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Nordic Noir with a twist

June 26, 2019

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik police is sixty-four years old, and dreading her impending retirement. With her husband and daughter both dead, work is her reason to get up in the morning. However, when her boss informs her that he is replacing her with a younger Detective early, and she has two weeks left all of a sudden, she decides to finish her career by re-investigating a cold case that has bothered her for months. A young Russian woman was found dead on an Icelandic shore, a year ago. The initial investigation was shoddy and it was deemed a suicide, even though the woman had head injuries.

Ragnar Jonasson

Hulda has never felt comfortable with that, and she wants to finish her career by finding justice. She soon uncovers concerning information – the Russian woman was excited because she had been accepted for asylum the day before her death. Why would she commit suicide? Unexplored leads are everywhere and soon Hulda thinks she has discovered a second murder, linked to the first. But she has made a massive mistake on another case, and instead of two weeks, she suddenly has 24-hours to wrap the case up.  Her desperation leads her to make another dangerous mistake…

I’ve never read a Nordic Noir quite like this. The mystery was certainly there, and the character development was good. It was the Runner-up – Novel of the Year Award 2015 in Iceland, selected by Icelandic booksellers. I didn’t foresee who the culprit was, and I certainly didn’t expect the ending. I’m a bit astonished that the author, Ragnar Jonasson, began the Hidden Iceland series in this manner though.  Personally, I recommend reading The Island (#2) or The Mist (#3) before this novel.




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