The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)
|The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: While this cannot be recommended for the more sensitive reader, the intelligent drama copes with the absolute blackness of some situations and makes for a compelling purchase.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: May 2018|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton|
|External links: Author's website|
Last time, this series opened with a plot that derailed the careers of both its leads – Huldar the policeman, and child psychologist Freyja. Demoted and stuck with a kind of love/hate connection, they are left staring into space for want of something to happen. Huldar can even find some gruesome human remains the police have been tipped off about, but still isn't allowed to investigate them, so he settles for the drudge work involved in a threat found left in a school's time capsule. Even Freyja can be persuaded to stop twiddling her thumbs and help him out. It's the nature of these books that we know both plots will be connected somehow – but how, we will be asking, will either relate to the prologue, where a young girl was snatched ten years ago, and what is a modern family under threat to do with anything?
I've stuck to this author's stand-alone dramas before tackling this series as it gets translated to English, so I've no experience of her earlier six-book franchise. All I can say here is that, while some care has been made, I think the relationship between our two leads will be of less interest here to newcomers than it will be to the returning audience. That said, they're a fine pair – both very different to each other enough to cause endless drama, and neither the flawed genius of modern crime writing nor the out-and-out heroes of before. There's some humour when the omniscient narrator dips into their separate mindsets and we see them disagreeing in turn about what happened between them.
Once more, however, the thriller aspects and not these two characters alone are what are driving things – and as with the previous book it could be anywhere, as opposed to specifically Iceland. For this you need anywhere with bad weather, bad housing and litter – that is, of course, if you can think of anywhere to which that might apply. I think that taking the emphasis away from portraying Iceland has allowed the author to hit more universal themes than before, and there is some brilliant writing here to convey the families of both crime victims and crime perpetrators.
There is also quite brilliant thriller construction – despite the relatively small list of suspects, the cases are well worth sticking with for the duration; the procedural seldom goes too far from the forethoughts of the book; and the whole thing looks at some exceedingly adult themes with a most carefully measured manner. I did think briefly here and there that the principal characters would not have fallen for certain things, but I was guilty of falling for a lot by the end. I certainly fell, despite the very dark sections, for the great genre appeal of this book.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Reckless Obsession by Dai Henley also takes its narrative far beyond a simple cold case beginning.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator) at Amazon.com.
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