Saturday, July 16, 2011

Where the Shadows Lie-Michael Ridpath

Where the Shadows Lie
Michael Ridpath
St. Martin’s, Aug 2 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312675035

A Dominican drug cartel operating in Massachusetts places a price on the head of Boston Police Sergeant Detective Magnus Jonson. To keep him safe, the brass arranges an assignment with the Icelandic police department.

Magnus arrives in Reykjavik where he quickly realizes the rules differ from back home; his Icelandic education in policing starts with the fact that the cops do not carry weapons. The American is assigned to the team investigating the murder of Professor Agnar Haraldsson, an expert on Icelandic mythos and legends. Though he feels for the victim, Magnus' enjoys looking into the mythology of his native land where his dad was murdered years ago. He especially finds fascinating that allegedly Haraldsson found the source of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. As he investigates, Jonson alienates superiors on both sides of the pond when he learns that the Dominicans who attack his Bostonian family and have also come to Iceland to stamp his passport as dead.

This terrific Icelandic Police Procedural deftly merges the nation’s mythology and history with a present day murder case. Magnus is a terrific protagonist as he feels like a fish out of water though he was in Iceland; he is a veteran American cop struggling with adjusting to different rules than he has adhered to in the past; this adds realism to the wonderful whodunit which is further enhanced by the Tolkien connection.

Harriet Klausner

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