Gary's Reviews > Silence of the Grave

Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriðason
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's review
Aug 25, 2008

it was amazing
Read in October, 2006

Cold Case

If you're a fan of crime fiction and well-plotted mysteries, and are on the lookout for a fresh new face in a crowded genre, then you'll be doing yourself a favor by trying Arnaldur Indridason and his captivating "Silence of the Grave".

Back from last year's "Jar City" is Erlendur Sveinsson, the jaded Reykjavik police detective plodding bitterly though a life of regrets. A skeleton is found while excavating a new housing project, quickly determined to be decades old, and assumed a murder victim. With a supporting cast of eccentric archeologists and his own quirky investigative team, Erlender gets to the bottom of a gut-wrenching tale of domestic violence and child abuse.

A word of warning - this is some tough material. Any idyllic views of a society tolerant to drug use may be shocked into sensibility with the author's unapologetic portrayal of life among the needles and crack vials. And Erlender is about as bleak a character as the barren Icelander setting in which he is cast - the subject matter adding to a general air of depression and despair. But this is powerful noir fiction, only heightened by the dark setting, as Indridason's prose captures the unique Scandinavian brand of fatalism. The mystery is tightly wound and fully engaging, taking more than a few twists along the way before reaching a cleverly poignant conclusion. In the end, a haunting tale of revenge with little redemption - a novel that you'll not easily forget. Clearly one of the year's best - don't miss it.

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