Swedish Suspense Alexander Söderberg was a screenwriter for Swedish television, a script editor, and a script doctor before he wrote The Andalucian Friend (Crown, March), his debut novel and the first in a crime-novel trilogy. Rights have sold in 33 countries, and the novel has been optioned for film.

Crown senior editor Zachary Wagman reports that he acquired the book based on an 80-page translated sample. “With its propulsive energy and utter fearlessness, this book felt big right from the get-go,” he says. “It has a car chase in Southern Spain, an exploding freighter off the coast of Paraguay, a terrifying hit man, a charming gangster, and a thoroughly entrancing nurse—all in just the first few chapters.” The book was represented by Leyla Belle Drake of the Salomonsson Agency.

The book may be action-packed, but Söderberg says that the key to writing for him is routine: the 42-year-old author lives in rural Southern Sweden with his wife and three daughters. At 7:45, he drives his kids to school, walks his dog, then sits down to work until 2:00 in the afternoon. “The idea for The Andalucian Friend began as a TV plot, but it became very clear to me early on that the scope of the story was better suited for a novel,” he says. It took him about two and a half years to write it. And not only is he thrilled to be in the company of fellow Swedish writers who have made so many recent contributions to the mystery category, but, he notes, “It’s a fascinating moment for crime fiction right now. Thanks to writers like Dennis Lehane and Gillian Flynn, the quality of genre fiction has been so elevated that I think we’re in a bit of a Golden Age.”