Silenced by Sólveig Pálsdóttir is book two in the Ice and Crime series. Published with Corylus Books, Silenced won the 2020 Drop of Blood Award for the best Icelandic crime novel of the year, and is Iceland’s nomination for the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel of 2021. Translated by Quentin Bates, Silenced has been described as ‘compelling reading’ by Lilja Sigurðardóttir.
I haven’t read The Fox, Book 1 in this crime fiction series by Solveig Pálsdóttir, so I really went in not knowing what to expect. What I can tell you is that it opens on a shocker. A social media influencer is sent a video of the apparent suicide of a young woman, Kristín Kjarr, from her prison cell. The scene is shocking and Andrea Eythorsdottir throws her phone away in horror. Why is she being sent this terrifying video clip?
Detective Guðgeir Fransson is currently moving house into a new apartment complex with his wife. He is feeling the stresses of these very pressure-filled days but his life is about to get a lot more busy. Called to Hólmsheiði Prison, he examines the cell of Kristín Kjarr, following the discovery of her body by a prison officer. Kristín is an artist whose life was dotted with traumatic events. With no suicide note or obvious reason to anyone, she made the decision to take her own life. But Fransson is suspicious from the beginning. His instinct tells him there is a lot more to this story and as he starts to unravel this tightly wound web, he crosses paths with the very strange and dysfunctional Eythorsdottir family.
The tentacles of this case reach far and wide leaving very little trace of a clue and with his team working hard, Fransson is feeling very frustrated. But suddenly things get very, very personal. Fransson is angry, Fransson is upset. The time has come to put the pressure on but Fransson and his team are very unprepared for the nest of vipers they are about to uncover.
Silenced is an excellent title for this novel. Being silenced is a terrible infringement on anyone’s life and there are individuals in this novel who thrive on such heinous behaviour. The crimes committed in this book are brutal and unforgiving. The callousness and pure horror of the scenes find a home in the mind of the reader as the pure revulsion for the depraved acts enacted take root. The book ends in quite an unusual manner, almost controversial I would think. Certainly not what I was expecting and It left me asking questions. Definitely a great talking point for a book-club!
Silenced is another addition to the fabulous Nordic Crime fiction genre, adding to the multitude of translated work that is now available. Up to a few years ago my knowledge of translated work was extremely limited. Being part of the blogging community has expanded my literary journey and I am so very grateful for the opportunities given to read such works.
Silenced is at times an uncomfortable read with themes of abuse and violence running through the story but Sólveig Pálsdóttir handles it very well without unnecessarily embellishing scenes. Silenced is an intriguing tale, set within an Icelandic community, and introduces us to some wonderfully flawed characters and a very likable and engaging main protagonist.
(c) Swirl and Thread
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