Following his great success penning crime novels revolving around Erlendur, the Reykjavik-based detective, Arnaldur Indridason, one of Iceland’s top crime writers, turned his attention to the World War II Era, where he set his last novel, The Shadow District.
In the sequel, set in 1941 on the streets of Reykjavik, a man is found dead in his apartment. This victim, a local salesman, has a bullet hole in his head, which the police determined was caused by a specific handgun carried by either American or British troops. Flóvent, a local detective, and Thorson, a Canadian military officer with ties to the area, are tasked with heading up the investigation.
Believing the shooting to be a classic execution-style hit, Flóvent and Thorson, who combined have no real formal experience investigating a murder case, follow their hunch that the killer was another local businessman, named Felix Lunden. Unable to locate Felix, the duo heads to his father’s house, where they speak with Dr. Rudolph Lunden who provides just enough information for Flóvent and Thorson inadvertently uncover an unthinkably evil Nazi experimentation operation where research is being done on innocent children.
As the story unfolds, Flóvent and Thorson are pulled further down the rabbit hole. Apart from Felix, they also suspect the dead salesman’s former lover, who left him for a British officer not too long ago. But the more their findings point to someone with military experience, the more turbulent their investigations become. With the eventual outcome promising to be as controversial is it is dangerous, the duo race to find the truth, which takes them into a world full of spies, traitors, prostitutes, and more than a few deranged individuals with secrets to protect. . .
At its core, Arnaldur Indridason’s latest novel is a twisting mystery that veers one way before jolting readers in the opposite direction over and over again. The main problem, though, is that it takes far too long for the story to get going, and then struggles to make up for it once the meat of the plot is finally served. The sudden turns in the story are well-written and surprising, but only for those who hang around long enough to experience them.
Author: Arnaldur Indridason
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.0/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.