The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir is a chilling Icelandic thriller that might make you want to sleep with the light on after reading.
Aldis hates her job working in a juvenile detention center in rural Iceland. The boys are difficult, the owners are unpleasant, and there are mysterious noises at night. And then two of the boys go astray...
Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the center. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?
Ódinn Hafsteinsson missed the heft of a hammer in his hand, missed taking aim, raining down blows on a four-inch galvanised nail. As a student he’d never sat a minute longer over his studies than necessary, and after graduating he had quickly given up on his first position at an engineering firm because it had condemned him to spending his days hunched in front of a computer screen. Instead, he’d found his vocation preparing quotes for his brother’s contracting company. This too should have been an indoor job but he managed to wangle it so that he got his hands dirty on as many site visits as possible. It had been a dream job. Yet now here he was, a desk jockey once more, pale, bored and lethargic after three months’ incarceration in an office. And today was one of the bad ones: a gale raging outside, all the windows closed and a heaviness in his head that only intensified when he was summoned to see his boss.