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Sun On Fire [Kindle Edition]

Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson , Andrew Cauthery , Björg Árnadóttir
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When the gutted body of a businessman is discovered in the Icelandic embassy in Berlin, Iceland’s best detectives are sent to Germany to investigate the crime. The stab wounds and the murder weapon—an elegant hunting knife—suggest a ritualistic killing. But the only suspects present in the sleek modern office building were some of the island nation’s cultural elite, including Jón the Sun Poet and ceramics artist Lúdvík Bjarnason. The victim is someone few would miss, and investigators Birkir and Gunnar, joined by forensics expert Anna Thórdardóttir, wager they have an open-and-shut case on their hands. What they find is anything but: The crime reeks of premeditation and vengeance, and leads the team into a sordid tale of international child abuse, arson, and retribution.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson is the author of several books, including Daybreak, which was the basis for the 2008 Icelandic television series Hunting Men. In 2001, his third novel, House of Evidence, was nominated for the Glass Key Award, given by the Crime Writers Association of Scandinavia; his novel The Flatey Enigma was nominated for the same prize in 2004. His numerous short stories have appeared in magazines and collections.

Icelandic native Björg Árnadóttir has lived most of her life in England; her British husband, Andrew Cauthery, is fluent in Icelandic. They have worked together for many years, translating both English texts into Icelandic and Icelandic texts into English. They have worked on a wide variety of manuscripts, including books on Icelandic nature and technical topics, as well as literature. This is their third translation of Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson’s work, following House of Evidence and Daybreak.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6110 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477823123
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish; Tra edition (June 17, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,529 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not every Nordic detective can be Wallander June 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mysteries from the cold countries will keep showing up on my Kindle, probably, but not all of them are readable. Viktor Ingolfsson's novel Sun on Fire is slow-moving and his fictional murders are violent and bloody without being interesting. A small team of Icelandic detectives is sent to the Nordic embassy complex in Berlin to investigate the murder of an Icelandic national, but we learn more about the architecture of these buildings than we do about the team. The detectives don't seem to be friends or know anything about one another beyond their quirks -- Birkir runs, Anna smokes, Gunnar eats.

Forensic knowledge is used here in an unsophisticated way. Information is delayed in order to artificially create some tension in the novel. For example, to close out a chapter with a clue not yet revealed, the author has Anna, the forensic specialist, tell Birkir to go home and get some sleep; the slip of paper with faint, shadowy markings (the most vital clue in the novel) can wait. That night Anna takes out a magnifying glass and peers at the piece of paper. The next morning she examines the paper in different lights. Then we find out she really does know how to operate an electrostatic whatsit and, lo and behold, she's able to discern writing from the previous impression on the paper.

I would also prefer some action scenes. The motives of the murderers are revealed through a series of transcripts -- pages and pages of third person narrative dealing with the distant past. The events themselves have dramatic potential if told in real time with dialogue and action. But I think the real problem may lie with style. The translation is flat and turgid. I'm giving a writer who was nominated for Scandinavia's Glass Key award the benefit of the doubt by assuming that the English translation does not capture the vigor of the original Icelandic. Or it may be that the Scandinavians' taste in police procedurals just simply differs dramatically from my own.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to visit Iceland!! June 30, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed all three of his detective stories very much. These stories expose you to a culture and pace of life that we are not familiar with. This is why I also enjoy Janwillen van de Wetering's Dutch detectives. The two detectives in these stores are very different from each other but very human. They are not perfect but it is great watching them piece these puzzles together until they discover who the killer is and why the murder was committed based on past events which at first seen unrelated but they manage to tie together. The translator of these books did an excellent job with them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was an interesting murder mystery set mostly in Iceland. I had never read this author before, but chose the book to read on my recent cruise of Iceland. For that reason, it was even more interesting because I was visiting places that were mentioned in the book that would otherwise have been Greek to me while reading it. I did not find the book an exciting, cannot wait to turn the page and see what comes next kind of book. It was interesting, though, because you are walked through the ploys of the detectives involved in trying to solve two murders, and the detectives themselves are unusual characters - not the usual hero protagonists one comes across in mysteries. I think it is worth the read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trouble at the Icelandic Embassy August 3, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The action starts at the Icelandic Embassy in Berlin. The Ambassador has an impromptu party with artistic visitors from Iceland, and one of them ends up murdered. The other guests are both witnesses and suspects, which presents the investigators with a complex case.

