Book Review: Oblivion – Arnaldur Indridason *****

UK Publishing Date: 9 Jul 2015. 354 pages.

Oblivion is the second English translated book in the young Erlendur series by Arnaldur Indridason. Set about five years after Reykjavik Nights our detective is now divorced and estranged from his young family. His desire to investigate missing people is growing as the years have gone by. He is still obsessed by the disappearance of Dagbjört, a schoolgirl who had vanished on her way to school over thirty years ago.

As much as I loved the original series of Reykjavik Murder Mysteries I think I’m enjoying the young Erlendur and his mentor Marion Briem even more. The social history that is explored in these stories is just fantastic, from the slums of Camp Knox to the US occupation and the naval base, NASKEF, out at Keflavik. Iceland in 1979 is still recovering from the memories of the acute poverty and degradation suffered by people moving from the countryside into Reykjavik who lived in the tin Nissan huts that had been vacated by the occupying army. It had been a place of violence and despair, where children suffered from the appalling conditions they were being brought up in. Where people who lived in the camp, could be identified by the stench that permanently clung to their clothes.

A young woman visits the thermal pools out in the lava fields near Keflavik. After she has soaked in the silica rich warm water she sees a boot floating on the surface of the water. Thinking that litter louts have dumped it in there she reaches out to remove it and soon realises that it is attached to a body. Erlendur’s investigation discovers that the victim was a civilian mechanic working at the airport on the naval base. There is little love lost between the Icelandic authorities and the US base so the investigation becomes a complex battle between the two sides.

The search for the truth behind the mechanic Kristvin’s murder is interwoven with Erlendur’s ongoing search for the real story behind the missing Dagbjört, unable to accept that she might have committed suicide.

These stories are Nordic Noir at their very best and beautifully translated by Victoria Cribb. Hopefully there will be more to come.

You can get a copy of the book here:
Oblivion (Reykjavik Murder Mysteries 11)

Supplied by Net Galley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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