On an icy January day the Reykjavík police are called to a block of flats where a body has been found in the garden: a young, dark-skinned boy, frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. The discovery of a stab wound in his stomach extinguishes any hope that this was a tragic accident. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation with little to go on but the news that the boy’s Thai half-brother is missing. Is he implicated, or simply afraid for his own life? The investigation soon unearths tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society. A teacher at the boy’s school makes no secret of his anti-immigration stance; incidents are reported between Icelandic pupils and the disaffected children of incomers; and, to confuse matters further, a suspected paedophile has been spotted in the area. Meanwhile, the boy’s murder forces Erlendur to confront the tragedy in his own past. Soon, facts are emerging from the snow-filled darkness that are more chilling even than the Arctic night.
I got the book from D.’s mother as we are exchanging books quite frequently. She was totally enthusiastic about the discovery of this nordic author. She claimed that the book was so thrilling, she couldn’t stop herself from reading until she finished it… I experienced the reading process a little different.
I really liked the story as a whole, although there was not as much action in it as in other thrillers, and I felt that the story as well as the characters weren’t described in too much detail, but rather “flat”. I couldn’t properly identify with any of the characters at all. I liked the socio-critical approach on the Icelandic population when it comes to immigrants. I don’t know whether the image given in the novel is true for the Icelandic population, but it certainly is for many countries and communities all over the earth today. What I definitively hated about the book was the bad translation (I read the German version of it). It was full of grammar mistakes and weird translations, especially of idiomatic expressions. I know I might be a bit pedantic about the language, but as it is my mother tongue, it was just quite irritating and disturbing during the process of reading…
My Rating: 2 / 5 Stars
I’m not sure yet whether to read another Novel by Arnaldur Indridason, since I was never as happy of having finished a book as I was this time. Maybe I’ll read an English version of one of his books, hoping that the translation will be better, as, unfortunately, I’m not able to understand the icelandic language. 😀
What do you think of the book, if you’ve read it? Have you read others by Arnaldur Indridason? Any recommendations for my next try?