Review by New York Times Review
WHERE ARE THE BODIES? That's the pertinent question posed by Michael Koryta in his cool and cunning novel how ? happened (Little, Brown, $27), which is loosely based, he has said, on a murder he covered as a young reporter in Indiana. Perhaps because of the personal angle - or just because Koryta is such a skilled writer - the story feels like the real deal. Rob Barrett, an agent with the Boston division of the F.B.I., is dispatched to Port Hope, Me., to work on an unusual murder case. A 22-year-old woman named Kimberly Crepeaux has graphically described her involvement in a double homicide and someone has to obtain an official confession. More to the point, Barrett must oversee the recovery of the two victims from the pond where Kimberly claims that she and a friend dumped the bodies. "They're down there between the raft and the dock," she explains. "You'll find them there. I don't know how deep. They aren't down there very far, though. It's just dark water, and a lonely place. You'll find them easy." That passage gives me goose bumps, a credit to Koryta's descriptive powers. It doesn't say much, though, for Kimberly's reliability, because despite multiple attempts by professional divers, no bodies can be found in the 24-acre pond. Barrett is something of an authority on interrogation methods, and since he has staked his reputation on his interviews with Kimberly, his job is suddenly in jeopardy. Especially when two bodies turn up 212 miles away, wrapped in garbage bags and stashed in the woods. "The Bureau rarely fires agents," a colleague reassures him, unkindly. "We just bury them." "ON A cold spring day in 1940, the war had come knocking on Reykjavik's door," Arnaldur Indridason gravely informs us in the shadow KILLER (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne, $26.99), a sober companion to "The Shadow District" and a continuation of the author's close scrutiny of his native Iceland when it was under military occupation. American troops have been sent to relieve the British garrison protecting this neutral nation, and United States counterintelligence agents are already billeted at the old leper hospital. This is no time for a little local murder, if that's all it is when a traveling salesman is shot dead with a Colt .45 pistol, the weapon of choice for American G.I.s. Flovent, the only detective working for the city's Criminal Investigation Department, teams up with a military police officer named Thorson to make what they can of "the implacable hatred, the anger, the utter ruthlessness" reflected in the executionstyle murder. As translated by Victoria Cribb, Indridason's austere, clear-cut prose coldly reveals "all the disruption the military occupation had brought to this sparsely populated island and its simple society." IT'S December of 1923 in Barbara Cleverly's charmingly old-fashioned novel, FALL OF ANGELS (Soho Crime, $26.95), and everyone in England is celebrating in the happy knowledge that World War I is far behind them. Recalling the four Christmases he endured in the trenches of Flanders, Detective Inspector John Redfyre of the Cambridge constabulary is thankful to be spending this one at a holiday concert for organ and trumpet in the company of a more congenial German, Johann Sebastian Bach. Redfyre's pleasure comes to an abrupt end, however, when someone shoves the gifted trumpeter Juno Proudfoot down the steps of the choir loft. She's unharmed, but an attack on another woman that same night proves successful, which puts a chill on the revels. "Was this some upper-class loony loose on the Cambridge streets?" someone wonders. Cleverly resolves the mystery with her customary expertise and good taste. But she's human enough to take the occasional jab at men who make the rules of society, "smothering female talent, gagging and belittling their wives and daughters." Being faithful to the period, she also observes the social proprieties. Inviting a female acquaintance to his cottage, Redfyre worries about decorum. "What he was doing was probably unlawful," he realizes, "and most certainly morally unacceptable." Happily, that doesn't stop him. TIME WAS, every ambitious punk dreamed of making it in New York or London. But according to Malcolm Mackay's gritty novels, the crime capital now is Glasgow. In FOR THOSE WHO KNOW THE ENDING (Mulhoiiand, $26), Martin Sivok ("31, short, stocky and standing in a foreign country") realizes that the criminal contacts he made back in the Czech Republic aren't such big shots here. Unfortunately, the English he acquired watching American TV won't advance his current aspirations, and he's reduced to performing menial jobs for "an absurdly hairy Polish guy" with a better command of the Queen's own English. Mackay himself is a prose master who seems to take real pleasure in assigning a street-smart Pakistani named Usman Kassar to teach Martin the local lingo. It's even more fun watching cocky Usman struggling to pronounce a name like Przemek Krawczyk. Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 16, 2018]
Review by Booklist Review
It's 1941, and Reykjavik is teeming with foreign soldiers as American GIs arrive to take over Iceland's occupation from the British. Reykjavik detective Flóvent and Canadian military liaison Stephan Thorson are paired again (after The Shadow District, 2017) to find the killer of a traveling salesman shot with an American gun and marked with a bloody swastika. They begin their investigation certain that their victim is Felix Lunden, tenant of the apartment where the body is found, but the case takes a turn when the deceased is identified as a rival salesman. Still, the case seems to revolve around the missing Felix, as Flóvent and Thorson discover a German-issued cyanide capsule in Felix's sales suitcase and learn that his uncle is a Nazi scientist renowned for eugenics research. Indridason's voice, straightforward and tinged with sadness, works particularly well here, as he coaxes out tragic secrets and captures the occupation's impact with intriguing period detail, particularly the social impact of Reykjavik's emerging nightlife and the Icelandic Nationalist Party's Nazi legacy.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At the start of Indridason's well-crafted second thriller set in Reykjavík during WWII (after 2017's The Shadow District), Eyvindur, a hapless traveling salesman, comes home from a trip to find that his partner, Vera, has left with all her clothes-then disappears himself. Meanwhile, Flóvent, a local policeman, examines the body of Felix Lunden, another salesman, shot by a bullet from an American military pistol, his forehead daubed with a bloody swastika. Lunden's ethnicity may be important: he was the son of a Danish-German doctor living in Iceland, an important country to the Germans as a "home to some kind of pure Nordic, Germanic race." That Lunden's briefcase contains a spy's cyanide capsule adds intrigue. The investigation takes Flóvent and his English-speaking partner, Thorson, who works with American MPs, into the heart of a Reykjavík overrun by U.S. soldiers, the sordid German obsession with eugenics, and the two salesmen's lives. The plot may be a bit too ambitious, but Indridason does a fine job evoking the place and time. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
In the second thriller set in wartime Iceland (after The Shadow District), Flóvent, Reykjavik's sole detective, investigates the murder of a traveling salesman, found shot to death in a basement flat with a swastika smeared on his forehead with his own blood. The bullet came from a U.S. military service pistol, so suspicion initially falls on a member of the occupying Allied forces. Flóvent is joined by Thorson, a Canadian military police officer, in a series of intense interviews with residents familiar with the victim. Evidence emerges of questionable experiments a German doctor carried out on local schoolboys in the 1930s. But the detectives also suspect the victim's girlfriend and her British soldier lover. But before they can resolve the case, U.S. Counterintelligence seeks to take over the investigation, fearing the murder may have exposed a major counterespionage operation on the Continent. VERDICT Rather than penning a series of action sequences, Indridason builds suspense through a steady progression of extensive interviews with his sleuths doggedly prodding witnesses with dark probing questions. The result is a haunting and foreboding mood that will attract fans of Nordic noir. However, more thrills-oriented readers may find the satisfactory and unsurprising climax tedious. [See Prepub Alert, 11/27/17.]-Jerry P. Miller. Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2018. 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.