Arnaldur Indridason, Whom The Sunday Times Calls One Of The Most Brilliant Crime Writers Of His Generation, Has Thrilled Readers Around The World With His Series Set In Reykjavik In Black Skies, Indridason Further Cements His Position As One Of Today S Top International Crime Writers A Man Is Making A Crude Leather Mask With An Iron Spike Fixed In The Middle Of The Forehead It Is A Death Mask, Once Used By Icelandic Farmers To Slaughter Calves, And He Has Revenge In Mind Meanwhile, A School Reunion Has Left Inspector Erlendur S Colleague Sigurdur Li Unhappy With Life In The Police Force While Iceland Is Enjoying An Economic Boom, Li S Relationship Is On The Rocks And Soon Even His Position In The Department Is Compromised When A Favor To A Friend Goes Wrong And A Woman Dies Before His Eyes, Oli Has A Murder Investigation On His HandsFrom The Villas Of Reykjav K S Banking Elite To A Sordid Basement Flat, Black Skies Is A Superb Story Of Greed, Pride, And Murder From One Of Europe S Most Successful Crime Writers Arnaldur Indri ason con i suoi romanzi ci ha aiutato a conoscere meglio la storia islandese e i cambiamenti sociali avvenuti dal dopoguerra La signora in verde, Un corpo nel lago al boom economico dei primi anni del millennio Protagonista di questo romanzo proprio il senso di onnipotenza che prevale in Islanda negli anni della grande bolla speculativa che di l a poco sarebbe scoppiata con tutte le conseguenze che conosciamo in cui quasi tutti vivono al di sopra delle loro possibilit indebitandosi e i confini del bene e del male diventano talmente sfumati da essere quasi invisibili La banca nazionale islandese, comunemente nota come Sv rtuloft traduzionecielo nero .Non sar Erlendur a indagare tra nuovi ricchi e l onnipresente disagio sociale ma il suo collega Sigur ur li, un poliziotto molto diverso dal nostro caro ispettore scarsamente empatico, poco incline ai sensi di colpa e all introspezione, impulsivo e pieno di pregiudizi Le scogliere di Sv rtuloft cielo nero in Islanda.Un bel cambiamento che per , secondo me, non rende meno piacevole la lettura sempre che siate interessati pi agli aspetti sociali e meno all elemento poliziesco a differenza di quanto accade in Un doppio sospetto dove l indagine condotta da El nborg un altra collega di Erlendur si stempera troppo nelle problematiche familiari e nel tocco femminile dello stile investigativo Dal 2011, la prima sala concerti appositamente costruita a Reykjav k ha ospitato l Islanda Symphony Orchestra e gli uffici della Icelandic Opera La costruzione fu parzialmente abbandonata quando la crisi finanziaria prese piede, prima che il governo islandese accettasse di salvare la sala concerti a met dell edificio Per molti anni stato l unico progetto di costruzione dell Islanda. Arnaldur was quoted in an interview recently as saying I have no understanding of financial markets but I understand that people can be greedy For an author who claims little understanding, he has probably written a lucid and accurate account of the reasons behind Iceland s 2008 crash than anything else I have read Cheap off shore credit, poor government oversight and regulation, shonky financial products and the whole neoliberal economic philosophy even Milton Freidman is obliquely referenced are all referred to here, as is the rampant greed and reckless overconsumption that swept the whole western world in recent years.But writing economic commentaries is not Arnaldur s stock in trade he writes about people, their tragedies, motivations, stupidity or wisdom As always, he is a master of interweaving his themes with various plots For example, he uses the economic climate in part to show the development and changes of attitudes in his central character, Sigurdur Oli But a greater instrument for change is Sigurdur Oli s attempts to understand his own parents as a result of the breakdown of his partnership with Bergthora He is also humanised by his dealings with the tragic Andreas, a figure whom he had previously despised as a hopeless loser In previous books in this series, Sigurdur Oli has always seemed the antithesis of Erlendur However, here we find similarities Neither man has the ability to properly communicate with those nearest to him, possibly as a result of having parents who seldom really talked, or answered questions Both have problems from the past which still overshadow them, and each is fundamentally a loner beyond superficial friendships.And both men are extremely persistent and competent detectives, able to draw seemingly unrelated pieces of evidence together to further their case There are three deaths in this book, but are they all premeditated murders Again, in the case of one of the deaths, we have far sympathy with the perpetrator than the victim, whose evil destroyed a young boy s life This is another recurrent theme of Arnaldur s, that sins of commission or omission towards children may have profoundly tragic effects for the rest of a person s life.Thus, once , Arnaldur has transcended the genre of mere crime fiction into a work of fine literary merit. Since I reserve 1 rating for books I hate, this gets 2 Huge disappointment and total waste of time I bought this book before I had a falling out with the author s works and it took me a long time before I picked it up I wish I hadn t I wish I d just let it go unread It is bleak, depressing and boring from start to finish There is not a likeable character in sight There is nothing wrong with the plotting and the theme child pornography is important, but nothing of value is added There is nothing new here and nothing to hang on to About as cheerful as suicide note Not recommended. Arnaldur has a skill for developing characters, even though the characters are unlikable Another thing I like about this writer is that the violence is off stage I am still kicking myself for reading Jo Nesbo, as I don t need his images in my head Arnaldur s stories are gritty, but without graphic depictions of violence He leaves it to the reader to fill in the blanks.I was anxious to read a new Inspector Erlendur novel but he, himself, appeared nowhere As a result, the entire novel felt different I missed him And Sigurdur Oli is a much