Monday, August 8, 2011

The Day Is Dark

The Day Is Dark
Author: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Hodder, 2011
432 pages

I've been wanting to read something by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir for quite a while now, and I even bought Last Rituals, the first book in her series featuring Icelandic attorney Þóra (Thora) Guðmundsdóttir. Unfortunately, it's in a box somewhere and I can't seem to find it after two moves in less than one year. Last week, quite randomly, I decided to break my rule of reading series books in order, and went for this one - her fourth featuring Thora. (It didn't hurt that the Kindle version of The Day Is Dark is currently available for less than eight bucks on Amazon.com.)

Enlisted by her partner Matthew, who works for a bank that underwrote a loan for a mining company start-up, Thora finds herself on a team being sent to a remote work site on the eastern coast of Greenland. Three of the company's employees have gone missing, and now their other employees are refusing to work there. When creepy things begin to happen (sabotaged satellite dishes and snowmobiles, mysterious blood stains, and the appearance of human bones in office desks, for examples), this book turns into a genuine thriller. The unusual setting and remote location only add to the intrigue.

The character lineup includes some native Greenlanders in the nearly village. Most of these folks seem unwelcoming and unfriendly to the non-natives, but they have their reasons. This community has been slammed by change in a very short time, and the natives are torn between the old and modern ways. They want to be respectful of their own culture, but they see the value that the mine could bring (in the form of jobs) to their economically-challenged village. Thus, there are some additional elements that take you down a unique path as a reader.

In the meantime, we have Thora. She's a great main character: intelligent, personable, and appropriately witty. As a lawyer and a young grandmother, she's just so . . . real. I really must go back to the beginning and start over, so I can find out how she got to where she is in The Day Is Dark. So I do need (and want) to read the first three books. I just wish I had more reading time! :-)