Customer Reviews for

Last Rituals (Thóra Gudmundsdóttir Series #1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 14 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a terrific investigate thriller.

    In Reykjavik, Iceland, the police arrest a drug dealer for murdering and mutilating German college student Harald Guntlieb. However, the victim¿s affluent parents do not believe the police caught the right person they cannot comprehend why a drug dealer would asphyxiate a victim rather than just shoot him, not carve out their son¿s eyes nor carve ritual symbols on his chest. They assume their offspring was killed in a witchcraft homicide.---------------- Still seeking closure, the parents send trusted family friend Matthew Reich, a former CID agent, to Iceland to investigate. He knows even before he leaves the continent that he will require local assistance so through Harold¿s grieving mom Amelia, Matthew hires lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir, a single mother, to assist him on the case as she speaks his language as well as that of the locals. They follow up on the odd LAST RITUALS by looking into Harold¿s life in Iceland and learn he belonged to a strange group that participated in unusual sexual rites and had a passionate fascination with medieval witch-hunts. As they dig deeper, they find the case spiraling out of control even as Thora¿s family life intrudes.--------------- Thora makes this exciting Icelandic whodunit an entertaining read as she struggles between balancing a complex investigation with the demands of her children especially her teen son. Matthew knows he can go nowhere without her as he does not speak the language besides being a foreigner no one would cooperate with him. Thus her family needs intrude on the case driving Matthew to distraction. The mystery is clever as the audience will find many suspects to choose from even while the police seek to end the case with a second arrest of a student. LAST RITUALS is a terrific investigate thriller.--------------- Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    A great way to learn more about Iceland

    Doubling her fees and promising a huge bonus at a time when Thora Gudmundsadotter badly needed the money was enough to draw her to this case, but at what cost? Thora investigates the horrible death and mutilation of a young German student at the University of Iceland. The police have a suspect imprisoned, but the victim¿s parents don¿t think he¿s the killer. She is drawn into a world she only knew from the outside a world of witchcraft and strange Rituals. Well written and greatly entertaining. Review by Wanda C. Keesey (author of Lost In The Mist release date May 2008)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2007

    LAST RITUALS: Icelandic Novel of Secret Symbols, Medieval Witchcraft and Modern Murder

    LAST RITUALS: an Icelandic Novel of Secret Symbols, Medieval Witchcraft and Modern Murder by internationally acclaimed author Yrsa Sigurdardottir thrills with the finely written mystery and more intimate look at a glimpse of Iceland as the background, a country that intrigues but often remains mysterious. The author combines an obscure part of history with dark psychological details while also creating a realistic and sometimes humorous backdrop in the characters investigating this unusual case. Thora Gutmundsdottir, a divorced mother wit her own legal partnership receives a phone call from Germany from Amelia Guntlieb. Her son was murdered in Iceland and the family needs assistance. The Guntliebs do not feel the local police investigated their son¿s case thoroughly. Amelia proposes Thora work with Matthew Reich, a man who spent 5 years with the Munich CID. Matthew does not know the Icelandic language well enough to ask questions and mix with the locals well enough to get real answers. Certain shocking details of Harald's murder are just to eerie and gruesome to believe the murder is connected to a drug deal gone bad. The more clues they find, the more mysterious the murder appears and the two are no longer sure whom they can trust. Yrsa Sigurdardottir creates the perfect balance between realistic characterization and a darker multi-faceted mystery. As the details of Thora¿s family life interfere with her investigation, the reader sees a glimpse of her as whole person --- one who cares for her children as only a devoted mother can but also as a person whose life had endowed her with a delightful sense of humor and a sense of compassion that underlies her investigation. The developing relationship between Thora and Matthew provides delightful humorous twists to accompany the terrifying secrets and relationships they uncover. The mystery itself grabs the reader¿s attention from the very beginning and heightens with each successive revelation of the clues. Suspenseful twists and turns lead to a climax where all the pieces carefully prepared from the very beginning fall together and yet still surprise the reader in unexpected and unforgettable ways. Yrsa Sigurdardottir¿s novel will appeal a wide variety of readers with an interest in Iceland from those with a mere curiosity for this unique country all the way to those with a more thorough knowledge from travel or studies of Icelandic literature. The author interweaves well known aspects of her native land such as the Icelandic horses, lava fields and various landmarks with a humorous look at the pronunciation of the Icelandic language and local driving customs into the plot and into interchanges of the characters themselves. Those curious for a closer more in depth look at Iceland will appreciate the author¿s look at the effects of a small population, the history of Icelandic law and religion and the results of globalization on the daily life of local residents. At all times, the author integrates these details so closely into characters and the structure of the novel so that the pace of the mystery unfolds fluidly with a touch of humor and heightening of the mystery.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2010

    In Iceland the witches were men

    Yrsa Sigurdardottir is another excellent writer from Iceland. Her first book to be released in the US is 'LAST RITUALS: A Tale of Secret Symbols, Medieval Witchcraft and Modern Murder.' Thora Gudmundsdottir is a single mother of two and a struggling attorney who is approached by the German parents of an exchange student. The police have arrested a suspect in the murder of their son but they don't believe the police have the right person. They are willing to pay Thora a significant amount of money if she concentrates on finding the person really responsible.

    She is soon joined in her investigation by Matthew Reich, a German also hired by the victim's parents. As they investigate they discover that the murder is connected to Iceland's very dark, mythic past. The victim was very interested in Iceland's history of witchcraft and the hunts for the practitioners most likely because these witches were men.

    This is an excellent story begging to be read straight through to the end but it is more than a bit grisly. I scanned the details. I think the difference between a story like this and a Hannibal Lector story is that the latter smacks everyone in the face with their vulnerability. The victim in this case has gone willingly into a past that may or may not be real.

    I am looking forward to the next book in the series, grisly or not.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    Must read if you like Scandanavian mysteries!

    Great mix of mystery with sense of Iceland, and ancient myth! Thora is an engaging sleuth. I look forward to the continuing series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2012

    All in all, I thought there were too many unnecessary gruesome d

    All in all, I thought there were too many unnecessary gruesome details, too many characters (and none of them particularly likeable), and far too many red herrings. The Icelandic names (see the author's name) made the characters all the more difficult to identify and remember. The author brings a totally unrelated family problem in at the end of the book for no reason that I can think of. I think there might have been a good story in there somewhere but there was too much "busyness" going on to sort it out.

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    Posted August 23, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 14 Customer Reviews
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