Translated by Victoria Cribb — Iceland is a rustic of enigmas – which could possibly be why crime novels from the nation are so common with crime fiction lovers. Icelandic authors appear to seize these enigmas, and the nuances that encompass them, with a delicate sense of humanity. Authors like Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Ragnar Jonasson and Arnaldur Indridason. The Darkness Is aware of is itself an enigma. It follows on from Arnaldur’s earlier Shadow District novels, which flit between World Warfare II and more moderen instances, with detectives in two time intervals fixing their instances. However The Darkness Is aware of additionally begins a brand new sequence centred on retired detective Konrad, who featured in these earlier novels, and it does away with the twin timelines.

Earlier than you ask, the reply is ‘sure’. Konrad is in some ways just like Erlendur, the conflicted Reykjavik detective created by Arnaldur who appeared in additional than a dozen novels and within the movie Jar Metropolis. Like Erlendur, Konrad is quiet and contemplative. His life is slowing down and previous recollections every so often tumble into his thoughts as he thinks again to a few of his darker moments. Though he has retired, in his coronary heart and in his head there are unfastened ends.

One in every of these is a case he failed to unravel 30 years in the past. A flamboyant businessman known as Sigurvin vanished. The Darkness Is aware of opens with a bunch of German vacationers exploring the Langjökull glacier, the place they arrive throughout Sigurvin’s physique – frozen and preserved. Konrad’s former colleague Marta, who remains to be a detective, offers him a name to let him know and shortly Konrad is collaborating with the police on the investigation.

Two different conditions come up that pique Konrad’s curiosity much more and draw him again to the case absolutely and fully. To begin with, the chief suspect in Sigurvin’s disappearance, a slippery character known as Hjaltalín, is at loss of life’s door. Konrad had repeatedly interrogated Hjaltalín 30 years in the past. The person was seen arguing with Sigurvin earlier than he went lacking and Hjaltalín saved altering his story when questioned. He was hiding one thing and appeared to get pleasure from tormenting the police, even mentioning the homicide of Konrad’s father throughout the interviews. Now that Hjaltalín is dying, maybe he’ll inform the reality ultimately, so Konrad goes to see him.

In true chilly case crime fiction type, The Darkness Is aware of additionally provides up new angles to analyze. The invention of Sigurvin’s physique has renewed media curiosity within the case and because of this Konrad is contacted by a girl known as Hérdis. Like Konrad, she is gripped by inside grief and wishes closure. Hérdis had a brother known as Villi who was knocked down and killed in the course of a snowstorm a number of years again. Hérdis believes firstly that it was no accident, secondly that her brother knew one thing about Sigurvin’s disappearance, and thirdly that he was killed due to it. Whereas Marta at police HQ in Reykjavik thinks that is far-fetched, Konrad believes Hérdis and begins looking for out extra about Villi and the hit and run.

Reykjavik is a small metropolis, and Iceland has a tiny inhabitants. The Darkness Is aware of will provide you with an actual sense of how completely different life is on this remoted island. Society is close-knit and everyone seems to be interconnected. Individuals know issues about each other, and by speaking to individuals who knew Villi, Sigurvin and Hjaltalín, for instance, Konrad is ready to achieve momentum with the case. Curiously, Villi lived in the identical neighbourhood that Konrad grew up in, the Shadow District, and a few of Konrad’s outdated acquaintances knew him. Additional new traces of enquiry turn out to be obvious. A giant off-roader was seen close to the final sighting of Sigurvin – one thing the unique investigation missed – and it might maintain the solutions. If solely 30 years hadn’t handed since that fateful night time.

It makes for an intricate thriller through which an online of overlapping friendships and relationships holds info that Konrad can use to finally determine the offender. The fixing of the case depends closely on Konrad – not simply his actions and insights however his material as an individual. Like Erlendur, significantly within the later novels of the sequence, Konrad is extraordinarily introspective. Recollections about his childhood and his father’s homicide within the Shadow District intersect with the invention of latest leads within the Sigurvin case. Two key causes for Konrad’s interior battle are superbly woven collectively in Arnaldur’s narrative.

Nevertheless, it received’t be for everybody. In components it appears like sluggish going and it’s important to be keen to immerse your self in Konrad’s gloom and melancholy to totally respect The Darkness Is aware of. Konrad’s remorse, guilt and turmoil are removed from resolved and there are glimpses of many issues he might decide away at in future books. There may be heaps for followers of Arnaldur Indridason to sit up for, it appears.

Read more about the Detective Erlendur series here.

Harvill Secker

CFL Ranking: 4 Stars


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