It's really hard to write a review when you've got The Maltese Falcon playing in the background. Such an amazing movie (haven't read the book yet!) that is a grand mixture of lies, murder, deceit, and acting! Icelandic author Arni Thorarinsson's book Season of the Witch is a dazzling combination of those same elements, all wrapped up in the country of Iceland.
The story is thus: Reykjavik crime reporter Einar is assigned a newspaper position in the small town of Akureyri, a job that doesn't seem to promise much. However, after a woman falls to her death during a wilderness trip, things begin to pick up. It seems as though it was an accident until a young male actor is found burned to death in a junk yard. The two murders appear to not be related . . . or are they? Suddenly, Einar and his friend and photographer Joa find themselves in a web of myths, murder, drugs, and greed, not to mention spoiled dogs and birds! The last scene of the book caused me to smile - poor Einar. When you read it, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Season of the Witch is the only book by Thorarinsson that has been translated into English, unless if you speak Icelandic. Maybe I'm late in noticing this, but it seems that there has been a bumper crop of mysteries and thrillers from the Nordic part of the world. And, from what I've read or seen as movies so far, these stories are NOT for the faint of heart (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, anyone?) These mysteries stay long with you after you've turned the last page, albeit with a bitter chill that runs down your spine. As much as I love British mysteries and the "I must have a cup of tea when I read them" feeling, Nordic mysteries are much darker and more sinister. After reading Season of the Witch, I want to either: learn Icelandic so I can read Thorarinsson's other books, travel to Iceland and see this country for myself, or enjoy more Einstok Icelandic White Ale . . . . or hell, do all of it!
EX LIBRIS and SKAL!