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Season of the Witch [Kindle Edition]

Arni Thorarinsson , Anna Yates
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When the editors at Reykjavik-based The Afternoon News decide to expand the newspaper into northern Iceland—with their crime writer Einar as its sole reporter on location—the journalist feels as though he has stepped back in time. Compared to the hustle and bustle of the capital, where the nation’s economic and social crises rear their heads on a daily basis, the small town of Akureyri feels slow, quiet, and terribly old-fashioned.

So it’s only fitting that one of Einar’s first assignments is to cover a college theater production of Loftur the Sorcerer, an Icelandic folktale of ambition and greed. But that supposedly ancient history becomes ominously relevant when a local woman dies after falling overboard during a corporate boating retreat. All evidence indicates an accident, but when the victim’s mother cries foul play, kindhearted Einar agrees to investigate. Just days later, the lead actor in Loftur vanishes, leaving the locals reeling—and Einar unconvinced that a single village could be so accident prone. Keenly perceptive and hungry for the truth, Einar begins to chip away at the quaint small-town facade, uncovering a tangled web of power and greed that threatens to devour the historic community for good.

Product Description


"There is a lot to like in Season of the Witch . . . the mystery is solid, the Icelandic setting well-conveyed, and the characterization more rounded than a typical crime novel" -- Petrona

About the Author

Arni Thorarinsson grew up in Reykjavik, Iceland, channeling his childhood interests in film, music, and writing into a career as a journalist. He cofounded and edited Iceland’s first independent weekly, and covered stories big and small, local and international, for the nation’s largest magazine and the weekend editions of two major newspapers. In addition to print journalism, he has worked regularly in radio and television. In the mid-1990s, he stumbled upon a penchant for writing screenplays and crime novels, including Blue Moon, The Seventh Son, and Angel of the Morning. Season of the Witch was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize.

Translator Anna Yates grew up in London and Paris. After earning her history degree from Bristol University, she traveled to Iceland in search of her roots and never left. She studied Icelandic at the University of Iceland and worked for several years as a journalist and translator for the Iceland Review, the nation’s leading English-language publisher. She has translated academic writings, legal documents, museum texts and guides, arts and tourism publications, CD cover notes, advertising copy, folklore, and fiction. The author of The Viking Discovery of America, she lives and works in Reykjavik.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1569 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611091039
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish; Tra edition (28 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ZNA0EW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,362 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Icelandic Crime Novel 12 April 2013
By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Einar is a crime reporter from Reykjavik who enjoys his whisky a bit too much, so when a new news editor takes over at his paper `The Evening News' he is told to go and be part of a three person team that is going to cover the north of the island in the provincial town of Akurreyri. He basically gets the new gig but has to abstain from the old bottle. Once there he realises the sleepy back water is far from sleepy and that his nose for a good story and digging up the truth will hold him in very good stead.

He soon has a murder on his case load, a gang of dope dealing kids, a rich man's wife seemingly accidental death and a pet bird he grows strongly attached to. So with his trusty sidekick photographer, Joa, who fancies the ladies as much as he does, he chain smokes his way through the daily grind of local news reporting, whilst also tying all the loose ends together to uncover a web of lies and wrong doing.

This is from former journalist, screen writer and novelist Arni Thorarinsson and was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize and it is pretty obvious why. This is a well paced and beautifully written story about a man who takes his job seriously whilst battling the demons in life that he has picked up probably as a symptom of doing his job in the first place. The writing style is accessible and a real page turner, this is partly due to the subject matter and it is refreshing to have a crime being investigated by a non policeman for a change as all he has to go on are his hunches and wits and not all, that forensic malarkey that is so prevalent these days.

I really enjoyed this and just sped read through it. The translation is by Anna Yates who is now a resident of Reykjavik and has done her job with real care and consideration both for the author and for the reader. Some of the translation is American English but there is a reason for that and all will be revealed at the end. A stunning book which I can highly recommend.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable Icelandic mystery. 28 Aug. 2012
This book was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize (I assume in Icelandic). The translator, Anna Yates, produced a smoothly written English version. The fiction I have read that has been set in Iceland has been of two types, bleak and/or clever. Though Season of the Witch is a murder mystery, it really falls into the clever category.

Our main character, newspaper reporter Einar, has been exiled from Reykjavik to Akureyri in the northern part of Iceland. The deaths of a high school student and a woman in separate events become the focus of the storyline. Einar's efforts originally are devoted to turning those events into a series of stories that will help regional sales of the newspaper.

Of course, his involvement can't remain at that level. So (surprise, surprise) he also turns detective. From the high school to the nursing home to the candy factory; from drama productions to politics to crooks; from honor students to dropouts to cops and drug dealers we join Einar in his investigations.

The closer to the end I got, the faster I was turning the pages. It left me wanting to read more. The good ones cause that reaction. It gets five stars on my fun meter.

(I received an Advance Reader's Copy from the Amazon US Vine program.)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scandi-noir Iceland Style 23 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Not as dark and foreboding and definitely not as gory as fellow Norse writings from Sweden and Norway. Here the brooding protagonist at odds with personal relationships is a journalist rather than the surly detective much used in such books. And the brooding of Einar is quite tetchy than darkly pensive.

As the story weaves together it does feel like a long journey to get there and at times it can feel that some parts of the story have been forgotten, especially those involving the woman whose drowning, according to her elderly mother, is not as straightforward as it seems. There is a really good insight to Icelandic life and the problems faced in the communities, whether or not this is enough to keep the attention of even the most ardent of readers is unsure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loftur the Sorcerer & Season of the Witch 10 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have read several novels already set in Iceland which I have liked and this one too is very good. My cousin worked in Iceland for several years so I am interested in novels about the country.

Loftur the Sorcerer is an Icelandic folktale about a man who tries to raise the devil - in this novel, high school students are about to perform this as a play.

Season of the Witch is a song by Donovan from the 60s and is mentioned in the book.

The book, originally written in 2005, is set in Akereyri, in the north of Iceland, where crime reporter Einar has been sent to work.

The story is set around Holy Week & Easter - strangely enough this was when I read the book.

There are many different strands which all interweave, at the beginning of the book there is an account of a boating accident which has claimed the life of a local woman, days later the lead in the production of Loftur the Sorcerer is missing.

Einar is convinced that a town could not be so accident prone ...
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 23 Sept. 2012
By Johnnybluetime VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The book is narrated by Einar,a reporter for the Afternoon News,an Icelandic daily paper,who is sent north with Asbjorg, the former news editor, and Joa, a photographer, to help improve sales of the paper there by producing more local news stories.Almost immediately Einar stumbles on the murder of Skarpie,a young man, and the suspicious death of a woman on a wilderness tour and he begins to investigate.

I enjoyed this.I thought Einar was a realistic,sympathetic and engaging character and there were enough twists and turns in the mystery to keep me intrigued.The secondary characters are also well written,including Polly the parrot,as are the secondary stories,which include Asbjorg's discovery of a new person in his life and Einar's investigation of the accidental death of the owner of the local candy factory.

As if this wasn't enough the narrator casts a jaded eye over contemporary Icelandic society(allowing for the fact that the book was originally published in 2005) which with homogenisation of business and youth culture doesn't seem so very different to our own in most ways.This as much as anything else makes me want to read any further books by this author,particularly anything set post the 2008 bank collapse.

A more light-hearted and cynical read than Anuldar Indridasson's crime novels and very traditional in that sense,I thought the translation was excellent and helps the action flow so effortlessly that it is easy to forget that the book is a translation.Recommended to fans of Indridasson or Jussi Adler.
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