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Publisher's Summary

Gold Dagger Award winner Arnaldur Indridason’s novels featuring Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson became international sensations on their way to selling millions of copies worldwide. The debut of morose detective Sveinsson finds the inspector and his team delving into the murder of a retiree with horrifying secrets.

©2000, 2004 Arnaldur Indridason (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"[A] model puzzle presented with clarity and crisp economy.” (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    33
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    18

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    104
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    14
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Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Cerebral Police Procedural

This is a very quiet novel, written mostly inside the head of the Lead Detective.

The Detective is tired yet conscientious, has some excess baggage, but is nonetheless an exemplary officer.

The beginning of the story offers an interesting lead-in to the story. It opens on a murder mystery, that has some strange clues that at first do not seem to fit the crime. The listener has immediate questions, and as the detective studies the crime scene, his discoveries provides atmosphere and some intrigue. Sadly, however, intrigue and suspense are what is lacking most in the Icelandic Mystery.

The language, even as a translation, flows nicely throughout the entire linear storyline.
But in the end, Jar City seemed to be more of a character study than a mystery, and as a result the climax was a little flat.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

A Very Good Beginning to a New Series

What did you love best about Jar City?

What a great story! It was moving and sad. I loved it. It reminded me very much of a Kurt Wallander novel by Henning Menkel. It has the same sense of isolation. It is alsom beautifully written and constructed.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jar City?

The most memorable moment in the novel came to me at the end. When the detective is listening to the confession of the killer and the moments just after.

Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

George Guidall is my favorite narrator. His performances are always first rate. He brings such depth and character to his performances.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did not have any extreme reactions. I did love every minute of the novel.

Any additional comments?

If you like Henning Menkell's novels, you will like this. It is very plot driven. The characters, while not fully fleshed yet are believable. I also like the main detective. This is sometimes difficult in modern detective novels.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • Longview, TX, United States
  • 09-02-13

Sound Mystery with good characters

I almost stopped this book at the beginning as it starts harshly. I'm glad I kept going as the issue resolved itself. The plot is interesting and sufficiently tangled to hold interest but not so tangled as to be difficult to follow. I like the personality of police detective, Erlendur Sveinsson.

There are details of Icelandic life and character that make the story come alive. I will listen to more books by this author.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey
  • Danville, AR, United States
  • 02-14-13

Great Icelandic police procedural

Very enjoyable novel set in Iceland. Detective inspector Erlendur Sveinsson investigates the murder of an older recluse. The protagonist is 50ish, divorced and alienated from his 2 adult kids (at least one of whom is a drug addict.) The plot is interesting and the mystery (although not multi-level or unforeseeable) is intriguing. The novel could have been improved with increased character development of Erieindur's fellow detectives, Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg. I would have liked to seen a bit more of the local color, to the give the Iceland setting a bit more uniqueness. Nevertheless, this was a good read, made even more enjoyable with the talented narration of George Guidall, who is one of my favorite narrators.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Very well read but the story was a little slow....

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I felt the story was a little slow and I was disappointed in the ending. I was hoping for more twists and turns through out the novel.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I found the setting of Iceland fascinating.

What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

Wonderful, could not have been better.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Another detective series worth exploring!

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I did wonder where it was going and how it was going to be tied up at the end. There were no loose ends when the book finished which is always good in a detective novel.

What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He made the Icelandic accents and place names more real without being over the top.

Any additional comments?

For anyone that watched The Killing...don't expect an ending where everything comes out rosy. Very bleak listening throughout.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Well crafted mystery

This was my first book by Arnaldur Indridason and I'll admit that at first I was drawn to it because I so love to listen to George Guidall's narration, so thought I would try it. I haven't read too many Icelandic novels, so didn't know what to expect. Happily--the result was unexpectedly good.

It begins with the uncomplicated-appearing murder of an old man in Reykjavík. There are a couple of clues that give it an odd sense, but Inspector Erlendur cannot yet imagine what he will be facing as he and his police team set out to try to solve it. This mystery has so many twists and turns that it stays moving at a good pace. The settings change over the course of the story, so that it has a feeling of wandering into entirely unexpected territory, ultimately that which deals with the name of the book (Jar City).

I will have to say that listening to unfamiliar Icelandic names was hard (even with a really helpful explanation of them in the beginning), but the story was well told. It related a bit about Erlendur's personal life (which I assume will be developed in subsequent books), but in general, just a good mystery. I would not give it 5 stars, but it was solidly good with what seems like potential to develop into something even better.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • KP
  • United States
  • 02-28-15

Narrator Great, Story Not so Much

I chose this because I like mystery series, especially in settings I know nothing about, and I love the narrator. Despite being an interesting mystery, this was a bleak story and a little slow-paced. I found it hard to connect with the characters despite the narrator's best efforts. Not bad, but not the new, enthralling mystery series I was hoping to sink my teeth into.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Meh

Quite a middling book. A really awful character is found murdered. The police work is plodding and not really believable--ignoring most likely explanation for crime based on a hunch then going to extraordinary lengths to investigate the hunch. Nesbo has nothing to worry about.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • WJ
  • Kerrville, TX, United States
  • 03-31-14

John Rebus meets Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Not as strong a sense of place as the Girl With series, not as interesting a character as John Rebus.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful