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113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate Nordic crime fiction
If you're familiar with Arnaldur Indridason's 'Reykjavik murders' series, then you'll already know what a fine writer he is. If you haven't come across these novels before, they will appeal to anyone who enjoys Ian Rankin or Henning Mankell. Indeed the main character, Inspector Erlendur, does bear an uncanny similarity to Rebus and Wallander. Like them, he is a...
Published on 30 May 2006 by Captain Pike

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another cold Icelandic thriller
I have enjoyed all of Arnaldur Indridason's books so far, but this is a bit of an exception. They all paint a pretty chilling and depressing picture of Iceland and Icelandics in general. I suppose this has a lot to do with the fact that they have so very little daylight and such little sunshine. This suits Detective Erlandur fine - he is happiest with the dark and...
Published on 26 May 2010 by Recitatio


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113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate Nordic crime fiction, 30 May 2006
By 
Captain Pike (Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
If you're familiar with Arnaldur Indridason's 'Reykjavik murders' series, then you'll already know what a fine writer he is. If you haven't come across these novels before, they will appeal to anyone who enjoys Ian Rankin or Henning Mankell. Indeed the main character, Inspector Erlendur, does bear an uncanny similarity to Rebus and Wallander. Like them, he is a melancholic, middle-aged man who has been through an acrimonius divorce, has a difficult relationship with his daughter and spends many an evening alone in his flat eating warm-up meals. However, Erlendur is no pale imitation of other detectives and Indridason has successfully created a character who is intriguing and likeable in his own right. And after all, who wants a happy detective?

'Voices' in the third novel in this series and in my opinion, it's Indridason's best yet. Not only is the plot highly original, but I really felt that Indridason has found his voice as a writer, establishing a style that is very much his own. The judicious use of flashbacks manages to provide an extra dimension to the investigation and in this novel we also gain more of an insight into Erlendur's personal history.

Iceland may not seem the most fertile ground for a series of crime novels given it's reputation as one of the safest places in the world, but it is precisely this civilised backdrop that makes a murder twice as shocking. And if you thought that Iceland was all about geysers rather than geezers, prepare to be surprised!

With one novel a year, there is no danger of the 'Bergerac effect' where a seemingly safe place suddenly becomes more dangerous than the Bronx and Indridason's plots are plausible and compelling. If you like thoughtful, well-written crime fiction, then try this writer.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally human crime story, 26 Sep 2007
By 
I. Viehoff "iviehoff" (Chalfont St Giles, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Voices (Mass Market Paperback)
At one of Reykjavík's largest hotels, the doorman/caretaker is found dead with multiple stab wounds, just before he was due to play Santa Claus at a children's party. He is unclothed and wearing a used condom. Although he has been there for 20 years, no one in the hotel seems to know anything about him or wants to talk about it. They just prevaricate.

The police have difficulty tracking down anyone who knows him. But eventually they find a hotel guest who has come to Iceland specifically to buy rare LP records from him, and his family who disowned him, and they are both telling lies. With senior hotel staff also engaged in lies and cover-ups, the blank canvas becomes painted with no shortage of suspects.

I'm not a crime fiction fan, but I don't mind the occasional entertainment by a top quality author. It is mainly my interest in Iceland that drew me to Arnaldur's books. And I've ended up buying several. I like them, because they reek of the Icelandic character and the nature of Reykjavík. It is an intensely compelling and human story. The hotel doesn't want a fuss at one of the busiest times of year, and no one wants it to drag on into Christmas itself. Erlendur's family issues as ever threaten to become involved. His investigation is sometimes exposed as less careful than it ought to be, meaning that important evidence might have been lost. The truth, when it finally emerges, is genuinely plausible, rather than some clever and complex plot. To that extent, I would say it is a much better book than Tainted Blood/Jar City (alternate names for the same book), which relied on a complex plot device, albeit one which is highly specific to the special conditions of life Iceland.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 27 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Voices (Mass Market Paperback)
All too often I have just picked up a crime fiction book, read it, enjoyed it, but found myself asking too many questions about characters, relationships and the like. I therefore decided to start the first book in the `series', if you want to call it that. I am glad I did.

