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Showing posts tagged: Iceland click to see more stuff tagged with Iceland
Wed
Feb 15 2017 12:30pm
Excerpt

The Undesired: New Excerpt

Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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?

Chapter 1

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.

[Read the full excerpt from The Undesired...]

Wed
Feb 8 2017 12:00pm
Excerpt

Into Oblivion: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Into Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason is an Icelandic thriller and the 11th of the Inspector Erlendur series, following newly promoted Detective Erlendur as he deals with a litany of cases in this small, remote country. (Now available in paperback!)

A woman swims in a remote, milky-blue lagoon. Steam rises from the water and as it clears, a body is revealed in the ghostly light. Miles away, a vast aircraft hangar rises behind the perimeter fence of the US military base. A sickening thud is heard as a man's body falls from a high platform.

Many years before, a schoolgirl went missing. The world has forgotten her. But Erlendur has not. Erlendur is a newly promoted detective with a battered body, a rogue CIA operative, and America's troublesome presence in Iceland to contend with. In his spare time he investigates a cold case. He is only starting out, but he is already up to his neck.

[Read an excerpt from Into Oblivion...]

Fri
Jan 27 2017 5:30pm

“Campari Thorange” Cocktail

When you take a job as a local policeman in a small town in Northern Iceland like Ari Thor Arason, life can seem dull. But just because excitement isn't happening around you, that doesn't mean you can't make things exciting! 

So get the party started with this week's Pick Your Poison—where we create a cocktail inspired by a recently published mystery, thriller, or crime novel—the “Campari Thorange” cocktail. Inspired by Ragnar Jonasson's debut Icelandic thriller, Snowblind, this delicious drink will definitely get things going. Skál!

[Check out the recipe below!]

Fri
Jan 27 2017 3:30pm

Review: Snowblind by Ragar Jonasson

Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from the extraordinary new talent Ragnar Jonasson (available January 31, 2017).

Ari Thor Arason is about to finish his police training—the first study he’s completed after abandoning both philosophy and theology. He is offered a position as a policeman in a small town in northern Iceland, far away from Reykjavik and his girlfriend Kristin. She is not thrilled that he accepted the job without consulting her and refuses to put her medical training on hold to go with him. So, Ari Thor starts this new chapter with a lot of doubt about his decision—especially when his new boss, Tomas, tells him nothing ever happens in Siglufjörður.

There weren’t many people to be seen and there was little traffic. It was approaching midday; Ari Thor expected there to be more activity during the lunch hour.

“Very quite here,” he said to break the silence. “I suppose the financial crash is going to affect you up here just the same as the rest of us?” 

[Read Debbie Meldrum's review of Snowblind...]

Tue
Jan 10 2017 3:00pm

What Is Your Favorite Winter Mystery Locale?

Brrr. It’s getting cold out there! With all the snow hitting the east coast, we started to think about all the winter mysteries out there. 

There’s something extra sinister about a setting that’s dark, cold, and quiet that makes for a perfect murder mystery. And there are plenty of snow-covered countries where our favorites take place. Which country is your favorite winter mystery locale? 

[Vote for your favorite snow-covered setting!]

Thu
Dec 8 2016 4:00pm

Murder, Mystery, and Scandinavia: The Perfect Combination

If you like the setting of your murder mysteries to take place in a cold, snowy climate, you’re not alone. The newest and bloodiest murder mysteries now seem to take place in Scandinavia. There’s something about murder, mystery, and the bitter cold that seem to go together, and it seems that readers have been entertained by them for years.

The first tastes of “murder in the cold” were not centered in Scandinavia at all, but in Canada. King of the Royal Mounties by Zane Grey and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon by Fran Striker not only paid homage to the brave officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but also took pleasure in the descriptions of the snow and cold where they work. But those thrillers were mild.

[Find out more about Scandinavian thriller!]

Tue
Sep 13 2016 1:30pm

11 of the Best Fictional Island Cops

Most of us love the idea of islands—their beauty, their singularity, their separation from the wider world. And, of course, we all believe that life may somehow be easier on islands, more laid back, simpler, even Edenic.

But islands have their dark side, too. And just as most of us are drawn to the mythic ease and beauty of island life, so, too, are we fascinated by tales of this dark side and the man or woman who must contend with that dark element—the island cop. Literature, TV, and film are populated by dozens of these characters, and they are often just that, their quirks and habits molded by their island environment. Come with me on an around-the-world tour of some fascinating islands and the fictional cops who call them home:

[See who made the list!]

