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Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Single father Odinn is working for the government agency investigating misconduct and abuse at care homes in the past. He is assigned to investigate the Krókur care home for delinquent boys from the 1970s; no abuse has been reported, but it is his job to investigate the home anyway. The case is particularly unnerving because his colleague who originally was looking into the home died suddenly at her desk and he inherited the project. Of particular interest are the deaths of two boys who were residents of the home who passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning. Flashback to the alternating storyline in the past of Aldis, a young woman working at the home, remembering her time there and the events that led up to her wanting very badly to leave.

Of course these two storylines converge, and I’m pretty sure you won’t see how until the author puts it on the page — at least I didn’t. The whole feeling of the book is creepy and you feel off balance, similarly to Odinn who is not only puzzling out the past of his case but is also trying to do right by his daughter who is now living with him after her mother’s sudden death. The tales of the past and present both feel like ghost stories with nary a ghost in sight; a really interesting trick the author is great at achieving in all the standalones I’ve read by her.

I’ve been to the area of Iceland this fictitious care home is placed, you can’t ask for a more desolate and unforgiving landscape. Even if you haven’t experienced the Reykjanes Peninsula the author does a wonderful job describing the atmosphere and geography. Best of all this is a cold read; very welcome in this sweltering weather!

By | 2017-08-17T16:13:56+00:00 July 24th, 2017|SCLSNJ Recommended Reads|
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