Review by New York Times Review
Choosing books for picky friends can be humbling. There's always one smarty-pants who has read not only the gift book but everything else in the author's oeuvre. Another recipient refuses to consider any story about "some stupid girl." And how about that ingrate who scorns the genre altogether, claiming to have developed more mature tastes? I'm speaking, of course, about buying books for children. Picking crime novels for grown-ups is a breeze. Someone on your list is sure to treasure Robert B. Parker's last novel, SPLIT IMAGE (Putnam, $25.95). And even old dependables like Donna Leon and Dennis Lehane can still be surprising. Ian Rankin departs from his tartan-noir police procedurals to write about a brazen art heist in DOORS OPEN (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown, $24.99), while in STILL MIDNIGHT (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown, $24.99), Denise Mina begins a new series dealing with class and race hostilities in Glasgow. But this year's tour de force is THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY (Riverhead, $25.95), Walter Mosley's character study of a 91-year-old recluse who becomes an unlikely hero. Even your dullest friends are up for an adventure, or they wouldn't be your friends. So don't hesitate to give them something outside their comfort zone. In THE LOCK ARTIST (Thomas Dunne/Minotaur, $24.99), Steve Hamilton introduces a young man whose talent for picking locks puts him in bondage to the mob. Charlie Huston's SLEEPLESS (Ballantine, $25) is a police procedural about an idealistic cop chasing narcotics traffickers in a futuristic world run by Big Pharma. SO COLD THE RIVER (Little, Brown, $24.99), by Michael Koryta, takes a cinematographer to a pretty valley where the water gives him dreamy visions and a really bad headache. LOVE SONGS FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE (Soho, $25) is Colin Collerill's latest mystery featuring the witty Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos. Writers of psychological suspense make it their business to keep readers guessing. Ruth Rendell's PORTOBELLO (Scribner, $26) is a wry homage to the enduring eccentricities of her British countrymen. Rendell never writes the same book twice, and neither does Jesse Kellerman, whose playful cruelty takes a macabre turn in THE EXECUTOR (Putnam, $25.95) when a grad student becomes obsessed with the elderly woman who hires him to read to her. For the gift-giver, there's no greater satisfaction than introducing a friend to a new writer. Belinda Bauer's first novel, BLACKLANDS (Simon & Schuster, $23), takes us into the troubled mind of a 12-year-old who befriends a killer supposedly locked up for life. In A THOUSAND CUTS (Viking, $24.95), an equally bleak first novel by Simon Lelic, a teacher goes berserk, shoots three students and kills himself - for reasons that will floor you. When it comes to the crunch (something for a sullen teenager, hostile neighbor, unbearably saintly mother-in-law), the secret is to make them laugh. Deborah Coonts's WANNA GET LUCKY? (Forge/Tom Doherty, $24.99), set at the "most over-the-top megacasino/resort on the Las Vegas Strip," entrusts the sleuthing to a brainy beauty who sees the lighter side of human folly. The humor is more morbid in A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY (Thomas Dunne/ Minotaur, $24.99), Sophie Littlefield's portrait of a female vigilante who extends a (bloody) helping hand to battered women. Thomas Perry is kinder to the cute if disaster-prone mobsters in his gangland thriller, STRIP (Otto Penzler/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26). And in HOLLYWOOD HILLS (Little, Brown, $26.99), Joseph Wambaugh takes us on a great ride with the folks in blue at the most colorful cop-shop under the sun. To be really bold, give gifts that make people cry. In THE RED DOOR (Morrow/HarperCollins, $24.99), the mother and son who team-write as Charles Todd will tear you up with their image of a wife faithfully waiting for her husband to return from the battlefields of World War I. John Harvey delivers a weeper in FAR CRY (Otto Penzler/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), which assigns sensitive detectives to the case of a mother who loses a daughter, remarries and years later loses another daughter possibly to the same killer. Tana French also plucks those heartstrings in FAITHFUL PLACE (Viking, $25.95), when a cop goes back to his old neighborhood to resolve the 22-year-old mystery of his sweetheart's disappearance. If you're really desperate, give friends books that will make them think. Reggie Nadelson takes the political pulse of Harlem after Barack Obama's election, in BLOOD COUNT (Walker, $26), while in BODY WORK (Putnam, $26.95), Sara Paretsky throws fresh fuel on the smoldering issue of whether provocatively erotic art leads to violence against women. The serial rapist killing civilian women on the besieged island of Malta in Mark Mills's wartime thriller, THE INFORMATION OFFICER (Random House, $25), raises alarms about the psychological strains of war. Stuart Neville treats the same subject from a different perspective in COLLUSION (Soho, $25), about a Belfast police detective reliving the Troubles that never seem to end. And in A LILY OF THE FIELD (Atlantic Monthly, $24), John Lawton gives a harrowing account of two musicians whose lives and careers are shattered by the Anschluss. If all this holiday cheer starts to get to you, maybe you should avoid Arnaldur Indridason's HYPOTHERMIA (Thomas Dunne/ Minotaur, $24.99), a bone-chilling meditation on the Icelandic propensity for suicide. What could possibly bring more satisfaction than introducing a friend to a new crime writer?
