Thursday, 31 March 2016

"Reykjavik Nights" by Arnaldur Indridason - Inspector Erlendur prequel

Iceland is cool. Very.
Perhaps it's because I've just watched "Trapped", the brilliant TV drama. Perhaps it's because Iceland is so different from Australia. Twenty years ago the only thing I knew about Iceland was it was the home of Bjork and the setting for Jules Verne's "Journey to the Centre of the Earth".
Anyway, I digress....

This is a prequel to the Inspector Erlendur crime novels set in Iceland. Reykjavik in the seventies, Erlendur is a young traffic officer investigating (on his own, of course) the death of a homeless man, Hannibal.
The young man is fascinated by lost souls and disappearances from Iceland's past.
Erlendur is a cold fish who prefers his own company (as seen by his patchy relationship with his girlfriend, Halldora). The novel explores loss and loneliness through the capital's homeless underclass.
There are some powerful scenes. One, on his last call out of the night, is a harrowing depiction of domestic violence. The other is Hannibal's back story, a car accident forcing him into a "Sophie's Choice" situation.
The dialogue is clunky at times, but this might be due to the English translation.
I enjoyed the leisurely pace and now will jump wholeheartedly into the Inspector Erlendur series.

The following is the order of English translations of this crime series. A few novels have not been translated into English so far.

"Tainted Blood", 2004 (first published as "Jar City")
"Silence of the Grave", 2005
"Voices", 2006
"The Draining Lake", 2007
"Arctic Chill", 2008
"Hypothermia", 2009
"Outrage", 2011 (centring around Erlendur's female colleague, the rational, caring Elinborg)
"Black Skies", 2012 (main character is his other colleague, arrogant, young gun, Sigurour Oli)
"Strange Shores," 2013 (while the action in "Black Skies" centres around Reykjavik, at the same time, Erlendur has taken leave to return to his eastern childhood home)
Reykjavik Nights, 2014, the aforementioned prequel, set in the 70's
"Into Oblivion", 2016  (recently translated, a follow-up to Reykjavik Nights, set in 1979, featuring Erlendur's mentor, Marion Brien)


  1. Love the show reviews Adrian. Too much wonderful television content, too little time. Hope you are well. Cheers, Nat

  2. Thanks, Nat. I am reading "Outrage" (7th in series) now.
    PS Loved "The Night Manager" on TV. Highly recommended.


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