The week before last we had something of an Indian Summer. As the mercury hit the mid-20s for the 3rd day in a row I picked up this book: the title evoking endless nights and mankind’s darker side. Did it live up to expectations?
Read for the European Reading Challenge, 2016.
Erlendur has recently joined the police force as a young officer and immediately sinks into the darkness of Reykjavik’s underworld. Working nights, he discovers the city is full of car crashes, robberies, drinkers and fighters. And sometimes an unexplained death.
A homeless man Erlendur knows is found drowned. But few people care. Or when a young woman on her way home from a club vanishes. Both cases go cold.
Two lost people from two different worlds. Erlendur is not an investigator, but his instincts tell him their fates are worth pursuing. How could they be linked?
Put simply, this was brilliant. Indriðason’s ’60s Reykjavik felt authentic and drew me in. There was a cinematic quality to the writing – I could almost picture the myriad of places mentioned, even though I’ve only ever seen photos of them and never walked the streets themselves.
The tensions caused by the USA’s growing influence on the country’s pop culture and culinary tastes was touched on, which was interesting. As was Erlendur’s (amusing) continued mispronunciation of pizzas as “pissers”.
Erlendur is pretty much the archetypal Scandi detective: quiet, introspective, not prone to violent emotions and quietly patriotic. It was highly enjoyable to watch him work out who the murderer was by bringing the two threads of the mystery together. His colleagues are well developed and it was lovely to see the strong working partnership in action.
A wonderful book! I can’t wait to read others in the series.