BLACK SKIES by Arnaldur Indridason


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No good deed goes unpunished, and sometimes they entangle you in murder.

Reykjavík detective Sigurdur Óli agrees reluctantly to help Hermann, a colleague of his old friend Patrekur and a victim of blackmail. Hermann and his wife, an aspiring politician, have until recently been swingers. Lína and Ebbi, another participating couple in their group, have filmed them and now demand money. Sigurdur agrees to talk to them sternly but regrets his decision almost immediately. Having recently split from his wife, Bergthóra, he's often out of sorts and preoccupied. His boss and mentor, Erlendur (Outrage, 2012, etc.), is still away on an unspecified leave of absence, and Sigurdur finds himself tangling regularly with his abrasive colleague Finnur. Visiting the home of the blackmailers, Sigurdur interrupts a masked intruder beating Lína. He chases the man for blocks but can't catch him. Lína is taken to the hospital, where she lingers for days before passing away. With virtually no leads, Sigurdur returns to Hermann and Patrekur in a fruitless attempt to gain traction as Finnur relentlessly needles him. Also in the mix is Andrés, a disturbed young man whose past involves scarring abuse at the hands of his stepfather and whose stream-of-consciousness chapters alternate with the main narrative. Ironically, Sigurdur also finds a need to revisit his parents for answers. Dogged police work leads inevitably to a surprising ripped-from-the-headlines solution.

Series fans may miss the soulful, empathetic Erlendur, but Sigurdur, who could be a younger version of his boss, is at the center of a sophisticated and complex thriller.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-00039-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2013


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