Ann Cassin

Ann Cassin

I always wanted to go to Reykjavik in a sleigh with Little Kay ever since, as a child, I read The Snow Queen. Later I read all of Tolkien, more than once, and, as an adult, I wanted to go to Middle Earth. The sleigh never worked out, but Middle Earth did, so my story begins with a wizard-like knocking on a door, following the path of an anthropology student searching for her missing father and she moves through many of the real sites where I have lived  ...See more >

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"The work is a thrill and a delight."

Kirkus Reviews


Hometown Gainesville, Florida

Favorite author Elinor Lipman, Evelyn Waugh, Doris Kearns Goodwin, H.W. Brands, P.J. Wodehouse, Paul Scott, Penelope Fitzgerald, Violet Leduc, Peter Taylor, Kingley Amis and Thomas Mallon

Favorite book Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd and Kolynsky Heights by Lionel Davidson and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lucky Jim by Kinglsey Amis, Traitor to His Class by H.W. Brands, Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor, Heartburn by Nora Ephron, The New Y

Favorite line from a book “Then Father touched his head to mine. Dear boy, he said, I will come again. That is a promise.” Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.

Favorite word Kathmandu

Unexpected skill or talent Ballooning over the desert near Palm Springs

Passion in life Discovering the subtext.


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-81-8253-545-9
Page count: 213pp

From above the Arctic Circle comes Dana Eakin, a Dan Brown–style sleuth off to solve her first mystery in this debut novel.

The author Siri Hustvedt once described Iceland as a place where “day never really became night.” Cassin’s book—a kind of archaeological thriller—takes place in that northerly nation, and it’s a wonder that so many dark secrets can hide in a country where the sun never sets part of the year. Like a number of mysteries, the tale opens with a body, this one just barely peeking out from the thick ice. But the corpse is also nearly half a millennium old, and its slow thaw lets loose a bevy of dangers both ancient and modern. The author tasks a number of compelling characters with solving the body’s mysteries, but none of these figures are as intriguing as Cassin’s protagonist. Eakin is a remarkable new heroine—a smart, young anthropologist whose scientific acumen just happens to make her an excellent detective. (Perhaps her most recent literary forebear is Sophie Neveu of The Da Vinci Code.) Cassin hints that this might be just the first of many Eakin novels, and if that’s true, she’s off to a superb start. This tale is intricate and inventive, and its source material—Icelandic culture, epidemiology, lichenology—is quite unusual. That is not to say there aren’t some first-book wrinkles to iron out. Cassin has a tendency to overwrite. Once, when Eakin opens a heavy door, it is “as though she were entering a vault.” The author continues: “That door was authentic archival vault material,” and just a few lines later mentions the same “vault-like doors.” It’s tough to hammer a metaphor home any harder. Furthermore, the chapters—especially early on—are so brief that the narrative sometimes gets disjointed. (By Page 18, Cassin is already on Chapter 10.) It’s as if the author is so excited by her project that she wants to tell readers all of it at the same time. But as the book stretches out, Cassin relaxes. Readers do, too, and the remainder of the work is a thrill and a delight. Audiences will surely hope that this won’t be Eakin’s only case.

A distinctive page-turner starring a fine new detective.