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Tainted Blood [Mass Market Paperback]

Arnaldur Indridason , Bernard Scudder
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, 7 Dec 2006 --  

Book Description

7 Dec 2006
A man is found murdered in his Reykjavik flat. There are no obvious clues apart from a cryptic note left on the body and a photograph of a young girl's grave. Detective Erlendur is forced to use all the forensic resources available to find any leads at all. Delving into the dead man's life he discovers that forty years ago he was accused of an appalling crime. Did his past come back to haunt him? Finally, Erlendur's search leads him to Iceland's Genetic Research Centre in order to find the disturbing answers to the mystery. This prizewinning international bestseller is the first in a new series of crime novels set in Iceland.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (7 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099513129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099513124
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arnaldur Indridason worked for many years as a journalist and critic before he began writing novels. Outside Iceland, he is best known for his crime novels featuring Erlendur and Sigurdur Óli, which are consistent bestsellers across Europe. The series has won numerous awards, including the Nordic Glass Key and the CWA Gold Dagger.

Product Description


"A chilling read" (The Times)

"Highly recommended...thoroughly gripping...impressively moving" (Time Out)

"A chilling Icelandic saga of the DNA age. This careful, sparsely-written book operates at a deeper level than most crime fiction" (Independent)

Book Description

A fascinating window on an unfamiliar world as well as an original and puzzling mystery - Val McDermid

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just in case you didn't know... 11 Feb 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
... Tainted Blood is the SAME BOOK as Jar City.

The name of the book was changed to Jar City in conjunction with the release of the Icelandic film of the same name based on it.

No-one seems to have mentioned it on here, so I thought I should just in case you go and by them both.

The book and the film are excellent, by the way.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The death of a monster 14 Oct 2005
Inspecteur Erlendur has to solve the murder of an elderly man, Holberg, who is found with a crushed skull in his own appartment. During the investigation Erlendur finds out that Holberg was a real monster whose past has now caught up with him. Erlendur's quest in the pouring Iceland autumn rain takes him via rapes, heartless policemen, illegitimate children and murder in the past to a solution that has everything to do with modern times. And in the meantime he has to cope with pain in his breast and a daughter that is on drugs.
A book from Iceland in the best tradition of the Scandinavian thrillers: a slightly chagrined police inspector and a lot of attention for the backgrounds of the crimes and victims. A skillful mixture of thriller and literature. Wonderful to read.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story from the real world 20 Sep 2005
Tainted Blood is a wonderful introduction to Indridason's work. The novel is set in a grey, rainy Iceland, with a number of characters whose lives are damaged or flawed. Some parts are suitably depressing, and there is a streak of fatalism in the characters that is reminiscent of Henning Mankell's work.
I shall give none of the plot away, except to note that the Icelandic location proves to be important - part of the plot would be implausible anywhere else. The two leading detectives make a well-matched pair, and Erlandur's relations - or lack of them - with his ex-wife and children are a recurrent theme in the novel. A pat on the back too for the excellent translation; I speak no Icelandic, so I cannot tell whether it is accurate, but it manages to convey differences between characters' backgrounds in the dialogue and to give the strong impression that the book was written in English in the first place.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a rival to Mankell 5 Jun 2005
A first rate piece of Crime writing that avoids many of the cliches inherent in the genre and is strong enough stand outside of Crime, appealing to any fans of good fiction. Personally I think this does challenge Mankell, although other reviewers are not so sure yet. Worth investigating now as we are early in the series. One to watch with interest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gloomy and yet uplifting 11 Aug 2010
For me, another new author to enjoy, another new crime setting. It's not often Iceland features on the crime/thriller bookshelves but Indridason brings this small island into focus with an excellent read. It certainly is not fast-paced and yet the reader is not left much time to dwell on a crime and a death comitted many years ago, since the opening pages bring Detective Erlendur into play when a dead body is found in a Reykjavik flat.

As with most detective stories these days, Erlendur has a troubled family life, mainly in the form of a wayward daughter. But, as ever, these characters struggle on to bring the criminal to justice. It seems to rain a lot in Iceland, rather more so that Stuart MacBride's Aberdeen but the author creates a gritty realism as the investigation takes us all around the island.

The story moves gradually along its path drawing the reader into the mix of characters we meet during the journey. The usual incompetent senior officer is given short shrift thank goodness and Erlendur's colleagues seem set to feature in future novels from this author, all being well.

It's easy to compare this book with Mankel but only, I think, because the latter has a high-profile TV show. I'd like to think Erlendur and his team could be just at home within a TV series, given the chance. Try the book; it should not disappoint readers who like the process of investigation and discovery rather than the all-action heroes we find elsewhere.

If I have a criticism, albeit a small one, the translation for English readers does bring up a few odd descriptions but, frankly, this is small enough not to worry too much; it probably adds a flavour to the story and its characters anyway.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cold hard read 17 Jan 2010
It's a translation. Let's remember that when we go on about the cold, doomy style of writing. The same applies to most Scandacrime. There's a refreshing lack of sentimentality as a result.

I like Erlendur. He is suitably depressed and solitary as all good detectives should be. He gets our sympathy straight away. And his colleagues are interesting enough to be used again to advantage.

We could do with a bit more local colour. This story could have been set anywhere. With Mankell we get more of a Swedish atmosphere, I feel. Maybe it's wrong to compare all Scanda writers to each other though.

I'm looking forward to another Indridason and hope he continues to improve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A First Class Author 17 Aug 2007
Arnaldur Indridason is undoubtedly a first class writer. This is in fact the first book which he wrote and very enjoyable read. The other books in the same detective series are Silence of the Grave, Voices and his latest (just published) book - The Draining Lake are all equally excellent reads.

Don't be put off by the fact that the books are written by an Icelandic author. Bernard Scudder does an excellent job translating the original texts to English.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't be misled
Tainted blood AKA Jar City. Many will say it's my own fault, but if I'd known it was the same story as Jar City I wouldn't have wasted my money. What more can I add.
Published 20 months ago by Treeless wonder
4.0 out of 5 stars dont read at bed time
i really couldnt sleep after this , its not exactly a spooky read but obviously all the little details [ childs coffin , missing brain etc ] got into my head . Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2012 by cartoon
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing dip in the Slough of Despond
I feel it incumbent upon me by reason of the sheer weight of tradition to say that while the current name of this book is "Tainted Blood" (a blandly generic title), it was... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2010 by L. E. Cantrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Liking the glooms
There is a very definite geographical feel to crime writing coming out of cold Scandinavia and Polar regions. Read more
Published on 9 July 2009 by Lady Fancifull
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good PP, and not grisly, for an unusual change
This offering is welcome news indeed.

I had purchased in the UK and read Indridason's "Silence of the Grave" and "Voices", and found them to be above average (say,... Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2009 by WB, Zeno
5.0 out of 5 stars love this
I saw the film based on this (Jar City) and loved it so decided to give it a whirl. I loved it, it reads well, the central character is interesting which always helps in... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2009 by lovemurakami
2.0 out of 5 stars Tainted read
I read 'Tainted Blood' after high recommendations from someone, and was left very disappointed. I found the plot muddy, dragging and hardly interesting at all, with an author I... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2008 by Ann Fairweather
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe 3.5 stars would be right.
It's a bit of a slow-burner but still an okay read. I really enjoy a good crime novel and sadly found this to be a little tame. Read more
Published on 30 May 2008 by SJSmith
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