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Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc

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Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Vikki Patis
Reviewed by Vikki Patis
Summary: A fabulously dark thriller, set in the mysterious Lapland. This novel is full of beautiful descriptions of a frightening and harsh landscape, and is a wonderful story that keeps you guessing and leaves you wanting more.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: December 2014
Publisher: Trapdoor
ISBN: 978-1847445865

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After an important Sámi relic is stolen from a museum in Kautokeino, a small, isolated village in the middle of the snowy tundra, tensions begin to rise between the residents. Local detective Klemet Nango and new recruit Nina Nansen are called upon to investigate the disappearance, whereupon they discover a second crime: a local reindeer herder has been brutally murdered. Nina soon suspects that the two events are linked, and, together with Klemet, embarks upon a journey full of secrets, mystery and brutality.

There truly is something about the fascinating setting of Lapland that grips me. The descriptions of the savage conditions in which the isolated reindeer herders live are frighteningly real. The snowy, desolate setting and the incredibly short days only add to the mystery and intrigue, and the fast pace of the novel made it a quick, enjoyable read.

The exploration of Sámi culture, and the oppression they faced across the centuries, was enlightening. I adore such stories, those which delve into the history of different cultures, bringing them to life. The harsh reality of the Sámi way of life is something I am extremely interested in, and I found this novel to be both informative and thrilling.

I struggled to put this book down, and once I did, the story stuck in my mind for days afterwards. My only issue, if it could be called that, is that there were a few scenes that could have been removed, as it slowed the story down somewhat. The ending also erupted so suddenly, I was surprised to be on the last few pages. But that only left me wanting more, which is something I love in a book. Truc truly is a fantastic writer.

As someone with policing knowledge, I tend to shy away from crime thrillers, as they can follow a similar tedious storyline. But this novel was beautifully written, and, although it does contain a few stereotypes, I could forgive them. Klemet, with his secret shame and internal cultural battle, is a fascinating character, and Nina, with her own jaded history and fresh outlook, was just as intriguing. But it was Aslak, one of the local reindeer herders, who truly captured my attention. The horror that was inflicted upon his wife when she was young, and her subsequent illness, and the harsh conditions in which they lived their lives, only added to the mystery, strength, and sadness that shrouds Aslak.

The characters are incredibly well-written, full of unexplored depths and secrets. I feel as if there is definitely room for a strong sequel, and, should Truc decide to write one, I would be delighted to read it.

Further reading suggestion:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Northern Iceland, 1829.

A woman condemned to death for murdering her lover.

A family forced to take her in.

A priest tasked with absolving her.

But all is not as it seems, and time is running out: winter is coming, and with it the execution date.

Only she can know the truth. This is Agnes's story.

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Buy Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc at


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