cover image The Shadow Killer

The Shadow Killer

Anrnaldur Indridason, trans. from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb. Minotaur, $26

At the start of Indridason’s well-crafted second thriller set in Reykjavík during WWII (after 2017’s The Shadow District), Eyvindur, a hapless traveling salesman, comes home from a trip to find that his partner, Vera, has left with all her clothes—then disappears himself. Meanwhile, Flóvent, a local policeman, examines the body of Felix Lunden, another salesman, shot by a bullet from an American military pistol, his forehead daubed with a bloody swastika. Lunden’s ethnicity may be important: he was the son of a Danish-German doctor living in Iceland, an important country to the Germans as a “home to some kind of pure Nordic, Germanic race.” That Lunden’s briefcase contains a spy’s cyanide capsule adds intrigue. The investigation takes Flóvent and his English-speaking partner, Thorson, who works with American MPs, into the heart of a Reykjavík overrun by U.S. soldiers, the sordid German obsession with eugenics, and the two salesmen’s lives. The plot may be a bit too ambitious, but Indridason does a fine job evoking the place and time. (May)