Mandahla: Jar City Reviewed

mentions it won the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. In winning, he joins the ranks of such notable authors as Karin Fossum, Henning Mankell and Peter Hoeg. However, after reading Indriđason's book, it is obvious that it shouldn't be relegated to the small (but distinguished) category of "Nordic thriller." It's just a flat-out good read, although the Icelandic setting does add a special chill and bleakness.

"Isn't this your typical Icelandic murder?" asks a detective. "Squalid, pointless and committed without any attempt to hide it, change the clues or conceal the evidence." But when Inspector Erlendur begins investigating the death of an old man in his Reykjavík flat, complexities arise as he is forced to reopen a related but decades-old case. In so doing, he opens old wounds and uncovers long-held secrets. In addition to the investigation, Erlendur must also deal with Eva Lind, his drug-addicted daughter. The inspector is exhausted and cynical, but also thoughtful and compassionate. Supporting characters are artfully described, and the dialogue is direct and often amusing.

One of the pleasures of Indriđason's prose is his reticence with lurid details of some very nasty crimes; instead, his skill with suggestion allows readers to fill in the particulars to their comfort (or discomfort) level. The greater pleasure is in knowing that there are more Inspector Erlendur novels to be translated.--Marilyn Dahl
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