Two detectives are flown into Berlin from Iceland to coordinate with the local police. I really liked this team from previous book by Ingolfsson, and they charmed me even more in this book. Gunnar has travel phobia and gets almost comically sick from the trip. On top of that he picks up other injuries as the investigation progresses. But his brain remains sharp fueled by gargantuan snacking.

Birkir, his partner, is the exact opposite of the gluttonous, disheveled Gunnar. A long distance runner, Bikir keeps fit and eats sparingly. Essentially neat and organized, he presses his pants and irons his shirts when he needs to think. He's also Asian descent, which makes him a bit exotic.

The Icelandic names are a challenge to keep track of, but the plot, though intricate, is easy enough to follow. The characters include a group of artsy Icelanders who share a hippy history, which is fun. The look inside diplomatic circles is also intriguing.

I enjoyed Sun on Fire very much and recommend the whole series to readers who enjoy quirky detective duos.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quirky Icelandic detectives and an intriguing mystery August 22, 2014
Viktor Ingolfsson has written many short stories and three standalone mysteries which are quite well written, so I looked forward to this novel. In this book detective partners Gunnar and Birkir are sent to Germany when a businessman is found murdered in the Iceland embassy in Berlin. Birkir was born in Vietnam but raised by foster parents in Iceland; Gunnar is a big, loud guy who is nevertheless a good detective, and personable. This odd couple work well together and I hope this is the beginning of a series.

There are several good twists and turns, and the mystery comes to a satisfactory conclusion. The characters are interesting. I disagree with reviewers who complain about these characters not being developed. I think we learn about them as the story progresses, and about their relationships. I liked that Gunnar is obnoxious but is still good at his job, and it is nice to see an immigrant portrayed as a good guy. Many Scandinavian books depict non-natives as either victims or criminals in their adoptive countries, but only a few portray them as integrated and contributing to their new home.

I enjoyed this novel and recommend it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars meh!
Good beginning, story well developed, but weak ending
Published 14 days ago by Gil Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very enjoyable and quirky murder mystery.
Published 21 days ago by B_man
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to go to Iceland!
Very good book! I have always thought that a good book, besides entertaining you, when it is a fiction novel, it's a one that teaches you something, like this one about the culture... Read more
Published 28 days ago by cityrat
4.0 out of 5 stars Paying for an old crime.
Very fast moving story. The characters were largely complex and believable. The plot is slightly shop-worn (Agatha Christie, etc) but there are so many twists that the story is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bruce G. Langhus
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and very fine.
This was a very interesting book. It was written by an Icelander in Icelandic language. I mention this (1) because the story set mainly in Iceland made it more interesting... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joan Reeder
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Enjoyable. . .
This book was filled with many many details which I found boring and Magnus was not in most of it. Not bad but didn't meet my expectations of this author.
Published 1 month ago by Judy Steelman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I like this author. Iceland is an interesting setting.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Icelandic mystery
This was a good story. A who-done- it but somehow different and the same as American crime. It flows nicely.
Published 1 month ago by Synzeeza
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very smooth and easy reading
Published 2 months ago by Har
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Unfinishable, prolonged agony
Published 3 months ago by Cheryl A. K
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More About the Author

Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson was born in Akureyri in the north of Iceland on April 12, 1955. He finished his in civil engineering from The Icelandic College of Engineering and Technology (ICET), in 1983. He has taken courses in script writing run by the Icelandic Film Producers and at the Institute for Continuing Education at the University of Iceland. In 1990 and again in 1995 Ingolfsson attended classes in Public Relations at the George Washington University in Washington DC. Ingolfsson started working for the Icelandic Road Administration during his summer vacations from school 1969, and has worked there full time since 1983. Since 1985 he has supervised the institution's publications and contributed to Public Relations.

Viktor Arnar has published six mysteries, the fifth of which, "Daybreak" in 2005, was the basis for the Icelandic TV series "Hunting Men," which premiered in 2008. His short stories have appeared in magazines and collections. His third novel, "Engin Spor" ("House of Evidence"), was nominated for the Glass Key prize, an award given by the Crime Writers Association of Scandinavia, in 2001, and "Flateyjargáta" ("The Flatey Enigma") was nominated for the same prize in 2004.

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