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [December 5, 2010]
Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Indridason, Iceland's most widely read novelist, once told an interviewer that crime fiction is about so much more than just crime. In his latest mystery, as if to prove his point, Indridason has his series hero, Reykjavik police detective Erlendur, investigate what appears to be the suicide of a young woman. There is no evidence of foul play, and there are numerous indications that the woman suffered from depression due to the death of her mother and the drowning of her father when she was a child. At the same time, Erlendur is trying to solve two cold cases, the disappearances of two young people three decades earlier. For Erlendur, all three investigations resonate like Proust's madaleines, compelling him to continue. Hypothermia is defiantly unconventional crime fiction. No shoot-outs, no car chases, no monstrous villains; only tragedies and the pain they inflict on ordinary people like Erlendur. As he interviews a lengthy succession of people who might shed light on the suicide and the disappearances, the gloomy Icelandic cop continues to wrestle with the tragedies in his own life: his eight-year-old brother's disappearance in a blizzard and the impact of his disastrous marriage on his children. Some crime fans might be puzzled by this novel's dearth of action, but it is psychologically astute, beautifully told, and filled with insight into matters of life and death.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At the start of Indridason's powerful sixth Reykjavik thriller (after Arctic Chill), the body of Maria, a woman ravaged by guilt, is found hanging in her holiday cottage, an apparent suicide. As Erlendur, a police detective who works largely alone because he prizes solitude above all else, doggedly interviews those close to Maria-her husband, her relatives, her friends-in an unofficial effort to understand what might have driven her to take her own life, he unravels an ingenious and sinister plot. Complicating his investigation are the ghosts from his personal and professional past: his failed marriage and his shaky relationships with the son and daughter who grew up without him, as well as unsolved missing-persons cases he still feels morally compelled to pursue. Most scalding of all is his memory of the blizzard that he barely survived as a boy but in which his younger brother perished, the tragic event that shaped Erlendur's later life and lends mythic resonance to Indridason's remarkable novels. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Icelandic author Indridason's sixth series entry (after The Draining Lake) is a departure from the previous books: Inspector Erlendur unofficially investigates the suicide of a young woman at her summer cottage. Erlendur is determined to re-create her experiences and find out what could have driven her to take her life. At the same time, he reopens the cases of two young people who went missing decades earlier. Because the father of the missing young man is dying, Erlendur hopes to bring him closure before it is too late. Through these investigations Erlendur may be able finally to come to terms with the tragedy in his past. -VERDICT Though not a typical police procedural in which Erlendur solves a crime with his team, this is highly recommended for fans of Indridason's previous mysteries and for lovers of Scandinavian crime fiction. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 4/1/10.]-Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A suicide reminds a veteran inspector of previous sad casesand of ghosts from his own past.Mara, a historian, is found hanged in her country cottage by her childhood friend Karen, with whom she'd planned a getaway weekend. Mara's husband Baldvin, a doctor, is equally distraught by her death. Though his wife showed no signs of depression, flashbacks from her perspective tell a different story. Not only was she melancholy since the death of her beloved mother Leonra a couple of years ago, she had an intense interest in the afterlife and was consulting with psychics. While not questioning the coroner's conclusion of suicide, grim Inspector Erlendur (Arctic Chill,2009, etc.) is bothered by several details of the case, not least Baldvin's decision to have Mara cremated. For many years, an elderly man named Tryggvi has periodically visited Erlendur for news of his son, a university student who vanished one evening. In light of Mara's death, Erlendur feels compelled to reexamine this case and a handful of others more carefully. At length, he discovers some surprising and significant details. At the prompting of his daughter Eva Lind, clean after years of drug abuse, he agrees to a meeting with his ex-wife and offers a deeply felt account of the childhood death of his younger brother, an incident that has indelibly shadowed his life for decades.Though series fans may miss sidekicks Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, relegated to minor roles, they'll welcome another haunting mystery from the Gold Dagger Award winner, whose work transcends genre.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.