The small community of Akranes is devastated when a young man dies in a mysterious house fire, and when Detective Elma and her colleagues from West Iceland CID discover the fire was arson, they become embroiled in an increasingly perplexing case involving multiple suspects. What’s more, the dead man’s final online search raises fears that they could be investigating not one murder, but two.
A few months before the fire, a young Dutch woman takes a job as an au pair in Iceland, desperate to make a new life for herself after the death of her father. But the seemingly perfect family who employs her turns out to have problems of its own and she soon discovers she is running out of people to turn to.
As the police begin to home in on the truth, Elma, already struggling to come to terms with a life-changing event, finds herself in mortal danger as it becomes clear that someone has secrets they’ll do anything to hide…
Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.
Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel, The Creak on the Stairs. The book went on to win the CWA Debut Dagger, the Blackbird Award, was shortlisted (twice) for the Capital Crime Readers’ Awards, and became a number one bestseller in Iceland. The critically acclaimed Girls Who Lie (book two in the Forbidden Iceland series) soon followed, with Night Shadows (book three) following suit in July 2022. Eva lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík.
My thoughts: so we return to the unluckiest town in Iceland where a teenage boy’s body is found locked in his house after a fire. Was it arson? And why would anyone want to kill him?
It’s up to Elma to find out, and when she finds a missing young au pair might be linked to the dead boy, she breaks open the secrets of his friends and their families. Someone here knows a lot more than they’re willing to share.
It’s actually quite sad as all these young lives are shattered, two dead teenagers, families devastated, and more young people implicated in a horrid plot to cover up an accident that becomes a crime.
Elma is a sympathetic figure, she wants the truth and is also dealing with her own personal issues. She doesn’t open up much, even to her family – her sister seems a much bigger personality, but it keeps the suspects from guessing what she’s thinking. She puts herself in harms way, refusing to accept the explanation she’s been given – it doesn’t quite fit.
Clever, suspenseful and with at least one disturbed mind at play here, this is very enjoyable crime writing.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.