The book is a good read with a real sense of atmosphere. The author is able to paint an image of the hotel where the majority of the novel is set and as you read through the novel you feel as if you are sitting in the lobby watching the events unwind. Considering that this is a translation of the authors work it makes the strength of his writing all the more impressive.

The story itself is simple and, in my opinion, believable which is a rare occurrence with so many pieces of crime fiction. The fact that the story is plausible lends to the attraction of the mundane nature of the investigation and the search for the killer.

A very enjoyable read and I will now without a doubt read more of the authors work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone's dreaming of a Noir Christmas, 25 Dec 2013
By 
Steve Benner "Stonegnome" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
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"Voices" is the third of Arnaldur Indrišason's series of 'Reykjavik Murder Mysteries' to be translated into English. The original Icelandic novel, "Röddin", was published in 2003 as the fifth story in the series -- for some reason the first two volumes have never made it into English translation. This 2006 rendering is by Bernard Scudder and uses excellent idiomatic (British) English, making it a real treat to read. (My Kindle edition shows not sign of the various problems reported by other reviewers, although it would have been nice to have the chapter divisions visible in the progression bar.) The Swedish edition of this novel was awarded the prestigious Martin Beck Award by the Swedish Crime Writers' Academy (Svenska Deckarakademin) for best crime novel in translation.

The book is very much a companion piece to its immediate forerunner, "Silence Of The Grave", but with the overt brutality displayed within that volume's theme of domestic violence here more subtly and intricately developed into an exposition of the various ways in which parents contrive to damage and harm their children, melded with a searching examination of the blinded and blinkered behaviours of those driven by any deep inner obsession. Whilst the preceding story is one of impending violence and calculated perpetuation of misery, this book deals with the sadnesses and misfortunes brought about more by happenstance or thoughtlessness. To some extent this story also offers a lightness to the other's darker brooding, with the author playing to a sense of the ridiculous at numerous levels, imparting a strange black humour to the proceedings. The book opens with the bizarre spectacle of the middle aged murder victim, found stabbed to death in a squalid hotel basement room wearing nothing but half a poorly fitting Santa Claus outfit and a used condom; as the story proceeds it affords the author numerous opportunities for jokey sideswipes at the Icelandic tourist industry, the ways of foreigners in general, and Icelanders' view of their place in the world. The funniest moment though is probably the interview between Inspector Erlendur and a call girl sporting her new breast implants, where it is hard to decide which is the more uncomfortable -- her from itching of the stitches following surgery, or Erlendur from the situation generally.

The book's theme also allows the author much more scope than in earlier volumes for tighter integration of Erlendur's own back story into the narrative, as well as opportunities for the development of the detective's character and his various personal relationships. This in turn provides for greater levels of introspection in much of the story telling, adding to the generally claustrophobic setting for the novel (which never moves beyond the confines of a somewhat seedy Reykjavik hotel at midwinter) and providing various levels of contrast with the more light-hearted and humorous aspects of the tale.

As a crime story, even of the 'police procedural' variety, "Voices" probably scores badly for some readers; in many senses, solving the mystery of the crime is almost secondary to the spinning of the yarn and the intermingling of its threads. For readers for whom the weave is the all important aspect of a tale, however, the book is a cracker, with much to enjoy, lots to ponder, and twists and turns aplenty. It is above all a novel in which nothing is ever the way it at first appears. The solution to the mystery, when it is finally exposed, feels rather to have been plucked from a hat, but the ending is no less enjoyable for that.

