The Darkness Knows
Arnoldur Indridason, trans. from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb. Minotaur, $27.
At the start of Indridason’s superb sequel to 2017’s The Shadow District, a melting glacier reveals the body of Reykjavík businessman Sigurvin, who has been missing for 30 years. The discovery comes as a shock to retired detective Konrád, who worked on the case back then, and leads to the rearrest and imprisonment of Hjaltalín, a disgruntled associate of Sigurvin’s, who was arrested after Sigurvin vanished and released due to lack of evidence. Now dying, Hjaltalín insists that Konrád, who was never convinced of Hjaltalín’s guilt, find the real killer by striking at Konrád’s Achilles’ heel, his vicious sham-medium father, “a bit of a devil.” Konrád, who suspects he has inherited his father’s evil nature, fears he can’t restrain himself from violently attacking the criminals he pursues. Konrád painstakingly unravels a tangled skein of old betrayals and deceit in a city, Reykjavík, where he increasingly feels like a tourist, uncovering layer after layer of culpability. As in the old Icelandic sagas, the author strips bare such archetypal human concerns as revenge, honor, and family loyalty. Konrád, who still misses his beloved wife six years after she died of cancer, is an irresistible lead. Indridason is writing at the top of his game. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2021