Thu
Apr 14 2016 10:00am
Excerpt

Hard Light: New Excerpt

Elizabeth Hand

Hard Light by Elizabeth Hand is the 3rd Cass Neary Crime novel that sees punk photographer Cass Neary hook up with a dangerous crowd in London (Available April 19, 2016).

Fleeing Reykjavik and a cluster of cult murders, Cass lands in London to rendezvous with her longtime lover Quinn, a person of interest to both Interpol and the Russian mob.

Only Quinn doesn’t show up. Alone in London and fearing the worst, Cass hooks up with a singer-songwriter with her own dark past, who brings her to the wrong party. Cass becomes entangled with the party’s host, Mallo Tierney, an eccentric gangster with a penchant for cigar cutters and neatly-wrapped packages, and a trio of dissolute groupies connected to a notorious underground filmmaker.

Forced to run Mallo's contraband, Cass is suddenly enmeshed in a web of murder, betrayal, and artistic and sexual obsession that extends from London to the stark beauty of England’s Land’s End Peninsula, where she uncovers an archeological enigma that could change our view of human history―if she survives.

[Read an excerpt from Hard Light here...]

Thu
Apr 7 2016 3:30pm

Q&A with Quentin Bates, Author of Thin Ice

A few weeks ago, Quentin Bates—author of Thin Ice—wrote a wonderful blog post about how difficult it is to execute a successful crime in Iceland, making it even more difficult to write a successful crime novel set in Iceland:

Iceland: A Locked Room Mystery on a Grand Scale

At the end of the post, we asked YOU, the readers, to put on your thinking caps and ask Quentin a few questions. The response was incredible! Thanks for all the great questions!

So, without further ado, here are Quentin's responses!

[Read the Q&A with Quentin Bates here...]

Sat
Mar 19 2016 12:00pm

Iceland: A Locked Room Mystery on a Grand Scale

This original blog post by author Quentin Bates is part 1 of a 2 part series including an exclusive Q&A featuring questions from YOU, the readers. To win a copy of Quentin's new book Thin Ice, make sure you're signed in, and ask the author a question in the comments section below. We'll choose the best questions to be included in the forthcoming Q&A, and those users will also win a copy of Thin Ice

Any crime story set in Iceland is always going to be a locked room mystery to a greater or lesser extent.

It’s an island with a population of 330,000 people, equivalent to somewhere like Croydon or Bielefeld, although with rather more jagged scenery and less predictable weather. Those 330,000 people are the entire population of this little country, and around half of them live in the southwest corner, either in the Reykjavík region or within commuting distance of it.

[Read more about writing crime fiction set in Iceland...]

Wed
Feb 10 2016 11:00am
Excerpt

The Silence of the Sea: New Excerpt

Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir is an Icelandic thriller and the 6th book in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series that features a mysterious luxury yacht that crashes into the pier completely empty leaving Thora to investigate this “cursed” ship (Available February 16, 2016).

A luxury yacht crashes into a Reykjavik pier. But the boat is empty; no one is on board. What has happened to the crew? And what has happened to the family who were very much present when the yacht left Lisbon?

What should Thora Gudmundsdottir, the series sleuth, make of the rumors that the vessel was cursed? She is spooked even more when she boards the yacht and thinks she sees one of the missing children. Where is Karitas, the glamorous young wife of the yacht's former owner? And whose is the body that has washed up further along the shore?

Chapter 1

The repairman scratched his neck, his expression a mixture of exasperation and astonishment. “Tell me again exactly how it happened.” He tapped a small spanner on the lid of the photocopier. “I can’t count how many of these I’ve dealt with, but this is a new one on me.”

Thóra’s smile was devoid of amusement. “I know. So you said. Look, can you mend it or not?” She resisted the temptation to hold her nose in spite of the stench rising from the machine. In hindsight it had been an extremely bad idea to hold a staff party in the office but it had never occurred to her that someone might vomit on the glass of the photocopier, then close the lid neatly on the mess. “Maybe it would be best if you took it to your workshop and carried out the repairs there.”

“You could have limited the damage by calling me out straight away instead of leaving it over the weekend.”

[Read more from The Silence of the Sea here...]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 10:00am
Excerpt

Reykjavik Nights: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason is a prequel set in the 1960s about the up-and-coming Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson (available April 21,2015).

The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband … And an unexplained death.

When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found drowned in a ditch, no one seems to care. But his fate haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange and dark underworld of the city.

