The Swedish Crime Academy has named Thomas Engström’s West of Liberty (“Väster om friheten”) the Crime Debut of the Year with the following motivation: “A fully developed international thriller in an aptly portrayed Berlin setting.” Some of the previous winners of the debutant prize include well-known household names such as Håkan Nesser, Åsa Larsson and Johan Theorin.
West of Liberty – published by Albert Bonniers Förlag – is the first title in a trilogy about former Stasi agent Ludwig Licht. The book has received plenty of positive attention in the Swedish press with Skånska Dagbladet calling it “a spy novel to fall in love with” and Aftonbladet’s Ingalill Mosander comparing Engström to John le Carré (“but with more humour”) and branding it “a thriller of high international standard.”
While the book isn’t actually Engström’s first novel, it is however his first as a crime author and judging by the response it has been a very successful transition. Congratulations, Thomas!