shallower and less interesting character, although we did get to know him on a deeper level I hope Erlender returns in the next one. What a mess of a book I ve really enjoyed this series until this book In the course of the series, Sigurdur Oli was the character I liked the least and this story didn t help He is a snob and a boring one at that There doesn t seem any other police officers working other than the one that tells him off As for the plot, it is so thin you can read a newspaper through it and that would probably be a better use of your time The strands in which the two stories are intertwined are ridicously thin Honestly, one or the other story would have been interesting but put together this way just doesn t work I m really disappointed in this Partly because I have enjoyed this series so much and partly because the book is just not good. Disappointed Otro libro donde Erlendur no aparece Qu est pasando con mis autores favoritos que van en picada Primero Nesbo y ahora Indri ason Historia aburrida, sin chispa, donde tenemos de protagonista a Sigurdur Oli compa ero de Erlendur por el cual no sent ninguna empat a ni como polic a ni como persona Se me hizo eterno Espero que esto mejore en el pr ximo, una l stima que una saga tan buena termine mal. Like other fans of Erlendur, I was worried that a Erlendur mystery without Erlendur might fall a little flat Plus, Erlendur s colleague Sigurdur li, the protagonist of Black Skies is not a very likeable character Erlendur is endlessly morose and fascinating That had not been my impression of boring Sigurdur li Ok, I was wrong about all of this I should have trusted Indri ason Ostensibly about a murder that is the result of blackmail, there are really three crimes, two related and one unrelated But the characters are what set Indri ason mysteries apart from the rest In Black Skies he offers a nuanced portrait Sigurdur li and completes the heartbreaking story of another character whom readers met in Arctic Chill, Andres Indri ason departs from his usual narrative to fill in the complicated background of Sigurdur li His mother, now an accountant, has been divorced from his father, a plumber, for many years His mother seems to be cold and unforgiving His father tried everything he could to keep the marriage together he became a doormat And Sigurdur grew up determined that he would do his damnedest to avoid turning out like his father 137 Sigurdur keeps asking the question, What brought them together He admits that he s baffled by their relationship He s coming to grips with the collapse of his own long term relationship with Bergthora and wondering how his parents marriage may have affected him Sigurdur is definitely not my type Chilly and insensitive, he s much like his mother than his father, which hasn t helped his relationships with women No one, including Bergthora, is good enough for our Siggi, according to his mother Ick Plus, while studying at a police academy in the U.S he has become obsessed with American sports, especially football and baseball Because of the time change, he often stays up late at night watching football games on his satellite TV He has no interest in books, the arts, or anything cultural What a fun guy He has no sympathy for any criminal, even youthful offenders who may have experienced brutal and impoverished childhoods He basically loaths his job and thinks he may have been wrong to abandon the study of law to become a policeman But in the course of Black Skies Sigurdur evolves He finds himself sympathetic to criminals and the down and out, people like Andres A chronic alcoholic introduced in Arctic Chill, his story is told here through flashback We learn about his sexual abuse at the hands of his step father and so does Sigurdur, to whom Andres has reached out Andres has found his step father and plans to take revenge Or does he After seeing a short film clip of Andres at age 10, Sigurdur reflects, he rarely felt any sympathy for the luckless individuals he came across in the line of duty,but there was something about the boy s wretchedness, his anguish and defencelessness, that moved him 189 At this point Sigurdur begins to find his humanity and although I still miss Erlendur, I kind of fell in love with Sigurdur.There s , of course Murders to be solved Details about the strangely lenient criminal justice system in Iceland No one seems to go to jail for very long, despite the seriousness of the crime The seemingly deficient social welfare system The crazy financial situation that led to the collapse of their economy in 2008 Tidbits about life in Iceland City life vs country life And a death in the ice covered wilderness But the story of Andres is what will stay with you when you close this book It s horrifying and desperately sad. I appreciate the subtle art in the construction of this police procedural set in Iceland The plot concerns the bludgeoning murder of a woman accountant known to be involved with her husband in wife swapping The protagonist in this 10th novel in a series is Sigurdur li, a colleague of the usual lead detective, Erlendur, whom I encountered in Jar City He is ordinary in many ways, not brilliant, notably courageous, or driven by ideals, but he doggedly works to get the job done He discovers the victim while acting on behalf of a friends request to discourage a blackmail attempt involving a family member who participated in the wife swapping That would be an obvious motive for murder, but the woman s association with a group of bankers involved in financial shenanigans deserves exploration as well The case leads li down pathways that bring him into the lives of both the poor, downtrodden and the financial high fliers of this liberal society As a conservative working class member of this culture, he is disgusted by the apparently laziness and excuses of the criminals of the lower classes and by the corruption and greed among the upper classes Here is a bit on his mindset on the former type If there was one thing that deeply pissed him off about his job it was having to be matey with little jerks like Kristjan, having to suck up to people he despised and stoop to their level, even pretend to be one of