The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Thriller Series #4)

( 11 )

Overview

Inspector Erlendur returns in this international Bestseller

Following an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake suddenly falls, revealing a skeleton. Inspector Erlendur's investigation takes him back to the Cold War era, when bright, left-wing students in Iceland were sent to study in the "heavenly state" of Communist East Germany. Teeming with spies and informants, though, their "heavenly state" becomes a nightmare of betrayal and murder. Brilliantly weaving ...

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The Draining Lake (Reykjavik Thriller Series #4)

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Overview

Inspector Erlendur returns in this international Bestseller

Following an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic lake suddenly falls, revealing a skeleton. Inspector Erlendur's investigation takes him back to the Cold War era, when bright, left-wing students in Iceland were sent to study in the "heavenly state" of Communist East Germany. Teeming with spies and informants, though, their "heavenly state" becomes a nightmare of betrayal and murder. Brilliantly weaving international espionage and a chilling cold case investigation, The Draining Lake is Arnaldur Indridason at his best.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] remarkable series."—The New York Times Book Review

"Indridason keeps readers guessing . . . until the very last pages of this moody investigation."—The Washington Post Book World

"The missing-persons theme and the exploration of Icelandic history and society remain the trademarks of this outstanding series; this time the addition of international espionage will remind readers of Henning Mankell in The White Lioness and The Dogs of Riga."—Booklist

"This is exceptional fiction that transcends its genre."—Library Journal

"An undiluted pleasure . . . This series places Indridason at the center of the best of contemporary crime fiction. He is a master storyteller and has a real gift for evoking the complex humanity at the heart of the most dour-seeming individuals."—The Guardian (UK)

"A book as subtle and moving as it is suspenseful."—The Wall Street Journal

Marilyn Stasio
In this book as in Indridason's previous ones (all translated with grave sensitivity by Bernard Scudder), Erlendur's effort to reclaim one lost soul opens a broader investigation into a neglected piece of Icelandic history. Here it's the "weird times" of the cold war, when Iceland was of strategic interest to both the United States, which kept a military base at Keflavik, and the Soviet Union, which had plenty of spies on the ground.
—The New York Times
Maureen Corrigan
Indridason keeps readers guessing as to the identities of the snitch and the skeleton until the very last pages of this moody investigation into the fatal follies of youth, politics and memory. By novel's end, fittingly, the lake waters begin to rise again, obscuring all.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

At the start of Gold Dagger Award-winner Indridason's carefully plotted fourth entry in his crime series starring detective Erlendur Sveinsson (Jar City, etc.), a human skeleton surfaces in the bed of a lake near Reykjavik that's been mysteriously draining away. The bones are tied to some kind of Russian listening device, presumably a remnant of the Cold War. As Erlendur and his colleagues, Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, go about checking on people who went missing around 1970, Erlendur is reminded of the disappearance of his younger brother when they were children. Erlendur's lifelong obsession with the missing provides a haunting metaphor for this lonely, middle-aged man, divorced and alienated from his own two children. Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli, on the other hand, aren't particularly persuasive characters, but flashbacks to the University of Leipzig during the Cold War provide compelling insights into the splintered politics of the day, as well as the Icelandic students studying there at the time. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Missing persons particularly pique the interest of Reykjavík police inspector Erlendur, still haunted by the loss of his younger brother in a blizzard that he survived as a child. When the mysteriously draining Lake Kleifarvatn reveals a skeleton tied to an old Russian radio transmitter, Erlendur and colleagues Elinborg and Sigurdur Oli delve into the cold war era, when promising young Icelandic socialists were sent to Leipzig to study, and one of them lost the woman he loved in the atmosphere of "interactive surveillance." Considering himself a failure in family relationships, the introspective and dogged Erlendur is motivated to bring closure to a 70-year-old woman still waiting for her long-vanished lover; even a missing hubcap is a key to this case. Erlendur's developing relationship with a married woman, Elinborg's newfound success as a cookbook author, and Sigurdur Oli's phone calls from a troubled man add depth and texture to the fourth in Indridason's award-winning Nordic series (after Voices). This is exceptional fiction that transcends its genre.
—Michele Leber

