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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Given the dark subject matter, this is a surprisingly funny book... a quirky and interesting read. Guardian ..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 a unique talent in the field... an exhilarating experience... [She] matches Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs in the bloodchiller stakes. Waterstone's Books Quarterly very good... This is entertaining, well-plotted and cleverly combines the historical and macabre with Thora's life. Marcel Berlins, The Times 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 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 Suspenseful, compelling and unique. Kirkus Reviews 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
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