them, try to put himself in their shoes His colleague Erlendur found it easy because he understood these losers, but Elinborg could call on some sort of feminine intuition when forced to consort with criminal lowlifes But the way Sigurdur li saw it, there was an unbridgeable gulf between him and a delinquent like Kristjan From Sigurdur Oli s point of view, the little shit had forfeited the right to stand up and be counted, to be listened to or treated as a member of society.The evolution of Oli s sensibilities and insights regarding the lives of these sorts of transgressors represents the hidden core of this novel His own experience of his parent s divorce and inability to keep his relationship with his wife from falling apart begins to undermine the certainty of his judgment of other people Throughout the story, a troubled, mentally ill man he knows to have suffered terrible abuse from a stepfather as a child keeps trying to communicate with him, hinting he has found his abuser The reader knows from the first pages he is seeking revenge li begins to have sympathy for the damage many people bear Will he be able to take effective action to intervene for this person or others in his cases whom the system has failed This book begins to open my eyes a bit about what the renaissance of Nordic or Scandanavian Noir is all about As Goodread s reviewer Harry Roolaart has been telling us so eloquently, the themes involve a special sort of realism distinct from the other traditional detective and crime novels of the West We do not get told what to feel, and we don t usually get the thrill of an exaggerated cat and mouse game with a fiendish villain or the blatant drama of classic noir with a lonely, jaded hero struggling with pervasive corruption or organized crime Instead, what we get here is almost a sociological approach to portraying the fate of lowly figures from the failed welfare system or of well to do people lured to illegal financial schemes The lead female characters in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Smylla s Sense of Snow were effective in finding pathways to retributive action, contributing to the broad success of these particular novels Mankell and his predecessor from decades earlier, Sj wall and Wahl , gained wide appeal from the quirky brilliance of their detectives Indri ason and, apparently, other writers in this new subgenre do not grab these tickets for widespread bestseller appeal I suspect many will feel depressed by this particular story and suffer from the low level of conventional action or personality pizzazz If you don t expect these conventional entertainments, maybe like me you will be satisfied with the subtleties in this tale The book was provided by the publisher through the Goodreads Giveaway program. The last book by Arnaldur Indridason, Outrage, saw the usual protagonist of the series, detective Erlunder disappear for an extended leave of absence and the investigation taken up by his female colleague, Elinborg I enjoyed the book but missed the character of Erlunder so was slightly apprehensive when I noticed he had not yet returned for Black Skies This time, the central police figure is Sigurdur li, known in previous books mainly for his attempts to become a parent with his partner Bergth ra.Although written in 2009, the book is set in 2005, at the height of Icelandic economic boom Sigurdur li attends a high school reunion and notes with dismay that most of his contemporaries have become rich from the country s economic success However the friend of one his classmates is being blackmailed after he and his wife were photographed at a swingers party Sigurdur li agrees to pay a visit to the blackmailer but before he can speak to her, he surprises an attack on the woman by an unknown assailant Sigurdur is now in a difficult situation as he tries to remain involved in the police investigation without revealing the reasons for his presence at the murder scene.Meanwhile an elderly man has been taken prisoner and had placed over his head a leather mask fixed with a spike, similar to those used by Icelandic farmers to kill their animals It is clear that a disturbed individual is extracting revenge for past misdemeanours.Such is Indridason s skill as a writer that the elevation of Sigurdur li as a central character worked very well Instead of once focusing on the the fertility problems experienced by him and Bergth ra, we see instead the toll that it has taken on their relationship and the separate paths they are now following The emphasis on the personal seemed to chime in with the plot Sigurdur is pressurised by a personal acquaintance to investigate a blackmail plot, and when things start to disintegrate this friend unfairly blames Sigurdur for coming to the attention of the police.Although the blackmail plot is related to husband and wife swapping parties thankfully this isn t at the centre of the book Instead the focus is on the greed of bankers and those in associated professions at the height of the economic boom As the author makes clear it is not only the selfishness of the bankers that is to blame for the spiralling debt situation but the archaic Icelandic laws which fail to provide a legal structure to address financial abuse.The book was, as usual, an engrossing read and although the relevance of the man with the mask wasn t initially clear, the links are eventually made The book is full of incidental detail including reference to the absent Erlundur, Sigurdur s relationship with his divorced parents and the despair of the police at the justice system which fails to keep repeat offenders off the streets As readers of Indridason will know, these are themes that crop up again and again in his writing.
Arnaldur Indri ason has the rare distinction of having won the Nordic Crime Novel Prize two years running He is also the winner of the highly respected and world famous CWA Gold Dagger Award for the top crime novel of the year in the English language, Silence of the Grave Arnaldur s novels have sold over twelve million copies worldwide, in 40 languages, and have won numerous well respected prize
- 336 pages
- Arnaldur Indriðason
- 23 October 2018 Arnaldur Indriðason