary translator and editor. She was the recipient of the National Centre for Writing’s 2019 Emerging Translator Mentorship in Norwegian, and is a published science fiction critic. She holds an MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies and English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, as well as an MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies from the University of Manchester. Her other translation work for Orenda includes Smokescreen and Unhinged, both by Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger. You can find her on Twitter here: @meganeturney

Don’t forget to check out all the reviews on the blog tour!

One thought on “Extract: Thirty Days of Darkness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s