Monday, February 16, 2015

Hypothermia (Inspector Erlendur #8)Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Before I started writing reviews for Goodreads, I had read six books by the Icelandic crime author, Arnaldur Indriðason. Of those six, I would rate "The Draining Lake" very highly, likely with four stars, and "Silence of the Grave" would get a strong, almost four-star rating. Unfortunately, in my view, "Hypothermia" is not a novel of that caliber; it is possible that had I not had a bout of insomnia, I would not have finished it.

The novel weaves three main threads: a woman, who in her youth experienced the death of her father, and later of her mother to whom she was extremely close, hangs herself. Despite the evidence being consistent with suicide, her friends cannot believe that she could have done it. The police drop the case, and Erlendur, who is not quite convinced that the official version is correct, embarks on a private investigation. He simultaneously works on two old cases - disappearances of young people almost 30 years ago. The third main thread concerns Erlendur's personal life, his relationships with his daughter, son, and ex-wife, and the still felt effects of the drama from his childhood. Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, his usual crime-solving partners, are just barely mentioned in this installment of the series.

I find the writing sloppy, and the phrasing often awkward. It might be the translator's fault - the publisher used a different translator than for the two books I mentioned earlier. But I think that most of my dislike for the novel stems from the themes of afterlife, near-death experiences, seances, having visions of dead people, etc., which dominate the novel. To me, these are some of the most boring themes in literature.

Two stars.

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