When the body of Jacob Kieler Junior is discovered in a stately old house in Reykjavik on a cold January morning in 1973, Jóhann Pálsson, an expert in the emerging field of forensics, is called to the scene. He soon discovers something even more unsettling than the killing itself: The victim’s father, Jacob Senior, was shot to death in the same living room nearly 30 years earlier. Through diaries Jacob Senior kept throughout his lifetime - detailing his travels abroad honing his engineering skills in wartime Europe and on the Chicago & North Western Railway in the US - Pálsson and his colleagues try to link Jacob Junior’s shooting and the death of Jacob Senior, an ambitious man dedicated to bringing the railroad to Iceland at any cost.
©1998 Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson; translation copyright 2012, Björg Árnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
The novel transitions back and forth between a diary written by an Icelandic man from 1910 to 1945 and the "contemporary" story, set in 1973 Iceland, following the murder investigation of an Icelandic man shot to death in the same house where his father was killed 30 years previously. At first the constant back and forth between diary entries (from 1910 to 1945) and the 1973 murder mystery was a bit jarring, but once I became acclimated, I became engrossed in the developing story and enjoyed glimpsing episodes in modern history from the prospective of an Icelandic man. Also enjoyed descriptions of the burgeoning forensic science methods in a 1970's Iceland.
Berkrot gave a well modulated performance.
I am glad I listened to this story. The backbone of the plot is an excellent mystery story which is slow paced compared to the usual speed of plot we are accustomed to. The plot includes family relations with some of the members suffering from compulsions. It goes back and forth between past and the 1970's by way of a diary left by a relative. Railroads, WWII, topography and history of Iceland. Not for the faint of heart. I am very glad I listened to this story. I suggest you read this, it will give you a great deal to think about as it did me.
This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. The first hour is somewhat interesting. The middle is boring. The end is horrible and anti-climactic.
Peter Berkrot was a decent narrator. There just wasn't much for him to work with, here. The book begins with the death of a man in a house. The man's father had been found dead in the same house many years ago on the same day of the son's death, which makes the two deaths seemingly connected. The rest of the book is spent on boring journal entry after boring journal entry and boring interview after boring interview. I kept thinking..."it will get better." It only got worse. The last hour or so is pure smut with a really boring ending.
Save your money, your time, and your credits for something with a plot.
This story is carrying the heavy cargo of historic disquisition on the railroad, or lack of one, in Iceland. The plot strains under its weight. On and on about what, in this writer's hands, is a dull theme indeed. What's left is pretty good, although those who don't like switching back and forth between past and present should probably give this a pass. Liked the narrator.
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