cover image Black Skies: 
An Inspector Erlendur Novel

Black Skies: An Inspector Erlendur Novel

Arnaldur Indridason, trans. from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb. Minotaur, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-00039-2

Insp. Sigurdur Óli takes center stage in Indridason’s solid eighth Inspector Erlendur novel (after 2012’s Outrage), providing all the Nordic bleakness and moral ambiguity of Reykjavik police colleague Erlendur Sveinsson, with a trace of stolid conservatism added to sour the mix. Sigurdur Óli’s great talent is to doggedly follow a trail, even at the expense of the relationships in his life and his own ethics. When someone fatally bludgeons Lína Thorgrímsdóttir with a baseball bat in her apartment, Lína, like most Indridason victims, turns out to be far from innocent; she has tried to blackmail friends of Sigurdur Óli with photos of group sex. Meanwhile, a Reykjavik bum with a shattered and nearly incoherent personality tries to tell the inspector about a terrible crime. Indridason may be guilty of gratuitous characterization in a search for nuance, but the pathos is often moving, and Sigurdur Óli proves a worthy detective, if not so great a human being. (Sept.)