Author Stories Podcast Episode 1156 | Johanna Mo Interview

Today’s author interview guest is Johanna Mo, author of The Night Singer.

The scars from a family tragedy draw an estranged police detective back to her childhood home as a teenage boy’s death quickly causes the past to collide with the present.

Police detective Hannah Duncker didn’t expect to return to her native Öland. She fled after her father’s murder conviction and returns to make peace with her shame. She has a new job with the local police and a nosy new partner. A fifteen-year-old’s death catapults her into a murder investigation that resurrects ghosts from her previous life. As she hunts for the truth, she must confront the people she abandoned. Not all are pleased to see her back home, and she soon learns that digging through the past comes with consequences.

Author Johanna Mo crafts a breakneck island noir where secrets linger, guilt stains, and collective memory is long and unforgiving. Propulsive and poignant, The Night Singer explores the fallout of when good people do bad things.

Johanna Mo is an author from Kalmar, Sweden. She has written seven crime novels and two literary novels to date, and she has worked as a freelance editor, translator and literary critic for the past twenty years.

In the summer of 2020 Mo published, The Night Singer, the first book in a new series set on the island of Öland: The Island Murders. Here, readers are introduced to an irresistible new police duo: Hanna Duncker and Erik Lindgren. Rights to the series have been sold in 17 territories and The Night Singer became an instant bestseller upon publication. The second book in the series, The Shadow Lily, was published in June 2021 and a third book will follow in the summer of 2022.

Johanna Mo lives in Stockholm with her family.

“With the series about Hanna Duncker, I want to portray what it’s like to have a close relative who has committed a crime. When I was fifteen, three teenage boys were arrested for the murder of a taxi driver. Everyone in Kalmar talked about it, since the boys were from the town. They had been hired by the victim’s ex husband. But what I remember most is the silence. We couldn’t talk about it in my family. The boy who was convicted of accessory to murder, who the press had dubbed ’the brain’, was my sister’s boyfriend. We socialized with his family. One of the boys who was convicted of the murder worked at the same café as I did.

This has been a driving force in my writing from the start: What makes a person kill? How are the people around them affected? Both the people connected to the victim and those connected to the perpetrator. It’s only now that I dare to really approach that last bit, through the story of Hanna Duncker and her father.

It’s still a difficult subject for me.”

JOHANNA MO, APRIL 2020

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