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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling
An investigation is launched into the discovery of a skeleton weighed down by spying equipment in a lake that is ebbing away. Was the person a suicide case or were they a spy who was murdered?
Heading the investigation is detective Erlendur. As is usually the case these days he is a policeman with a troubled past & a dysfunctional family who have rejected him but are...
Published on 21 Sep 2010 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good solid thriller mystery - maybe start from the beginning of the series?
This is number four in a series and it can be hard to come in at this point not having read the previous ones. My biggest issue was the names; they're all too similar (like in an English novel if you called all the main female characters Jean, Jane and Joan!). As the names were also Icelandic, and therefore out of my usual frame of reference for gender, I found it hard...
Published on 29 Oct 2010 by Schneehase


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling, 21 Sep 2010
By 
Amazon Customer "Boo62" (Ilkeston Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
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An investigation is launched into the discovery of a skeleton weighed down by spying equipment in a lake that is ebbing away. Was the person a suicide case or were they a spy who was murdered?
Heading the investigation is detective Erlendur. As is usually the case these days he is a policeman with a troubled past & a dysfunctional family who have rejected him but are still around in his life. He has a complicated relationship to deal with and an ex-police woman who may know of some vital clues but is dying.
The story is set in Iceland & if, like me, you know little of the country other than fjords & volcanoes then this will be a bit of an eye opener. It is also something of a culture shock as the main characters are fairly cold and non-commital and in British terms could be seen as lacking in emotion at first. However this slowly changes perspective as the underlying feelings slowly come out as the story progresses and though unlikely to often explode into emotional outbursts they are all very human and feel deeply but show it in a very different and more measured way.
Set inside the investigation & brief moments of Erlendur's personal life are also flashbacks to an unnamed characters college days spent in Leipzig during the early days of the cold war and of course the link between the case and this become slowly clearer.
This takes a little getting into but once you get used to the style then it soon begins to grip and an enjoyable and well written plot soon flies by. The insight into a seldom seen world is enjoyable and once you get to grips with them the characters are interesting if not always likeable.
A different direction for the crime story fan who is looking for something different and a series I shall look into the back catalogue of. Well worth a read.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'unputdownable' (no, not a cliché), 16 May 2009
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C. Wildervanck (Overschild, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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I generally do not like intertwined story lines and flash-backs, and I hate the phrase 'unputdownable'.
'The Draining Lake' has two intertwined story lines and I thought it, erm, unputdownable. The atmosphere, the characters, the dialogues, the story itself... it is a long time ago that I was so fascinated by a book, and I promptly ordered all the other available books by Andridason. In the beginning, the only problem was to get used to those Icelandic names, and remember who is who. But now I won't forget them anymore!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Downbeat and atmospheric, 23 Jun 2011
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Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
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Add Iceland to the list of settings for a detective novels, as Arnaldur Indridason is translated into English. It was well worth doing too, as the result is a well told story which combines the Cold War and the present.

Although the pace which was a little slow at times, there was always the sense that you needed to read on, partly because of the original tale and partly because of the characters, who were all well drawn. The Icelandic names did take a bit of getting used to though, so that might have made the pace fell slow.

I would have given this 5 stars but for the relentlessly downbeat fell of the book, which did, at times, get a little wearisome. Having not read any of his other books, I am not sure whether that is a feature of the author's work, or indeed the Icelandic condition, but I will enjoy finding out when I next come across his books.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 21 Oct 2010
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Basement Cat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
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After reading all the Steig Larsson books, I have really enjoyed reading other books set in Norther Europe. 'The Draining Lake' is set in Iceland, about as far north as you can get. I loved this book, and really couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. It's a fantastic story, partly set in Berlin during the post war period, and partly in Iceland in the present. It is crime fiction, but the Cold War setting gives it a whole new twist, and sets it apart from the run of the mill murder story.
Detective Erlendur is a fascinating, very human character with his own problems that beset him and drag him down. He is a little like Wallender in that respect, but although his situation often seems bleak, I didn't find this book depressing. There are some very sad moments in the book, and the Icelandic landscape is used to emphasise this, but there are also touches of humour that lift the plot. I enoyed this book so much, that I have scince read 'Jar City' which was equally good, and is the first book in the series, and have ordered the next one as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good solid thriller mystery - maybe start from the beginning of the series?, 29 Oct 2010
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Schneehase (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
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This is number four in a series and it can be hard to come in at this point not having read the previous ones. My biggest issue was the names; they're all too similar (like in an English novel if you called all the main female characters Jean, Jane and Joan!). As the names were also Icelandic, and therefore out of my usual frame of reference for gender, I found it hard to work out who was male and who female and who was who in general. I had to keep referring back to the pages where they were (very casually) introduced to keep track. There are cliches, as other reviewers have mentioned; the detective is simultaneously useless with women and strangely attractive to them. Very attractive people are mysteriously single. The central story is well written, the settings are clear to visualise (although I have been to Iceland and had a bit of a head start there!), and the dialogue is believable, given that it's been translated.
A previous reviewer has summed up the plot really well, so I've lifted the next bit from his review:
"The action moves between modern Iceland and 1950s Leipzig where students from Iceland and the Eastern Bloc countries who have shown sufficient zeal for the party line (or may simply be useful to it in the future)are given sponsored university places. Once there, however, some of them realise that Eastern Germany is not the socialist paradise they've been led to believe. In the meantime, in modern day Iceland a body has been discovered in a draining lake."
I would recommend this book for fans of the series and for thriller/murder mystery fans in general, but it might be worth starting from the beginning and building up a relationship with the central characters first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and gripping, 2 Oct 2010
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
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I thought this was a very engrossing and enjoyable book. It is the first of Indridasson's I have read, and I will be looking out for others by him.

