Posted: February 9, 2012 in Iceland, review

Runolfur, a young IT engineer, is found dead in his Reykjavik flat, his throat has been slashed with a razor. He is wearing a woman’s T- shirt and has in his pocket a quantity of Rohypnol, known as a date rape drug. The police find  a woman’s shawl in the flat that has a faint smell of Indian tandoori spices.

In a different approach to the rest of the series, Erlendur gets only the briefest of mentions, and his colleague from the previous books Elinborg, a married woman with children, is the lead investigator. Elinborg carries out a painstaking systematic investigation following up every lead even when the eyewitness seems to have major psychological problems. Along the way we learn a lot about Elinborg’s past life her problems with her  teenage children, her previous relationship, and her early life. Elinborg is a good person as she and her husband Teddi, a motor mechanic, have tried to provide a home for Birkir, Teddi’s sister’s son after she died of cancer. This has caused friction and Birkir has gone off to live with his natural father in Sweden. Now their own children, Valthor, Aron and Theodora are proving difficult.

Elinborg was worn out after a long day. She knew Valthor was a good boy at heart. Over the years they had been close, but as a teenager he had entered a rebellious phase of ferocious independence whose hostility seemed to be directed mainly against her.

The challenge of balancing a career and a family is one theme in the novel, and with the main narrative concerning the search for the possible rape victim brought home by Runolfur it seems appropriate that Elinborg, a woman, is tackling this investigation. In the manner of a classic police procedural she relentlessly follows up leads, some to dead ends, some more relevant to the solution. She flies to a remote village where the locals are wary of and tight lipped with strangers. It is inevitable that some of the male characters in this story are fairly unpleasant, especially Runolfur’s creepy friend Edvard, and this adds greatly to the atmosphere of suspicion. The solution may be fairly straightforward, but the question of whether justice has been done will remain with the reader.

‘Do you think she’s the one that attacked him?’

“That’s a possibilty.’

‘Good for her,’said Unnur through clenched teeth. ‘Good for her killing him! Good for her, killing that pig!’

Elinborg glanced at Solrun. She thought the young woman seemed to be on the road to recovery already.

Outrage, the seventh book to be published in English, is an easy read and that is a tribute to translator Anna Yeates, who has taken over from the late Bernard Scudder and Victoria Cribb. The next book in the series Black Skies has Victoria Cribb back as translator, and I believe the third member of the team Sigurdur Oli as the main character.

Arnaldur Indridason is one of those authors whose next novel  I will always want to read, because even though they are thought provoking in a rather dark manner the characters are so well drawn that one wants to  follow their progress through life. I wish to thank Maxine of Petrona and Karen of Euro Crime for my copy of Outrage.  

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – An excellent review – thanks. Like you, I always look forward to the next Arnaldur book, and I’m glad you liked this one as much as you did. He’s one of those authors who rarely disappoints, and it’s good to hear that once again he’s done a fine job.
    I’m also glad you mentioned Anna Yeates’ translation. I think too often it’s easy to forget the powerful effect of the translation on work that’s originally written in another language. This one was already on my TBR and coming up soon, so thanks for reminding me of it.

  2. Maxine says:

    Great review, Norman. I completely forgot I sent you this, but I am sure I got my copy from Karen Meek so thanks are due to her, really. I loved the combination of detective/domestic, I think he got it just right here.

  3. Norman says:

    ThanKs Margot. I don’t think there has been a weak book in this series.

    Thanks Maxine I have now thanked Karen as well. 🙂 Once again the International Dagger are going to have a difficult choice to make.

  4. Oh no, I was hopiong we’d go back to Erlendur for the next book. I was looking forward to reading all about his trip to the east…

  5. kathy d. says:

    This was a very good book, which as you point out, deals with an investigation and the main character’s family life. Elinborg is a great character. I wish that Arnaldur Indridason, who never disappoints, would focus on her again, but this probably won’t happen.
    One thing that stood out to me is that here a male writer wrote well about a woman protagonist, and also was able to write well about a crime that is one that women face. He did an excellent and sensitive job here.
    Not only did I stay up all night to read this, but a friend — who rarely does this — did the same thing. She has a very critical eye about how women are portrayed and she had only praise for this book.
    If I had my way, Indridason would win the Dagger award — and should have with Hypothermia, a book I enjoyed and shared with many other readers.

  6. KerrieS says:

    I very much enjoyed this one, although it isn’t my highest rating Indridason. I think that JAR CITY might hold that spot.

  7. Can’t wait to see the world through Elinborg’s eyes! Not that I don’t like Erlendur, just interested to see what Arnaldur does with this premise. Thanks for the review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s