From Publishers Weekly
Similar in plot to Swedish author Helene Tursten's The Glass Devil, this first in a new series from Icelandic author Sigurdardottir offers little readers have not seen before. As with Tursten's novel, the spectre of demon-worship is at the heart of the mystery, after the strangled corpse of Harald Guntlieb is discovered with his eyes gouged out. Guntlieb, a German student, was attending graduate school in Iceland, examining the latter country's history of witch-hunting, an academic pursuit that may have taken on more personal overtones. His grieving parents, who had already suffered the loss of a child, enlist attorney and single mother Thóra Gudmundsdôttir to objectively assess the police case against a drug addict arrested for the murder. Aided by an attractive ex-German police officer, Gudmundsdôttir diligently tracks down the dead man's friends and colleagues, before arriving at the truth. The author gives less of a sense of her native land than other contemporary Scandinavian crime writers like Karin Fossum, and the identity of the killer will surprise few.
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'Dark, deep and icy as an Icelandic fjord; this is a rich and rewarding debut novel of ancient mysteries and very modern murder.' -- Mark Billingham 20071207 'Given the dark subject matter, this is a surprisingly funny book... a quirky and interesting read.' -- Guardian 20071222 '..a grisly chiller set in the depths of winter... Her mystery is absorbing and, untypically, instead of the usual gloomy middle-aged man, her sleuth is a young woman... It's an accomplished debut, with credible characters and a personable heroine.' -- Sunday Telegraph 20080106 'a unique talent in the field... an exhilarating experience... [She] matches Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs in the bloodchiller stakes.' -- Waterstone's Books Quarterly 20080129 'very good... This is entertaining, well-plotted and cleverly combines the historical and macabre with Thora's life.' -- Marcel Berlins, The Times 20080120 'an intricately plotted tale that keeps the reader guessing whodunnit, or indeed whether it was murder at all, right until the very end.' -- Sunday Express 20080225 'After its grisly opening, LAST RITUALS turns out to be a surprisingly light and playful novel, with a jaunty translation by the late Bernard Scudder.' -- Daily Telegraph 20080120 'Suspenseful, compelling and unique.' -- Kirkus Reviews 20070801
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