Den kalla elden by Arnaldur Indridason

Indridason, a writer of Scandinavian Crime Fiction, is from Iceland, and he wrote this book (in direct translation: The Cold Fire) in 2010. Although the book has been translated to Swedish, I have not yet found any reference to an English translation (although many of Indridason's earlier books have already been translated). When the book is finally translated to English, it could well be given a completely different name.

This is a tale of loss, revenge and murder set against the very prominent harshness of an Icelandic winter. I felt that Indridason managed to sustain a certain air of suspense throughout the book, with the reader knowing vaguely what may have happened but not exactly why or how. However, that said, I also felt that much of the story was built on a mixture of co-incidence and the, at times, extremely strange actions of the main character, Erlendur, which, in any normal situation, would have been considered bizarrely outside the law.

Although descriptions of the harsh landscape and even the characters themselves are well-rounded, giving a good background to the story, Erlendur's obsessive concentration on things that have absolutely nothing to do with him is, at times, quite disturbing. The ending, though vaguely hinted at in the beginning of the book, is, I felt, slightly out of sync with the book as a whole. Easy to read. Something to fill the gap between more challenging books.

 Photo of Indridason from