Arnaldur Indridason has been crime writing's best-kept secret…until now.
A man is making a crude leather mask with slits for eyes and mouth, and an iron spike fixed in the middle of the forehead. It is a 'death mask', once used by Icelandic farmers to slaughter calves. He has revenge in mind. Meanwhile, with Detective Erlendur absent, his baseball-loving colleague Sigurdur Óli is in the spotlight. A school reunion has left Sigurdur Óli dissatisfied with life in the police force. Iceland is enjoying an economic boom and young tycoons are busy partying with the international jet set. In contrast, Sigurdur Óli's relationship is on the rocks and soon even his position in the CID is compromised: when he agrees to visit a couple of blackmailers as a favour to a friend he walks in just as a woman is beaten unconscious. When she dies, Sigurdur Óli has a murder investigation on his hands. The evidence leads to debt collectors, extortionists, swinging parties. But when a chance link connects these enquiries to the activities of a group of young bankers, Sigurdur Óli finds himself investigating the very elite he had envied.
Moving from the villas of Reykjavík's banking elite to a sordid basement flat, Black Skies is a superb story of greed, pride and murder from one of Europe's most successful crime writers.
©2009 Arnaldur Indridason (P)2013 Recorded Books
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I read one of Indridason's quite a while ago and found the plot to be very farfetched. Luckily, when I selected Black Skies for download, I did not remember the previous novel. The characters in this novel are well developed and all very believeable. Having visited Iceland for an extended period, I could picture many of the places the author uses. Guidall's narration was first rate. I look forward to checking out the novels in this series.
The protagonist in this book is the kind of arrogant and oafish policeman who is a minor character or irritant in other stories. We learn how he got that way and how he matures as a person and gains some empathy. The story itself has good twists. It is also interesting to learn something about Iceland an obscure country for Americans. Its a good police procedural with cautionary lessons about greed, recklessness and the lasting effects of damage. All this without being preachy.
Wasn't sure I'd like this one as it doesn't feature Erlendur, one of my favorite literary characters, but was pleasantly surprised. Sigurdur Oli turns out to have a lot more depth than previously portrayed. I like his no-nonsense, straightforward style, with a streak of compassion where it counts. As usual, lots of interesting, sometimes desperate characters, a plot that methodically moves along, with some unexpected turns. Great narration by George Guidall.
music nut, history buff
I won't ruin the plot, but it takes a while to get going. Does a good job of uncovering creepy secrets, which is what a mystery is supposed to do.
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