Blue Notes (Blå toner)

Anne Cathrine Bomann

What happens when we turn the existential pain of losing a loved one into a mental decease?

A Danish medical company has developed the world’s first pill for pathological grief, and at Aarhus University a research group is finishing a study on the new medicine. But psychology professor Thorsten Gjeldsted suspects that someone has manipulated the numbers to hide a disturbing side effect.

But neither his colleagues nor the medical company will listen, and Thorsten ends up involving two of his students in his own private investigation. Anna, who has recently experienced grief up close herself, and Shadi, who prefers a quiet life in the shadows, but whose statistical skills are indispensable. Together, the three of them try to get to the bottom of what is really going on before Callocain is released to the entire Danish population.

Blue Notes is a novel about grief, love and science. Examining the question of how far we should go in a world where new diagnosis and treatment possibilities constantly present themselves. How much grief is too much? And how far should we go to avoid pain?

The novel is written by psychologist Anne Cathrine Bomann and shares important themes with her debut novel Agathe. The search for identity and a place in the world for one, but also the exploration of loneliness and the ever difficult relations between people – and of the healing power of love.

338 pages


Canada (French): Éditions La Peuplade
Czech Republic: Host
Denmark: Lindhart & Ringhof
Egypt: Sefsafa Culture & Publishing (Arabic world rights)
Estonia: Hea Lugu
France: Éditions La Peuplade
Germany: Hanserblau
Hungary: Jelenkor
The Netherlands: Signatuur
North America: Book*hug Press
Poland: Stara Szkola
Serbia: Heliks


“Anne Cathrine Bomann skillfully uses the codes of the thriller to construct a gripping story, effective and deliciously confronting. She proposes here a delicate reflection on love, the passing of time, and the limits of science. Brilliant.”
Châtelaine / Canada

“This formidable thriller is endowed with undeniably literary traits: rich characters, multiple storylines, and an unexpected twist. The struggle between the researchers, who are trying to shed light on the side effects of Callocaïne, and the chemist at Danish Pharma, desperate to get the drug approved, is very compelling. The motives which drive the three women culminate in an explosive finale.”
L’actualité / Canada

“Truly a brilliant look at how loss affects people and different ways people learn to cope and live after loss. I have to say that the twist … actually took my breath away.”
bargain.and.books / Canada

Dagbladenes Bureau / DK

“Murder or mourning, loss or nostalgia: death wears many faces under the pen of those who choose it as their muse. […] The Danish author Anne Cathrine Bomann expertly explores the big question here in Blue Notes: can one treat grief like an illness? The two psychology students who are working on this subject quickly find themselves confronted by a pharmaceutical company who sell a medication intended to reduce sadness, but who are lying about its side effects …”
Revue Le Librairies / FRA

The novel of the month
“In this surprising medical thriller, written by a Danish psychologist, the development of a new medicine that cures grief – at the cost of severe side effects – raises ethical questions.”
Julie Roy, L’Actualité / FRA

“Once you start, it’s impossible to put down. Anne Cathrine Bomann’s writing creates a bubble in which softness, anger, sadness and hope are mixed. Without forgetting a dose of suspense which could almost make us think of certain codes of the thriller. […] As chilling as it is touching. Let yourself be taken on this journey.”
L’Ombre du Vent – Librairie-Café, Niort / FRA

“This novel can be read in one go, almost like a thriller, even if we quickly understand that resilience is of far more importance in these pages than the suspense which makes us turn the pages feverishly.”
Aurélie Barlet, libraire / FRA

“Another gem by La Peuplade […] This is a meeting that you must not miss! Reading Anne Cathrine Bomann did me a world of good.  A fascinating novel which paints a great picture of such a complex subject.”
mes_mots_litteraires sur Instagram / FRA

“Blue Notes is great. It offers us a profound reflection, a number of ethical and philosophical considerations, on the relationship that we have with death, grief, and the suffering of loss, in a novel with the pace and intensity of a thriller. Captivating, a true page-turner brimming with questions, dipped in psychological ink, where each person’s quest leads them to different ends. A self-aware techno-thriller which is profoundly human and extremely skillful, this novel by Anne Cathrine Bomann can be read in one go, bright and alert, a warning against the desire to deny that which, at our core, makes us human beings: our emotions.”
Fabien Bernier – Decitre, Grenoble / FRA

