Today I’m delighted to join the blog tour for Deceit by Jónína Leósdóttir. My thanks to publisher Corylus Books for the advance copy and to Ewa Sherman for the tour invite. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Reykjavík detective Soffía finds herself struggling to cope with a single-handed investigation into a spate of malicious acts taking place across the city, and enlists help from an unexpected direction.
Her psychologist ex-husband Adam has advised the police before, but with Covid raging in the city, would prefer to stay holed up in his basement flat as he deals with challenges in both his working and private life.
He grudgingly agrees to work with Soffía, as the stakes in the investigation are continually raised.
Working out who bears a grudge that goes deep enough to lead to murder, they unravel complex family ties, lingering enmities and a dark past that the victims would prefer to keep secret, while Adam encounters a young woman in a race against the clock to find the father she has never seen, but for what purpose?
I really enjoyed this book. Fresh, and quite unique in character, it kept me intrigued from start to finish. There are a series of incidents occurring across Reykjavik, minor in scale compared to the current Covid pandemic, but enough to pique the interest of local detective, Soffia, who believes there may be more to the vandalism and leaving of needles in food than meets the eye. She engages the assistance of her ex-husband, Adam, a Psychologist, in trying to understand more about the mindset of the person, or people, who might be behind such an act.
I really liked the two characters of Adam and Soffia. They really are chalk and cheese, Soffia far more gung-ho and determined than Adam who, for a Psychologist, has a seemingly unhealthy obsession and paranoia about the virus and a rigidity when it comes to following the covid-rules. You could argue there was very good reason for that given the book is set in a pre-vaccine world, but there is more of a compulsion about his actions, which is at odds with what is, by all accounts, a more chaotic mind. This may seem like a very typical set up -cop and psychologist – but believe me when I say that this is a far from conventional pairing, and Adam is nursing his own secrets which give his character, not an edge exactly, but certainly make him an interesting man to get to know.
Beyond our two central protagonists we meet the owners of the businesses who seem to be being targeted by this mini-terrorist. There is nothing random about the venues, even if the victims themselves do not share a clear connection. The investigation draws our pair into an extended family situation, one which is far from harmonious. There are many surprises in store and the author keeps readers on edge, diverting suspicion just when you think you have sussed out who is behind everything. And whilst I did see some elements of the story coming, there are other things, other revelations, which really do catch you unaware. Between stalkers, copycats and firestarters, the team, and therefore readers,are really kept on their toes.
The book touches on many subjects, including serious illness and transgender issues, but the key theme throughout seems to be of family. Of the ties that band and the the tensions that can also drive people apart. From the familial links between our two main protagonists, to those of the intended victims, even of one of Adam’s private clients, there is a strong mixture of emotions underpinning the story and this is what really drew me in, perhaps more so than the case itself. It’s not a fast paced story, but it doesn’t need to be as the characters held my attention throughout and the twisting and intertwining of the various story threads really did create a lot of interest. Definitely looking forward to more by this author.
About the Author
ónína Leósdóttir is an Icelandic author. Having written 13 books in different genres, she “turned to crime” and wrote five novels about private sleuth, Edda, a retired woman in her sixties who is attracted to mysteries. In 2021, Jónína started a new crime series, about a British expat, psychologist Adam, who lives in Reykjavik and sometimes assist his ex-wife, Soffía, a detective with the Icelandic police, solving crimes.
About the Translator
Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family, before decamping en masse for England. He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism, largely by accident. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, Cold Comfort and Thin Ice) which have been published worldwide. He has translated all of Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.
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