Kirkus Reviews
A body found in a cold lake has roots in the Cold War. Sunna, a scientist with Iceland's Energy Authority, discovers a skeleton while taking an early morning walk around Lake Kleifarvatn, which has been recently drained. Inspector Erlendur is called in to investigate, along with sidekicks El'nborg and Sigurdur ili. Though a hole in the skeleton's skull clearly indicates foul play, identifying the remains proves trickier than expected. Meticulous research narrows the field of possible victims, but also reveals a striking anomaly: a cluster of young Icelandic men, perhaps involved in espionage, who left the country without a trace 30 years ago. An old Ford Falcon ultimately leads the team to the victim's name. Threaded through the contemporary investigation is the story of an initially anonymous protagonist who journeys to East Germany for training and falls hard for Ilona, a Hungarian operative. Her unexplained disappearance sets him onto a dangerous path. Back in the present, Erlendur struggles to find time for an affair with crime-scene tech Valgerdur, whom he met on his last case (Voices, 2007), when he achieved a new closeness with Eva Lind, his drug-addicted daughter. Eva's relapse drives a new wedge between them. Meanwhile, restless retired chief Marion, now yoked to an oxygen mask because of a lifelong smoking habit, keeps checking in to see if she can help. Beleaguered, dutiful Erlendur remains a compelling Everyman, and Indridason writes with clarity, precision and elegance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312428587
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Reykjavik Thriller Series , #4
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 202,348
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

ARNALDUR INDRIÐASON won the Glass Key award for Best Nordic Crime Novel for both Jar City and Silence of the Grave. He lives in Reykjavík.

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Reading Group Guide

About this Guide

The following author biography and list of questions about The Draining Lake are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach The Draining Lake.

 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 10, 2013

    highly recommended

    A great read by a splendid author

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Di Doo doo eny Doo doo anyone how bout you diana

    Your all squishy like doo doo

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    An Icelandic mystery

    This series has a good main character but may be a little dark for some people. The story is good and gives insight into Icelandic culture and history.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Mystery

    Why isn't this available on the nook because it is available for the kindle!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    another excellent book by one of my favorite authors

    i admit that i am partial to this genre. i happen to think it is a specific art form. this is a crime novel but much more. the depth of characters is amazing. i feel the idiosyncratic culture of iceland is captured. subtle, dark and brooding. there are a few other writers specifically hitting this sweet spot. extremely complex characters living in specific locations whose flavor is fully revealed. Denise Mina. Steig Larsson. Michael Chabon has two under his belt. Patricia Highsmith did this awhile back.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2008

    superb Iceland polcie procedural

    Just outside Reykjavik, Iceland, the draining of Lake Kleifarvatn uncovers a skeleton tied to a Cold War Russian radio device. Police inspector Erlendur and his subordinates Elinborg and Oli investigate what is obviously a homicide. With a hole in the skull and the technology employed is found that the murdered corpse was dumped in the early 1970s so they seek missing persons¿ cases from that era never solved. === The case haunts Erlendur as does any missing person inquiry because it reminds him of his younger brother who vanished when they were children. As they dig to identify the victim and from there hope to determine who the murderer is , the cops have hope for the former but none for the latter. The culprit could be dead, in Russia, or elsewhere. === The case provides readers with a deep look at the lonely Erlendur, who has spent a lifetime haunted by his sibling¿s vanishing accentuated by the metaphoric ¿disappearance¿ of his two estranged children from his present life. The look back to the Cold War at the University of Leipzig adds depth to the current investigation as well as a fascinating glimpse of academic politics. Although the personal woes of Elinborg and Oli feel intrusive, police procedural fans will enjoy the latest Iceland investigation (see VOICES, JAR CITY and SILENCE OF THE GRAVE). === Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

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