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Jónasson weaves his suspenseful tales together with remorseless logic up to a climax more nightmarish than the buildup.

A trio of interlinked horrors unfold in the days leading up to Iceland’s celebration of Christmas 1987.

Maybe the following February is too soon for Detective Hulda Hermannsdóttir to have returned to work at Reykjavík CID. Assigned to reopen the case of Unnur, a girl from Gardabaet who vanished last autumn during the tour of Iceland she undertook on foot before enrolling in college, Hulda thinks it’s the worst possible investigation she could have been handed because she’s still reeling from the darkly hinted domestic catastrophe that began with the withdrawn behavior of Dimma, her own teenager, and alienated her from her husband, Jón, over the holidays. As Hulda, who’s not “kidding herself that there would be any happy ending,” soldiers on in search of the missing Unnur, Jónasson counterpoints her inquiries with excruciatingly paced stages of a flashback to the days before Christmas, when family farmer Einar Einarsson’s wife, Erla, opens the door of their house to Leó, a lost stranger who claims to have gotten separated from other members of his hunting party. A wintry storm prevents Leó from leaving, and with every hour that passes, Erla uncovers more discrepancies in his story. Who is he really, why has he come to their isolated home, and what unspeakable plans does he have in mind?

Jónasson weaves his suspenseful tales together with remorseless logic up to a climax more nightmarish than the buildup.

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76811-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A great premise leads through all the twists you’d expect to a thoroughly muddy final movement.

Sports agent Myron Bolitar meets the Setup Serial Killer, who’s found a highly effective way to keep anyone from connecting the dots.

There’s no arguing with DNA evidence, the ultimate forensic clincher. So when basketball player Greg Downing’s DNA is found on the scene where retired model Cecelia Callister and her son, Clay, were killed, the FBI comes calling on Myron to ask where they can find Greg. Myron’s a reasonable person to ask because Greg was his schoolmate and former client, the man who wooed and won Myron’s girlfriend away from him and made her Emily Downing. Try as he might, though, Myron can’t help much beyond repeating the obvious: Greg died three years ago, and his body was cremated. Since the Feds aren’t about to give up their search, Myron and his partner, financial advisor Win Lockwood, decide they’d better see if they can get ahead of this story by confirming or contradicting the story of Greg’s death. Meantime, a series of interleaved episodes show the killer eliminating a series of primary targets and framing secondary targets so convincingly for the murders, with special thanks to planted DNA, that it never occurs to the police to connect crimes that were so readily solved on their own. Complications arise when Myron’s thrown together with Jeremy Downing, the son he fathered in a pre-wedding tryst with Emily and then passed off as Greg’s, and when the allies of mob boss Joseph “Joey the Toe” Turant, who was locked up four years ago after his DNA-fueled conviction for the murder of Jordan Kravat, decide to lean on Myron to get him to reveal where Greg is.

A great premise leads through all the twists you’d expect to a thoroughly muddy final movement.

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9781538756317

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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“Don’t go in the water” takes on new meaning in Turton’s brainy thriller.

It’s doomsday eve on a small Greek island where the last post-apocalyptic community on earth will be destroyed unless a murdered scientist’s secret research can be uncovered.

The rest of the world ended 90 years ago, just as humankind was close to overcoming climate change. Now, a lethal black fog is approaching the island, where 122 villagers live peacefully, albeit with an unreliable female AI voice inside their heads. All but the rebellious woman Emory are content not to question geographical boundaries they are not allowed to cross or mysterious programming that can wipe their memories, make them fall asleep at 8:45 p.m. every night, and die at 60—a bum deal considering the extraordinarily long lives of the three elders, including Niema, the murder victim. A brilliant scientist who in another lifetime was awarded two Nobel Prizes and later devised the barrier blocking the fog, she was 173. Hours after announcing she would reveal hidden truths about the island and the extreme experiments she was conducting to safeguard its future, she was stabbed to death. Solving her murder is key to saving the island. Turton, who specializes in odd, raging conflicts in closed settings—a London manor in The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (2018); a cursed 17th-century ship in The Devil and the Dark Water (2020)—here takes on a bunch of big themes including the nature of existence and the value of life. H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, without the monsters, comes to mind. Long and talky and light on characterizations, Turton’s latest is a bit mechanical in the telling, perhaps owing to the AI’s role as narrator. But it’s a fresh twist on dystopian fiction with its share of surprises.

“Don’t go in the water” takes on new meaning in Turton’s brainy thriller.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781728254654

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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