1

There was a green anorak in the water. When prodded, it stirred, turned a slow half circle and sank from view. The boys fished at it with their poles until it floated up to the surface again, then recoiled in horror when they saw what lay beneath.

The three friends lived on Hvassaleiti, in the residential blocks lined up along busy Miklabraut all the way down to the expanse of waste-ground known as Kringlumýri. To the north the waste-ground was overgrown with nettles and angelica; to the south lay a large area of open diggings, deep gashes in the earth, where the inhabitants of Reykjavík had excavated peat by the ton to heat their houses during the First World War when fuel was in short supply. They had drained and laid tracks across the marshy ground before embarking on the largest scale peat extraction in the history of the city. Hundreds of men had been employed in cutting, drying and transporting it to the city in wagons.

[Continue reading Reykjavik Nights now!]

Fri
Feb 13 2015 4:30pm

Fresh Meat: Someone to Watch Over Me by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Someone to Watch Over Me by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir is the 5th legal thriller set in Iceland featuring attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir (available February 17, 2015).

That chill you just got? It had nothing to do with the draft that always sneaks through the bedroom window when the temperature drops below freezing and the wind kicks up from the north. And those goose bumps prickling the skin on your arm? They don’t mean you need to put on a sweater or turn up the thermostat.

Someone to Watch Over Me begins with a low-key depiction of a haunting as inexplicable as it is unnerving:

Of course, this could all have had a logical explanation that time and patience would help them discover. The house was old and needed a lot of work. However, some of the phenomena couldn’t possibly be attributed to that: Pési’s pile of cuddly toys was always arranged in a neat row in the morning; they’d find his clothing folded on a stool in the corner, even if it had been lying in a heap on the floor when he went to sleep. Pési often woke up in the night, but now they didn’t need to fetch him a drink, take him into their bed to sleep or go to his room to calm him down, because when they went to check on him they would find him smiling in bed, saying: “You didn’t have to get up, Magga is looking after me.”

[A haunting winter’s read indeed...]

Sun
Aug 24 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

Strange Shores: New Excerpt

Arnaldur Indridason

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason is the 9th procedural in the Inspector Erlendur series set amidst the frozen tundra of Iceland (available August 26, 2014).

A young woman disappears from the frozen fjords of Iceland. In her wake, this woman has left a tempest of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for the missing woman but also for his long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snowstorm when they were children has coloured his entire life. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realizes that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.

1

He no longer feels cold: instead, a curious heat is spreading through his veins. He had thought there was no warmth left in his body but now it is flooding into his limbs, bringing a sudden flush to his face.

[Continue reading Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason...]

Mon
Mar 17 2014 8:45am

Helpful Tourist Joins Search Party Looking For...Herself?

A change of clothes really can make you feel like a new woman. According to the Toronto Sun:

[During a guided tour's rest stop] One of the women on the bus left to change her clothes and freshen up. When she came back, her busmates didn't recognize her...The woman didn't recognize the description of herself, and joined in the search. About 50 people searched the terrain by vehicles and on foot... But the search was called off at about 3 a.m., when it became clear the missing woman was, in fact, accounted for and searching for herself.

Travel can so be mind-opening—we're glad she found herself.

Hat tip: Death and Taxes

Fri
Feb 21 2014 9:45am

Thor Versus Loki? Raganrok this Saturday!

No, this isn't another Marvel superhero movie, at least not yet. What this is is another end-of-days prophecy, this time courtesy of the Vikings. We've heard it before: Y2K, The Rapture, The Mayan Apocalypse. But this is the Norse name: Ragnarok.

Set to occur this Saturday, the events will kick off when Loki's grandson, Skoll, eats the sun (Not Cool, Skoll!) and sets off a chain reaction of godly proportions. All of the Norse gods, like Thor and Odin, will surface and destroy us all as they rip the Earth in half as they fight, thus releasing all of the underworld's inhabitants.

This really does sound like the next Marvel movie.

Believers in the United Kingdom are holding a festival, called Jorvick, to commemorate the occasion. Events include: feasting like a viking, combat training, and beard judging, to name a few. Those who are unable to make it to York to join in the festivities are encouraged to join in on the action by using the hashtag #ragnarok2014.

Should Ragnarok go down the way the Vikings' predicted, there is one bright spot. After all the fighting has ended and the demons of the underworld have singed the Earth, it is supposed to come back as a beautiful paradise.

