Jar City

Jar City

A Reykjavik Thriller

Book - 2005
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"When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavi;k flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl's grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man's past come back to haunt him?" -- publisher description (January 2007).
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312340704
0312340702
Branch Call Number: Fic Arna
Characteristics: 274 p. : maps ; 22 cm.

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t
trickbag22
Mar 09, 2019

I love how thrillers differ from country to country. The story is told in a matter of fact way, without grim pictures, yet conveys the atmosphere in a manner of reality. Oh my, unless the author has taken license with the law in Iceland, this investigation of a murder could never have played out in the USA. Search warrants? Ha, so easily obtained on conjecture. Think I will try a few more

d
DANIEL F HAMMANG
Dec 29, 2018

The plot is compelling. In 1999 Iceland passed legislation allowing a private company, deCode (now owned by US company, Amgen) to collect information about genetics, genealogy and health records of Icelanders. Indridason revolves his plot around this database. It is a clever plot that lingers after the novel is done, with its very significant issues about medical research, privacy and the robustness of security controls. The first half of the book is very slow moving as the lead detective, Inspector Erlunder, is set up as what I think of as the prototypical Nordic protagonist, divorced, alienated from his children, and an unknown puzzle to his colleagues. The second half picks up nicely as the loose threads start turning into real leads and a clearer plot. So if you're interested in a slice of life that is Iceland, hang in there for the first 150 pages or so and get ready for a very good ride to the end.

p
patcarstensen
May 19, 2018

I'm sure I the various districts mentioned have more meaning to someone who knows Iceland (is Gardabaer more like Cary or Chapel Hill?), and I suspect that some character conveyed in conversations got lost in translation.

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GrandCru
Apr 26, 2018

I don't understand all the great reviews for this book. Certainly not a thriller for me.

h
heavenne
Jan 16, 2018

What made this book enjoyable was how such an intricate web was spun throughout the novel giving the reader enough interest to keep reading. I was not sure what to expect from this book. Although I’ve heard good things about it I didn’t think I would be so engrossed and be flying through the pages to find out what will happen next.
I’m still not sure what to think of Erlandur as a character. Like most protagonists in series like these they usually have an underlying personal issue (whether it be health, or family for example) which he does have, but his personality I can’t really quite make out. He doesn’t seem to have much of one except he cares for his daughter and her well being even though they are estranged. He does have some sense of humor and wit but overall he appears to be driven by his work and hard working to solve the crime (we all need police like these don’t we?.)
I’m liking how his relationship with his daughter is turning out. It’s nice to see them slowly step away from their estrangement and it shows they do truly care for each other even though it’s done through yelling (most families are like that though, aren’t they?) It shows a lot of tough love, and I’m hoping the best for Eva Lind in the next books (I hope she appears as I’m slowly starting to like her more.)
What I enjoyed the most of this book was the plot like I mentioned earlier. It went from point A to point B but in such a dramatic motion it certainly kept you reading to find out what was going to happen next. The mood of the story also, was excellent. It was dark, dreary, melancholy, and although not suspenseful like the majority of the crime novels, it didn’t have to be. It made the setting suitable for the plot and made it more enjoyable.
One little thing I do have to add though, is the side story with the bride. I’m not sure why that was mentioned as it had little to do with the main story and it seemed like a filler. It wasn’t necessary as the plot itself was fine without it. I also enjoyed the ending of the book. It was sad, but you came to the realization it had to come to an ending like this.
As this is book #3 in its native language, it’s considered book #1 in its’ English translation. It seems all right and nothing seems to be lacking. Perhaps a bit of backstory might have helped but it was comprehensible to read. Greatly recommended! It’s a great break from the usual detective novels we have out there.

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genepy
Dec 04, 2017

This Icelandic thriller definitely deserves the “Nordic Noir” label
for it’s much more than a mystery : a glacial atmosphere , dark and complex characters,
violent crimes , detailed inquiries revealing gruesome conclusions , all the ingredients of a
captivating and intriguing novel. Melancholy Inspector Erlentur who has his own personal
drama to deal with adds to the humanist trait of the story.

l
loudem
May 14, 2017

My first (but not my last) from this author. Excellent is the only word for this novel. No question about it. The pace is just perfect, the humanity of the characters is very believable, and Erlendur is a knowledgeable policeman working sometime from gut feelings. He's as human as the rest of us, flaws and all. A very honest novel.

JCLHilaryS Mar 22, 2017

The first English translation in a series of Icelandic mysteries, I found Jar City to be a quirky read. When a man is found dead, bludgeoned to death by an ashtray in his own home, Detective Sigurder Óli says it must be a 'typical Icelandic murder' because it seems to be fairly straight-forward. But of course it's not because that would be a terribly boring story. With a minimum of clues, Detective Erlendur starts piecing together bits of the victim's life and crimes he committed 40 years ago. From there he begins to look at why he was killed now and not back then, and who could have killed him.

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uncommonreader
Mar 12, 2015

Crime fiction. The setting in Iceland is interesting, as is the information about Iceland's Genetic Research Centre, possible because of the country's small and contained population. Otherwise, the book is standard fare.

LMcShaneCLE Jul 19, 2014

I am a big fan of Ian Rankin's mysteries - this author follows a similar format - with the hard-boiled senior detective and younger associate - very noire :)

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