“This novel, which one must understand as an discordant quartet, never sounds out of tune, because the focus is on the improvised solo, and not on the harmony. In this discordant symphony, the reader must tune their hearts and minds to try to find the balance between the traumatic challenges of a grieving mother and the hopes of a better future for two psychology students, hit hard by life. To find this harmony between the ethical challenges posed by the novel’s plot, we should, perhaps, in our turn, play outside of the box.”
Krystal – Librairie Mollat / FRA

“An absolutely exciting novel, a real page-turner. Blue Notes attacks the [order] of compulsory well-being. Huge!”
Le Tumulte, librairie à Vouvray / FRA

“A book of incredible intelligence. Anne Cathrine Bomann is a magician who pulls strings, attracting you like a spider in her web. […] An exciting book, fair, and magnificently translated. A real pleasure.”
Chronique littéraire d’Yvon Paré / CAN

“A pharmaceutical company have found a pill capable of “curing” grief… But one detail is hidden: it is possible that this molecule reduces our ability to experience (feel) empathy. Faced with characters who carry problems, rendering them profoundly human, we embarked on this very good novel.”
Librairie La Maison des Feuilles, Montréal / CAN

“This is not an emotional novel that drifts into cliché. Bomann excels at using very clear, almost detached language. She tells her story from the different perspectives of her protagonists. In the second part, the novel picks up speed: It becomes almost as suspenseful as in a thriller.”
Goslarsche Zeitung / DE

“I devoured this novel. Can we even perceive positive feelings as such when the negative ones are absent? Often I got mentally lost in the philosophical questions – so that the clever plot twist was doubly shocking.”
Emotion / DE

“With Blue Notes, Anne Cathrine Bomann has presented a very readable but socio-critical and frighteningly timely novel.”
WDR 3 Lesestoff / DE

“A clever scientific thriller! Psychologist and author Anne Cathrine Bomann has turned to an ethically challenging subject. (…) The basic question of the novel is and ultimately remains whether love is worth its pains. A beautiful book – also visually, haptically and with all its side effects.”
Wiener Zeitung / Austria

“As with her debut novel Agathe, Anne Cathrine Bomann delves into the protagonists’ inner lives sensitively and hauntingly at the same time. The result is a touching, thought-provoking and cleverly constructed book that, beyond the ethical questions, becomes very exciting toward the end.”
Heilbronner Stimme / DE

“A timely and suspenseful novel that addresses corruption and addictions and raises ethical questions around coping with grief.”

Der Evangelische Buchberater / DE

“Grief has become a disease, and it raises an incredible number of questions. Anne Cathrine Bomann, who is both an author and a psychologist, has seized the challenge and gives the whole issue an ethically based narrative in the captivating science novel Blue Notes. Blue Notes is not a crime novel, but an interpersonal and disturbingly realistic drama. The built-in suspense – abruptly completed chapters that act as cliffhangers, and cunning characters – serves primarily as the engine in a depiction of the people dealing with the pill and its far from reassuring side effects.
Alongside the main track run two vastly different love stories. They not only give the story fullness and sensuality, but at the same time ensure in a very natural and believable way that there is a depth in the understanding of the close connection between love and sorrow.
Blue Notes is well-written, well-oiled and professionally well-founded. The novel’s strength lies in the author’s ability to portray the different expressions of grief through the individual characters and their life story. Which opens up the discussion of whether grief is really a disease or “only” an inevitable reaction to a loss. That is what you can call a novel of contemporary relevance.”
JyllandsPosten / DK

“A super well-written novel that deals with current and relevant themes about grief processing, diagnoses and medication. With short chapters that alternate between the book’s main characters, the pages of the book almost turn themselves. Also suitable for reading circles. ”
Library Book Report / DK

“a captivating novel about grief, science and love. I was hooked from the start”
Anettes Litteratursalon / DK

Blue Notes is published today, and I can honestly say that my expectations were high. Anne Cathrine Bomann has written two of the books that stand out most clearly in my memory from my 4 years on bookstagram. She knows how to portray human emotions so that they crawl under the reader’s skin and takes place in the chest like a precise reflection. […] Blue Notes is recommended for anyone who, like me, loves to think about the nuances of life in everything from life to mind. Even when they seem darkest. Congratulations on the release! It more than lived up to my expectations.”
Mark med vilje / DK

“The survey intertwines the characters in the most beautiful way.”
Knirkes bøger / DK