Sun
Sep 15 2013 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Black Skies by Arnaldur Indridason

Black Skies by Arnaldur IndridasonBlack Skies by Arnaldur Indridason, translated by Victoria Cribb, is the eighth in the Inspector Erlandur procedural series set in Iceland (available September 17, 2013).

Sigurdur Óli is a policeman with a lot of problems. The personal ones pile up with a bleakness and harshness which easily match the tough Icelandic backdrop of Arnaldur Indridason’s latest thriller.

Looking discontentedly around the group, he wondered if he had achieved the least of all of them since leaving school. It was the kind of thought that preyed on him whenever he bothered to attend these reunions. The gathering included other lawyers like Guffi, as well as engineers, two vicars, three doctors who had completed lengthy training as specialists, and even an author. Sigurdur Óli had never read any of his stuff but they made a fuss of him in literary circles for his distinctive style that bordered on the ‘irrational’, in the jargon of the latest pseudo-intellectual school of criticism. When Sigurdur Óli compared himself to his former classmates–his life in the force, the sort of investigations he was involved in, his colleagues Erlendur and Elínborg, and all the human dross he was forced to deal with every day–he could find little reason to be cheerful.

Vengeance hangs heavy in the air as a man with demons stalks his intended victim.

[Even less reason to be cheerful...]

Thu
Feb 21 2013 10:30am

Fresh Meat: The Day is Dark by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

The Day is Dark by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir is the fourth mystery featuring attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir (available February 26, 2013).

At an author event in the spring of 2012, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir was talking about the power of place for an author working on a mystery novel. The place in question was Greenland, which she had visited only briefly—but long enough to gather inspiration for a new book. “I looked at the sled dogs and I asked, ‘What would happen if you put a dead body in front of those dogs? Would they eat it?’” she recalled.

Hmm…

I came away from the event with two thoughts: 1) be very careful if you travel with a crime fiction author; and 2) keep an eye out for Yrsa’s next book. That book is The Day is Dark, and it is indeed set in Greenland, perhaps the only inhabited place on earth that Icelanders would consider too darned cold, dark, and inhospitable to live in.

Fans of Yrsa’s previous books will know that Greenland is absolutely not the place for main character attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir to be spending any time. She’s Icelandic, but Thóra is hardly the rugged outdoors type. Yet she is always game for a challenging case—and this one’s lucrative to boot. So, if it means traveling to Greenland to investigate a potential breach of contract on a mining project, so be it. At least she’ll be traveling with her handsome banker boyfriend Matthew Reich.

[There will be no time for snuggling, however…]

Mon
Feb 11 2013 9:45am

Bring Him One Extra-Firm To Go

A 50-year-old man in Iceland was fined a total of nearly 40,000 Icelandic kroner for eating the mattress in his jail cell.

It all started at a hotel near Keflavík Airport where the fellow did a little too much wining with his dining, got himself nice and drunk, then attempted to skip out on his bill. He was nabbed and thrown in jail; partly as punishment, mainly to sleep it off. But, apparently, he had no intention of sleeping.

The jail guards claim that they checked on him 17 times during the night, took him to the toilet, brought him water three times, offered him coffee (which he declined), and took him to the doctor. Nevertheless, at some point that night, our man felt a little peckish and, finding no food on offer,

“… he felt he had no choice but to eat his own mattress,” says the Reykjavík Grapevine.

When questioned by a judge, the man said the jail staff denied his requests for food and drink and he was treated inhumanely. The judge disagreed—and the fact that this was the fellow’s fifteenth brush with the law since 1980 probably didn’t strengthen his case. If he doesn’t pay the fine, however, back to jail he goes. At least next time he’ll be familiar with the menu.

Sun
Jan 6 2013 1:00pm

Scene of the Crime in Reykjavík

If you’re as captivated by Icelandic crime fiction as we are you’ll want to know about the guided “Reykjavík Criminally” walks run by the Reykjavík City Library every Thursday in July and August. (It’s never too early to start planning your next vacation. Summer will be here before you know it!)

Developed in 2011, when Reykjavík was named a UNESCO City of Literature, the walks focus on the novels of Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, and they’ll introduce you to other Icelandic crime novelists, such as Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson, as well. Best of all, they’re free.

Prefer to go it alone? There’s a free downloadable app that includes a self-guided “Reykjavík Criminally” walk as well as an Icelandic Literary Walk. That’s where you’ll learn that even though Icelandic crime fiction is a relatively recent phenomenon, the first Icelandic books were published in the year 1000 and Icelanders have been dedicated readers ever since. No crime in that…

Photograph: Mitchell Funk/Getty Images