For those seeking an excellent immersive dose of Nordic melancholia, I can recommend curling up with a copy of this book. If you can arrange for it to coincide with a chill winter's night, in the company of a roaring fire, with a glass and a bottle of Brennivín to hand, so much the better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking good story, 18 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Voices (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 3) (Kindle Edition)
If you have read and liked Stig Larsons books you will like these. Being set in Iceland the plots can get a bit doom & gloom sometimes, that is the nature of Erlendur the main character. However, they never cease to be anything but interesting and good to read.
Thank you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Erlendur book, 17 Nov 2013
By 
Debra Rixon (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Voices (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 3) (Kindle Edition)
If you started with Jar City, then you are comfortable with the trio of detectives lead by the melancholy Erlendur. There's never a lot of background to either of his side-kicks, but that's ok as there is just enough to make them likeable. Erlendur's past ebbs and wanes in importance through the books, which is also fine as the thread of unresolved issues is clear but not enough to swamp the main story. Things do move on for him, albeit at a snail's pace, but the crime and the issues it raises is always at the forefront. Brilliant read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 4 Oct 2013
By 
Jan Cunnington "Janjan6" (Abbots Langley) - See all my reviews
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Good crime novel and well constructed characters. Will be reading more of Arnaldur Indridason in future. A pacy, enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 4 July 2013
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This review is from: Voices (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 3) (Kindle Edition)
I have read others in the series and will read the remainder too. You get to know the central character intimately, his associates and the environment that they inhabit. A thoroughly good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already one of the great series of Northern detective novels, 24 Mar 2013
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Voices (Mass Market Paperback)
Voices is Indridason's third Reykjavik police detective novel and was published in 2003, with this English translation by Bernard Scudder appearing three years later. The translation won the Swedish Martin Beck Award for the best translated crime fiction book.

The novel takes place almost completely in a busy hotel where Father Christmas has been found, in a compromising situation, stabbed through the heart. The hotel manager's main concern is to prevent news of the crime coming to the attention of busloads of foreign tourists who are checking in daily.

Inspector Erlandur and his colleagues, Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, soon find out that the victim, Gudlauger Egilsson, who had lived in a small room in the basement of the hotel for 20 years, was a famous Icelandic choirboy who, on the point of becoming more widely appreciated, found his voice had broken. his father, who pushed the boy unmercilessly, could not handle this and Gaudlauger left home to scrape a living as the hotel's odd job man.

Partly because he cannot face another Christmas alone in his apartment, Erlandur takes a room in the hotel and becomes acquainted with its staff and some of its visitors, most notably Wapshott, an English collector of old records of choirboys. The broken heater in Erlandur's room simply adds to his mental and personal discomfort. However, he meets Valgerdur, a biotechnician assisting the investigation, and begins to feel that he might have met someone who will be important in his life.

Erlandur's daughter, Eva Lind, also comes to the hotel looking for her father and seeking reasons why her life has been so troubled. During their discussions, which the author presents in all their pain, confusion and introspection, Erlandur begins to realise that the personal guilt that he feels from losing his younger brother in a snowstorm, but is unable to express to anyone else, was probably a major factor in his failing as a father. The very strong focus on Erlandur's personal and professional life is fully merited by the complex character that Indridason has created, but the detective is certainly not alone in having a bleak childhood.

Indridason expertly uses the flashback to expose crucial episodes in the lives of Erlandur, Gudlauger and, later, the murderer. The relationship between Erlandur and his colleagues is underscored by their concern about where he will spend Christmas whilst, to him, there is very little difference between being alone in his apartment and being alone in his hotel room.

The floors, corridors and rooms that dominate this novel makes it feel very claustrophobic, with very little action taking place. The only external scenes relate to a complicated parallel case of child abuse which Elinborg is leading. Assumptions about the perpetrator, which initially appear strong, subsequently have to be questioned.

However, because of the tense unfolding of the lives of the principle characters in this novel and the humour of the author's description of the first faltering steps in the contacts between Erlandur and Valgerdur, make this a gripping read.

I look forward to reading later books to see whether Erlandur and his daughter manage to reach less troubled stages in their lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 Mar 2013
By 
Johnny Breen (Bainbridge, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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A good book, maybe not just as exciting as most of the Scandinavian books, but probably the more believable for it. Goes into the characters well, Erlandur is a good guy with a lot of baggae, but then again he is a fictional detective, and that is compulsory for such characters.

Of course you like Erlandur, and that has got to be the case to enjoy pretty much any book, but I do feel for him. I think he would get on quite well with Wallander, if that's any guide.
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