Eric_W's Reviews > Silence of the Grave

Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriðason
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Jul 24, 12

bookshelves: police-procedural
Read in July, 2012

This is the second in a series that begins with Jar City, a novel I enjoyed.

This book has one of the creepiest opening scenes. A young man picking up his brother at a friends birthday party notices the friend's little sister chewing on something. As a medical student just having been through numerous autopsies, he recognizes the "toy" as being a human rib bone. The bone was found by the birthday boy while playing in a housing development​​​​​ under construction. Archaeologists and geologists are called in by the police and it's determined that the bones had been buried for about 70 years. Then other bodies start popping up.

Erlendur, whose daughter has been a long-standing source of concern and irritation, becomes pregnant, he’s estranged from his wife and son, and he suffers from the guilt that probably every parent knows of wondering how he might have done things differently. The investigation into the identity of the skeleton continues even as the forensic anthropologists proceed with what Erlendur believes to be unconscionable deliberation.

Indridason alternates between the view of the investigation and a woman, her abusive husband, and a soldier friend from a nearby American army base from decades earlier. The reader feels the inevitable confluence of the two threads, but not exactly what happened or who the remains belong to.

My only regret is that I have no familiarity with Icelandic and thus stumbled over the Icelandic names. As with Jar City, the author creates a bleak environment. If you prefer sunny little cozies, and I do sometimes, this is not for you. Probably not on the list of items the Icelandic tourist bureau hands out to prospective visitors.
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