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4.1 out of 5 stars
54
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 18 April 2017
Enjoyed this- thought it was the the best so far in the series involving Thora, the investigative lawyer. The plot is very involving, with many characters, who are carefully observed.
Thora is asked to try and reopen a case by an inmate- Josteinn- at Sogn security home for those with severe disabilities. Among the residents are two men who are not criminally liable due to their disabilities, Josteinn being one of these men. He is a disgusting paedophile with no moral compass. His disability is his mental obsession with children. Jakob has 'Down's syndrome' and is guilty of setting fire to the home, resulting in the death of 5 people. It is Jakob that Josteinn wishes to clear of this offence, with the help of Thora.
The plot has so many twists and turns and events which, on the surface, have no connection. It turns out there is a connection as Thora puts the facts together. The weak character is Mathew, Thora's partner. He comes across as an aside and adds nothing at all to the storyline. Wouldn't be surprised if he is 'ditched' in the next instalment.
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on 3 June 2016
Once again the story has different strands which are only woven together at the end of the tale. Thor's is centre stage as usual in this tale of death,disability and deceit. Another family crisis sees Thora's household expanding ever more but they take more of a back seat in this book. Matthew's Icelandic lessons have obviously gone well as he lends a hand interviewing some if the characters. The story is well woven and at times complex to follow but the plot is well imagined and well told.
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When a residential unit for disabled people is burned down, all the residents are killed bar one. Jakob has Downs Syndrome and a grievance - he never wanted to be placed in the unit and he doesn't like it there. It seems to be an open and shut case but, because of his disability, Jakob is sent to a secure psychiatric hospital rather than prison and it looks like he'll stay there for life. At least, until one of the other inmates asks lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir to try to get the case reopened...

This is a very well written entry into the field of Nordic crime - Iceland, on this occasion - and the translation by Philip Roughton is first-rate. Apparently this is the fifth in the series, but it's the first I've read. The characterisation throughout the novel is particularly strong and Thóra herself is a likeable lead, strong and capable but with a soft centre. As well as dealing with the case, she's having to juggle home life as her parents move in on a temporary basis to a house already filled with Thóra's children, grandchild and partner, Matthew.

In the course of her investigation, Thóra has to deal with people with a variety of severe disabilities. Sigurdardóttir handles this well, managing to convey the difficulties they face without becoming overly mawkish or sentimental. Thóra's dealings with the relatives of the victims show her sensitivity, particularly when dealing with Jakob's mother. And her aversion to Jósteinn, the psychopathic child abuser who has hired her, grows steadily as she wonders what his motivation is for wanting to help Jakob. A sub-plot concerning a possible haunting is cut in to short sections between chapters and Sigurdardóttir's excellent writing makes this part of the story chillingly atmospheric and decidedly creepy. There's also a real sense of place in the novel, as the culture, weather and recent economic woes of Iceland all play their part.

Overall, a very satisfying read that, together with Läckberg's The Stranger, has reawakened my enthusiasm for Nordic crime. Highly recommended, and I look forward to backtracking through the rest of the series.
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on 23 June 2017
The author seems to have moved on from Thora Gudmundsdottir, which is a shame, because I've really enjoyed all the books in the series. They've all been well-plotted and single mother Thora is an engaging character. This one doesn't disappoint, but perhaps it gets wrapped up a little too quickly at the end.
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on 26 May 2017
Excellent, unusual story, well written, and the ending can't be guessed. Some pretty dark material in it,. Recommended.
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on 12 May 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed the story ,which was handled with compassion and great feeling for such a difficult subject.
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on 31 May 2017
Intriguing plot and an inter sting read. Just had a bit of difficulty with some of the names but I did expect this too happen.
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on 28 March 2017
Excellent supplier, recommended
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on 10 March 2016
good story
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on 13 April 2015
Good, could have done with being a fair bit shorter, suspenseful in lots of places. So overall very good book
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