Ketilsey Island, 1960. Near this deserted island off the western coast of Iceland, the dawning of spring brings with it new life for the local wildlife. But for the decaying body discovered by three seal hunters, winter is a matter of permanence. After it is found to be a Danish cryptographer missing for months, the ensuing investigation uncovers a mysterious link between him and a medieval manuscript known as the Book of Flatey. Before long another body is found on Flatey, another tiny island off the western coast. This time, in the ancient Viking tradition, the victim’s back has been mutilated with the so-called blood eagle. Kjartan, the district magistrate’s representative sent to investigate the crime, soon finds himself descending into the dark, dangerous world of ancient legends, symbology, and secret societies to find the killer.
Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson’s Glass Key-nominated Nordic mystery captures the era with visceral authenticity and the austere quiet of a world far off the beaten track. Full of surprising humor, complex clues, and brooding intensity, The Flatey Enigma is so captivating you won’t be able to put the book down until Kjartan has cracked the code.
©2012 Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I loved one of the author's other books, "Daybreak", which was atmospheric and highly suspenseful, so this book came as somewhat of a disappointment. While it was certainly atmospheric, I found it rather lacking in action and suspense. The characters and scenery are wonderful, including an absolutely outstanding depiction of Asperger's syndrome in one character. I loved the (for me) colorful names and the rich descriptions of surroundings and people. The characters were interesting and believable. Unfortunately, for endlessly long sections of the story, all of these wonderful characters did absolutely nothing. There is some action in the beginning, although it doesn't really draw you in because not enough is known about the murdered person. The police interminably interview people, but only find dead ends. Then at the end, the story suddenly speeds to its conclusion, leaving me overall unsatisfied. I had to force myself to keep listening in the middle and, while I thought the way the story unraveled was interesting and believable in some way, it all happened much too quickly.
The best parts for me were the interspersed sections of the Flatey Saga, which were like an Icelandic version of Game of Thrones, with lots of beheadings and betrayals. But these sections were short and disjointed, and not enough to make up for the rest of it.
If you like the "No 1 ladies detective agency" with lots of atmosphere and not much action, then this book is for you - just skip the gory Flatey saga parts. On the other hand, if you are looking for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", then go for "Daybreak" or "The boy in the suitcase".
The narrators were very good - no issues there.
I enjoy Scandinavian mystery and crime authors like Asa Larsson, Helene Tursten, Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum and Amaaldur Indridason just to name a few.
I found this to be enjoyable. I am looking forward to Mr. Ingolfsson's other books being translated into English.
I gave up because of the american narrator. I like the author a lot but a book should be read not be interpreted, I think.
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