The plot is very adequately summarised in the publisher's blurb on this page and I won't give away more. Indridasson writes very well in a low-key style which I liked very much, and the characters are very well-drawn. The translation is excellent. There is no overblown prose or breathless descriptions of implausibly violent events, but the atmosphere and sense of place, both in present-day Iceland and in 1950s East Germany is exceptionally well evoked and truly engrossing - I really enjoyed getting a feel for Iceland in particular. The plot is (thank heavens) both comprehensible and believable and there is mystery and plenty of genuine tension in spite of a total (and to me welcome) absence of sex scenes, explosions and car chases.

In short, this is an intelligent, thoughtful and humane book which is also a really gripping read. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old sins, 3 Oct 2007
Another story featuring the detective who has a penchant for looking for missing people, his own brother having been lost in a snowstorm when they were children.

The themes of love and betrayal recur in the novel, not least with Erlendur's own messy personal life. To be honest I was almost put off by the blurb which mentioned espionage but I thought there was enough depth and plain human interest in the Leipzig flashbacks to sustain interest.

Without spoiling it for someone who hasn't read it, the mystery surrounding Leopold kept me guessing. The dogged investigator's efforts finally pay off. If only he could sort out his own life as efficiently.

It certainly makes a change to have a novel set mostly in Iceland; the author slyly suggests that for a foreign diplomat, to be sent to Iceland was considered a dire punishment.

Would like to add, I think the translator deserves a pat on the back for taut, descriptive prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, 11 Aug 2013
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A decent enough thriller with historical references but not as gripping as his earlier novels. Hasn't put me off him though and looking forward to working through the rest of his work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it., 8 Aug 2011
By 
Clashcity Rocker "Clashcity Rocker" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
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Picked this on a punt, never read this authors work before, but I absolutely love Iceland the country, so figured I would give this a shot, and I had trouble putting this one down. It did start a little slow, but it quickly had me gripped, cold-war espionage linked to a body in a lake in Iceland may not sound like the perfect thriller, but don't let that put you off. The translation from Icelandic is also very well done (I don't speak Icelandic, but it never felt like a clumsy translation into English).

If you are looking for something a little different, this might just be the one. I'm keen to read the other novels in the series. It's a shame I jumped in at number 4!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect as usual, 14 Mar 2011
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This review is from: The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) (Paperback)
This is my 5th book from Arnaldur, the 4th in the Erlendur series. As usual it is perfect, and I remain amazed by his skill at conveying all this atmosphere and story with such an economy of words. The plot itself, once again, is fairly basic if you boil it down to its skeleton, but this author remains exceptional in how he constructs it and how he wraps it while keeping you enthralled. It is masterful.
On the other hand, I can understand some reviewers who do not like this author or this book - if you are looking for a complex plot with a huge cast of characters and lots of action, this is not for you. Like his previous books, it is a fairly simple story told from some original angle, in the very "exotic" setting of Iceland (although this one actually largely takes place in the past East Germany).
Anyway, I love it, I am looking forward to reading the next two installments in this series, and I am a huge fan of this author.
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The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4)
The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 4) by Arnaldur Indridason (Paperback - 7 Oct 2010)
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