Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on silenced by Solveig Pálsdóttir, book two in the Ice and Crime series. I really enjoyed the first book in. the series and was looking forward to seeing what Guðgeir Fransson was up to. My thanks to publisher Corylus Books for including me in the tour and providing the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
The darker the secret, the harder to bury it. Compelling reading – Lilja Sigurðardóttir
As a police team is called in to investigate a woman’s suicide at the Hólmsheiði prison outside Reykjavík, to detective Guðgeir Fransson it looks like a tragic but straightforward case.
It’s only afterwards that the pieces begin to fall into place and he takes a deeper interest in Kristín Kjarr’s troubled background, and why she had found herself in prison.
His search leads him to a series of brutal crimes committed twenty years before and the unexplained disappearance of the prime suspect, whose wealthy family closed ranks as every effort was made to keep skeletons securely hidden in closets – while the Reykjavík police struggle to deal with a spate of fresh attacks that bear all the hallmarks of a copycat.
Glass Key Award-nominated Icelandic author Sólveig Pálsdóttir is an exciting new voice in Nordic crime fiction.
Two things that you probably need to be aware of going into reading this novel. One, it starts with a character taking their own life and two, the reasons for that are hard, raw and really tragic. It’s hard to say much about it without giving the game away but there is an incident which happens in the victim’s past which changes the course of their future, leading to their decision to take such a tragic step. The fact that they chose to send a video of it to a Social Media influencer … well that just adds to the mystery.
The story brings us back into the world of Guðgeir Fransson who we first met investigating the mysterious disappearance of a young woman in The Fox. Fransson is in the process of moving home with his wife, little knowing how close his move will bring him to the case he is soon to be investigating. The apparent suicide of Kristín Kjarr. But nothing is ever straightforward and it would be a very short book if it were. His investigations lead him to a powerful family, a dark history, a string of cases which track back across Europe to Scotland. Mysterious, disturbing and terrifyingly close to home when the case takes a personal turn for the team, it can be a little hard to read at times, but the darkest moments are kept off the page, sparing readers the worst of the emotion, even though the aftermath is very, very clear.
I like the characters that the author has created, especially Fransson. He is a very warm character, committed to his family and his job and his determination and instinct make him a great character to spend time with. Whilst before he was largely working solo, we get to see his interactions with his team and with his family this time around and he has a fabulous amount of support about him which makes a really great ensemble.
The way in which the author slowly builds the mystery and the tension works perfectly, especially as we learn more about the family at the centre of the whole story, their suspicious and evasive behaviour, adding a layer of conflict which keeps the pacing tight. The story is scarily believable, the antagonist entirely heinous and without any kind of conscience, and it certainly makes you think about how much you would be willing to forgive for family.
With brilliant translation as always by Quentin Bates, the story kept me completely hooked and I finished it over just two evenings. The ending, whilst perhaps not quite the traditional picture of justice, certainly made me smile and I will be intrigued now to see what could possibly come next.
About the Author
Sólveig Pálsdóttir is the 2020 winner of the Drop of Blood (Blóðdropinn) for the best Icelandic crime novel published in 2019 – for Fjötrar (Shackles), which will therefore be the Icelandic novel put forward for the Nordic Glass Key award this year. Shackles will be published by Corylus Books in 2021.
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