Saturday, 31 December 2016

First review of 'A Place To Bury Strangers'

Having read and enjoyed Nicol's 'On a Small Island' and 'The Mistake', I was eager to read 'A Place to Bury Strangers'. The title alone was enticing but the first events - a grizzly death, our anti-hero, Detective Grímur Karlsson injured and a young girl escaping into the cold, dark night hooked me into the story. Add a Norwegian phrase at the Reykjavík crime scene - "I have found the place where you bury strangers" - and the police have their eye on a known Norwegian enforcer. Ævar, Grímur's boss (who is keen for the aging, difficult Grímur to retire) and Grímur differ on the approach to take with the Norwegian.

Pay attention to the date heading each chapter. Once I figured that out, I was able to follow the back and forth of events which slowly revealed character motivations. Ævar needed to solve the murder, Grímur was searching for a young woman, Svandís who had disappeared, Knut the Norwegian had his own agenda and all events move along in parallel until it becomes clear how they intersect.

Top marks to Nicol for the ending - it surprised me.

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