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Jar city : a Reykjavik thriller
Arnaldur Indridason
Adult Fiction ARNALDU

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When a lone septuagenarian is murdered in his apartment in the Nordurmari district of Reykjavik, detective inspector Erlendur Sveinsson is called in, along with partner Sigurdur Oli and female colleague Elinborg. Everyone is related to everyone else in Iceland and refer to one another by first name, even formally. Erlendur is about 50, long divorced, with two kids in varying degrees of drug addiction. The victim, a man called Holberg, turns out to have been a nasty piece of work, and Erlendur is disgusted by the series of rapes Holberg apparently committed. The rapes and the deaths of a number of young women may be connected, and the search brings Erlendur to the forensic lab, whose old "jar city," since disbanded, held research organs. Meanwhile, Erlendur's daughter, Eva Lind, is pregnant and still using; she flits in and out of his life angrily, but may be crying out for help. Reykjavik's physicality, and the fact that crimes are relatively rare in Iceland, gives things a defamiliarizing cast. The writing, plot and resolution are nicely done, but remain fully within genre boundaries. (Oct. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Starred Review. Soon after 69-year-old Holberg is found murdered in his Reykjavík basement flat with a cryptic note on his body, his status as an innocent victim shifts. It is revealed that the old man had committed unrecorded rapes some 40 years earlier, at least one of which resulted in the birth of a child. Detective Inspector Erlendur's case starts off with a photograph of a child's grave and eventually involves tracking down rape victims, hunting for a missing brain in Jar City (the teaching hospital room in which organs are stored), and looking into genetic diseases. Dogged and intuitive at work, Erlendur otherwise seems a somewhat scruffy everyman--the result of having gone through a messy divorce and having had little contact with his two grown children. But then his daughter, now a pregnant and debt-ridden drug addict, turns up at his door. Icelandic thriller writer Indridason's American debut captures the reader's attention with its direct prose and depiction of a distinctive culture. This moody, atmospheric police procedural won the 2002 Nordic Crime Novel Award, and its sequel is forthcoming. Fan of mystery in general and Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum can only exult.--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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main characters Erlendur Sveinsson
Age: 50
Daughter is a drug addict and pregnant; investigating the murder of a lonely old man who was accused, but not convicted, of an unsolved rape many years ago; reopens the cold case.
Detective inspector

Sigurdur Oli
Erlendur's partner.
Detective inspector

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