Friday, 14 May 2021

Silenced by Sólveig Pálsdóttir BLOG TOUR @solveigpals @CorylusB #Silenced #Iceland T. @graskeggur


As a police team is called in to investigate a woman’s suicide at the Hólmsheiði prison outside Reykjavík, to detective Guðgeir Fransson it looks like a tragic but straightforward case.

It’s only afterwards that the pieces begin to fall into place and he takes a deeper interest in Kristín Kjarr’s troubled background, and why she had found herself in prison.

His search leads him to a series of brutal crimes committed twenty years before and the unexplained disappearance of the prime suspect, whose wealthy family closed ranks as every effort was made to keep skeletons securely hidden in closets – while the Reykjavík police struggle to deal with a spate of fresh attacks that bear all the hallmarks of a copycat.

Glass Key Award-nominated Icelandic author Sólveig Pálsdóttir is an exciting new voice in Nordic crime fiction.

Silenced by Sólveig Pálsdóttir was published by Corylus Books on 15 April 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour

I am a huge fan of translated fiction, especially Nordic Noir, and especially Icelandic Fiction. Silenced is brilliantly translated by Quentin Bates. He excels in keeping that authentic Icelandic feel to the story, his expertise and own experience of living in Iceland shines through, making this novel something to really savour. 

Guðgeir Fransson has returned to Reykjavík to take charge of the Special Investigations unit. Not only is this a new chapter for him career wise, but he and his wife Inga are moving into a new apartment. Getting their new home ready is taking up all of his spare time. He's already met one of his new neighbours, Andrea Eythórsdóttir, who, when she found out that he was a police officer, began to tell him how the force had let her and her family down so badly. Her brother, Johannes Eythórsson, disappeared twenty years ago. It happened on the day that an earthquake hit Iceland, and Guðgeir vaguely remembers the case, but had no involvement in the investigation.

Guðgeir and his fellow officer Elsa Guðrún are called out to a death at the local prison. It appears that Kristín Kjarr has taken her own life, although the prison warden informs them that she had seemed in good spirits before her death. Kristín was a talented artist and had left many drawings in her cell. On closer inspection, it becomes clear that one man features heavily in the art work. That man is Daði Eythórsdóttir; the brother of Guðgeir's neighbour and the disappeared Johannes.

As the investigations proceed, it becomes clear that Johannes had many allegations against him. Kristín had accused him of rape, although the allegations were strongly denied by the wealthy and influential Eythórsdóttir family. 

When a rape is reported, and then another, and then another that is far more personal to the police team, suspicions about Daði Eythórsdóttir are roused. Could he be following in his brother's footsteps, and why is Andrea suddenly so loathe to speak out? Has someone got to her? What does she have to hide? Who is silencing her?

This is complex and very cleverly written crime story with a strong message within it. By including events from the past, and the present, the author seamlessly shows how powerful men can silence women, and it's frightening and dark and distressing at times. All of the characters are so perfectly formed, with their flaws and their foibles exposed to all. I was totally invested in this story, and had no idea where we would end up. I was so impressed by how the story twisted around, to show so many sides and uncover truths. 

Absolutely compelling reading. This author is one to watch, and the translation is so brilliantly done too. Highly recommended by me.

Sólveig Pálsdóttir trained as an actor and has a background in the theatre, television and radio.
In a second career she studied for degrees in literature and education, and has taught literature and linguistics, drama and public speaking, and has produced both radio programming and managed cultural events.Her first novel appeared in Iceland in 2012 and went straight to the country’s bestseller list. She has written five novels featuring Reykjavík detective Guðgeir Fransson and a memoir, Klettaborgin, which was a 2020 hit in Iceland.Silenced (Fjötrar) received the 2020 Drop of Blood award for the best Icelandic novel of the year and is Iceland’s nomination for the 2021 Glass key award for the best Nordic crime novel of the year. Sólveig lives in Reykjavík.

Twitter @solveigpals

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