Dawn. False.

ORIGINAL TITLE: Gryning. Falsk.


AUTHOR: Lou Berg


GENRE: Crime, Current Books

Art forgery. Gambling debts. Life at stake.

Nea has surrendered her dreams of becoming an artist and now teaches at the University of Arts in Stockholm. She has two children with a man who held onto his own dreams, but whose irregular work as a musician is no guarantee of a steady income. One day, Nea is called in to help the police determine whether a painting by Russian artist Ivan Botkin is fake or not. There she encounters Roger Forsén, a detective who isn’t as certain as Nea that the painting is genuine. 

When Nea finds her husband Johan badly beaten in their apartment – a chilling message from the owner of the illegal gambling club where Johan owes a lot of money – things take a turn for the worse, and Nea stands to lose everything. Nea confides in her brilliant student Nadezhda, and it turns out that Nadezhda can offer a solution to the problem: she reveals that it was her who forged the Botkin painting – but evil forces are trying to take advantage of her.

This is Scandi Noir as you’ve never seen it before, with a thrilling intrigue that brings stories like Lupin to mind. The focus is firmly on two strong women, who gradually find their moral boundaries being stretched to the limit.


"Finally - a new page turner about art fraud! Scarcely any shady businesses are as fancy. I’m talking gentleman crime to the brim, with a long and fascinating history, nonetheless. For example, did you know that Michelangelo was a con-artist before he got famous? And that Vienna has a museum dedicated to fake paintings? I’d love to visit the museum, preferably guided by skilled pseudonym Lou Berg (Tiina Nevala and Henrik Karlsson) who mixes wallowing in art with blackmailing in the extremely thrilling DAWN. FALSE. […] it is fast-paced and gets complicated, and it is very, very compelling.”
4 out of 5, M Magasin

"At the centre, we find art professor Nea Hallgren and skillful art student Nadezhda Volkova. It's a thrilling insight to the art of forging, and interesting characters in a cunning affair. I even believed that the Russian artist was real for a while."

Uppsala Nya Tidning

"Gryning. Falsk. is a thriller with a difference and, for a fan of Swedish ‘noir’, an exciting and welcome departure from the usual crime novel format: there are almost no bodies or detectives! Instead, we enter a thrilling world where fine art and art forgery meet organised crime. Intermingled with this is a sad love story now facing new challenges.

Like all excellent thrillers, Gryning. Falsk. contains an interesting twist in the tale.
An alternative title could have been Spänning. Absolut. (Suspense. Absolutely.)"

Swedish Book Review



It really is a very well-written book. The characters all feel very real, and I don't think I've found anything at all that strikes the wrong note yet - the dialogue is great, and there's no padding. I honestly thought I was done with crime fiction, but this has reminded me how good it can be if the author(s) manage to find a fresh angle.

Neil Smith, translator

Rights sold


German rights sold to DuMont in a two-book deal