Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Published by: Willian Morrow on October 2, 2007
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Crime, Scandinavian
Source: Borrowed from the library
Summary (from Goodreads): At a university in Reykjavík, the body of a young German student is discovered, his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest. Police waste no time in making an arrest, but the victim’s family isn’t convinced that the right man is in custody. They ask Thóra Guðmundsdóttir, an attorney and single mother of two, to investigate. It isn’t long before Thóra and her associate, Matthew Reich, uncover the deceased student’s obsession with Iceland’s grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts. But there are very contemporary horrors hidden in the long, cold shadow of dark traditions. And for two suddenly endangered investigators, nothing is quite what it seems … and no one can be trusted.
Review: I was really excited when I came across an Icelandic author who had written a mystery/crime novel set in Iceland. Ever since traveling to the country a few years ago the country holds a piece of my heart. It was nice to be familiar with the setting and hearing the Icelandic names.
The beginning of this novel really sucks you in. Unfortunately, it begins to drag and some of the scenes are unnecessarily dull. If I was reading a physical copy of this book I would have put it down but having the audiobook allowed me to “tune out” a bit. The subject matter of the story is actually quite interesting with a crime surrounding witchcraft and the like. However, there was no suspense and it was pretty easy to figure out what was happening. When you finally find out “whodunnit” it’s not too shocking.
The main character, Thóra, wasn’t the best. She was always mentioning the fact that she’s divorced, her feelings of her appearance and others appearances, how “tough” she was, etc. It made her seem phony to me. Her home life also didn’t necessarily add to her character or the story at all. I found that the romance that develops was a bit unnecessary as well.
What I really enjoyed was hearing about Iceland’s history with witchcraft.I like when books give you little facts. I like being able to take away information like that.
Overall, not a bad book. I just wouldn’t consider this a great “crime” novel. If anyone has any Icelandic recommendations for me please let me know!