“Before I started reading Blue Notes, my knowledge of Bomann was minimal, and I had absolutely no expectations of what experience awaited me. However, I had a hope that I would find the book interesting – and let me put it this way; I was certainly not disappointed!
Blue Notes is without a doubt a candidate to be one of the best books I have read this year!”
Bag om bøger / DK

“A book that should be made into a film. A true page turner from the first page that I flew through in no time.
Anne Cathrine Bomann has written a captivating and relevant thriller about grief, science and love, which lasts throughout. The plot is exciting and original, and the pace is constantly high. As a reader, you are kept on your toes by the many short chapters with changing narrators.”
Bog.dag.bog / DK

“It’s been a long time since I’ve rushed through a book like I did with Blue Notes. Psychiatry, grief, love and a kind of crime plot moves the book forward and immediately captured me.
Read it if you like books that almost read themselves.”
Bogsulten / DK

“The plot itself is brilliant, and the story is both exciting and moving. Bomann creates some lovable, imperfect characters and builds a universe I could stay in. The thoughtful plot is just a bonus; I would have been content to read about the everyday lives of the characters described in her safe, caring and nuanced pen.”
Bare læse / DK

“a captivating and compassionate novel about ethics, pills and humanity.”
Information / DK

Blue Notes is so much more than a suspense novel. It is a novel with nuanced and believable characters, and one senses, especially through them, that the author is a psychologist and therefore has great insight into the human psyche.”
Sidses Bogreol / DK

“The author manages in a convincing way to set up an important debate on ethics in healthcare. For though the subject may sound heavy, the fictional story never becomes so. It is both well-written and addictively difficult to put down with its nuanced characters, strong dialogues, and thrilling themes.”
Anne Nikoline / DK

Blue Notes is an excellent book. […] I highly recommend!”
Bog_finken / DK

“Anne Cathrine Bomann writes about grief in the most beautiful way, and the first chapters hit me right in the heart. The novel’s greatest force is the strong characters and the truly touching descriptions of how it feels to go through deep grief. There were passages I had to reread several times because it really moved me how beautifully the author describes the many facets of grief. It is a fascinating, well-written and thought-provoking book and I highly recommend it.”
Hverdagsbog / DK

Blue Notes is a sizzling, captivating and thought-provoking suspense novel that you can’t stop reading. Violette reads / DK

An interesting plot and realistic story, and some of the best I have read when it comes to the description of emotions for people in grief. The novel weaves science together with fictional events in an extremely gripping and believable way.
The book has several plot twists, which I certainly did not see coming in advance, just as the characters develop over the course of the story, so there is constantly a level of unpredictability.
I have had great pleasure in reading this book and can highly recommend it to you who would like an exciting and realistic novel with believable characters.”
Fantastiske familiebøger / DK

The pages flew and the book is extremely current, exciting and very well written. A novel that everyone in today’s society should read!
Lillian Leser / NO

“Well-written and highly recommended.”
Boggrippen / DK

“When an author manages to weave ethical issues into a book in a fluid, natural way, the plot rises several levels. And when the plot is already good – then it’s a pretty fantastic book. […] I was again and again amazed at how authentic the whole story felt and how likely situations and motifs are portrayed. In addition, the language was compelling and fluent and only contributed to a great reading experience. It will definitely be one of my firm recommendations when someone needs something wonderful to read.”
Ord_om / DK

“I love the characters and can see myself in several of the ones we follow. They all have sides and behavioral patterns that make them both vulnerable, empathetic and annoying. It makes them real. The interaction between the characters is really good.
The language is very sharp, and the dialogues work really well. […] But the plot – the plot is the very best. The debate it leads to, the consequences, the whole thought of grief as a diagnosis. It is so well thought out and well done! Recommended for everyone!”
Julie the Book Cat / DK

“Anne Cathrine Bomann is a master at creating characters, so I feel like they are right in front of me. […] I love the scene-divided chapters, which give the story an enormous dynamic, but which at the same time show a writer who has the surplus to tell the story with exactly the required number of scenes. I love it.”
Kultur for mig / DK

“the novel is really well written. The structure is great with short chapters and shifts in points of view, which works really well in relation to the story. I have once again been amazed at the linguistic strength that does not spend so much time framing just the right mood, the right characters or the right words. Anne Cathrine is really talented and deserves all the praise! If you do not know her yet, you can safely start with this one.”
Amalie anmelder / DK

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