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The Draining Lake [Mass Market Paperback]

Arnaldur Indridason
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 2 2008 Reykjavik Thriller
A brilliant new mystery from the winner of the CWA Gold Dagger and Indridason's best book yet.

In the wake of an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake drops suddenly, revealing the skeleton of a man half-buried in its sandy bed. It is clear immediately that it has been there for many years. There is a large hole in the skull. Yet more mysteriously, a heavy communication device is attached to it, possibly some sort of radio transmitter, bearing inscriptions in Russian.                                                                    

The police are called in and Erlendur, Elinborg and Sigurdur Olii begin their investigation, which gradually leads them back to the time of the Cold War when bright, left-wing students would be sent from Iceland to study in the 'heavenly state' of Communist East Germany.

The Draining Lake is another remarkable Indridason mystery about passions and shattered dreams, the fate of the missing and the grief of those left behind.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Gold Dagger Award–winner Indridason's carefully plotted fourth entry in his crime series starring detective Erlendur Sveinsson (Jar City, etc.), a human skeleton surfaces in the bed of a lake near Reykjavik that's been mysteriously draining away. The bones are tied to some kind of Russian listening device, presumably a remnant of the Cold War. As Erlendur and his colleagues, Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, go about checking on people who went missing around 1970, Erlendur is reminded of the disappearance of his younger brother when they were children. Erlendur's lifelong obsession with the missing provides a haunting metaphor for this lonely, middle-aged man, divorced and alienated from his own two children. Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, on the other hand, aren't particularly persuasive characters, but flashbacks to the University of Leipzig during the Cold War provide compelling insights into the splintered politics of the day, as well as the Icelandic students studying there at the time. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Indridason pieces together a convincing plot, while exploring universal issues of political idealism and shattered dreams."
--Daily Mirror

"A beautiful, sad, haunting tale of lost love and lost illusion, regret and betrayal."
--The Times

"An absorbing story which confirms Indridason's place among the leading writers of Nordic crime fiction."
-- Sunday Telegraph

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Thriller Jan. 2 2009
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The is a gripping and haunting story taking place in present day Iceland and partly in East Germany during the Cold War era.

The tale begins when waters of Lake Kleifarvatn mysteriously recede revealing a 30 year old skeleton weighted down by Russian listening equipment. Police inspector Erlendur and his team, detectives Elinborg and Oli reopen the Missing Persons files and the investigation leads them to the University of Leipzip and the long-buried history of Icelandic espionage, Communist party recruitment and murder.

The case provides the reader with a deep look at Erlendur a deeply private man haunted by memories of his younger brother who vanished when they were children and of his two estranged children. We have with this story a fascinating glimpse of the academic politics during the Cold War with a denouement as unsuspected as it is tragic. The author once again has written an astonishing thriller.
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In prose that is as cold as the windswept terrain of outer Reykjavik, Detective Inspector Erlendur and his colleagues Sigurdur Óli and Elínborg follow the discovery of a skeleton after the waters of Lake Kleifarvatin evaporate after an earthquake. Initially discovered by the a hydrologist working for the Energy Authority, the skull has a hole in it. Even as the forensics team unearth the skeleton, Erlendur and Elinborg see there is not even a single piece of flesh or scrap of clothing left on it. Only a bulky black metal box, tied by a rope to the bones and what appeared to be broken instruments with black dials and black buttons are visible. According to forensics it appears to be an old Soviet transmitter.

The case requires Erlendur's immediate attention even as he fights his own demons, snapping abruptly into flashbacks - his past as a young investigator, his lack of communication with his son and his loss how to deal with his junkie daughter, along with the memories of his dead brother, lost on an wintry expedition. Looming large in the investigation is his old colleague, Marion Briem, who is almost near death, forced to inhale oxygen after a lifetime of smoking. Erlendur, Elinborg and Sigurdur get right down to business, the case getting little complicated when it is revealed that the skeleton may belong to a spy, perhaps an East German diplomat who disappeared back in 1969.

The trio interview an middle-aged woman who once stood outside a dairy shop where she worked waiting for her boyfriend, called Leopold. suddenly he vanished. Apparently, the man was in Iceland selling East German farm machinery and diggers and owned a black Ford falcon. The most likely explanation unfortunately was that for some reason he killed himself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review June 20 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
No problems with this order, It was down load to my phone right away, I also like the conformation by email, I would recommend this to my friends.

Thank You
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5.0 out of 5 stars "The draining Lake" Jan. 31 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just like the Author's slow and methodical approach. His crime stories are unusual in that he shows the Hero, Dective Erlendur, in a unsentimental approach in solving a crime and yet with extraordinary empathy with human suffering.

I have collected all of his books and await with suspense his next novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Draining Lake Oct. 9 2011
By Bebica
I have managed to read almost all of the Arnaldur Indridason books and found this one to be okay. I just couldn't get into it like the rest. Don't get me wrong, it was readable but not my favourite.
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