From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. At the start of Indridason's powerful sixth Reykjavík thriller (after Arctic Chill), the body of María, a woman ravaged by guilt, is found hanging in her holiday cottage, an apparent suicide. As Erlendur, a police detective who works largely alone because he prizes solitude above all else, doggedly interviews those close to María--her husband, her relatives, her friends--in an unofficial effort to understand what might have driven her to take her own life, he unravels an ingenious and sinister plot. Complicating his investigation are the ghosts from his personal and professional past: his failed marriage and his shaky relationships with the son and daughter who grew up without him, as well as unsolved missing-persons cases he still feels morally compelled to pursue. Most scalding of all is his memory of the blizzard that he barely survived as a boy but in which his younger brother perished, the tragic event that shaped Erlendur's later life and lends mythic resonance to Indridason's remarkable novels.
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*Starred Review* Indridason, Iceland’s most widely read novelist, once told an interviewer that “crime fiction is about so much more than just crime.” In his latest mystery, as if to prove his point, Indridason has his series hero, Reykjavik police detective Erlendur, investigate what appears to be the suicide of a young woman. There is no evidence of foul play, and there are numerous indications that the woman suffered from depression due to the death of her mother and the drowning of her father when she was a child. At the same time, Erlendur is trying to solve two cold cases, the disappearances of two young people three decades earlier. For Erlendur, all three investigations resonate like Proust’s madaleines, compelling him to continue. Hypothermia is defiantly unconventional crime fiction. No shoot-outs, no car chases, no monstrous villains; only tragedies and the pain they inflict on ordinary people—like Erlendur. As he interviews a lengthy succession of people who might shed light on the suicide and the disappearances, the gloomy Icelandic cop continues to wrestle with the tragedies in his own life: his eight-year-old brother’s disappearance in a blizzard and the impact of his disastrous marriage on his children. Some crime fans might be puzzled by this novel’s dearth of action, but it is psychologically astute, beautifully told, and filled with insight into matters of life and death. --Thomas Gaughan
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