Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: House of Evidence

House of Evidence
House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: people fascinated by trains, obsessions
Trigger Warnings: murder; anti-gay sentiments; violence toward “others”, especially GLBTQ folk, women and hippies, as well as Nazi violence in general during “past” times

My Thoughts: I mostly took this book because it is set in Iceland, a country in which I am very interested, and it features forensic science, in which I'm interested. Overall it lived up to the expectations I had for it, but there were a few places, like when Hrefna is leaving to view the murder and we have a lot of superfluous descriptions of the building in which she lives. This didn't seem to have anything to do with the story, and I'm not sure why it was deemed important enough to be in there.

The diary entries, while interesting, were not well separated from the rest of the text in this ARC. Hopefully the final copy will be better formatted, as it was sometimes confusing to abruptly move into the diary entries.

The main thing I liked about this book was the sensitive treatment of GLBTQ folk of all sort. When talking about a transgendered woman who survived Nazi Germany, a character thought:
A woman who might have been a good mother and a good grandmother, had not a quirk of nature put her in the wrong body many years ago....

What an ordeal, to have to conduct one's life in such deception, just to be able to live in peace with someone you love. Perhaps things will change on day, and people will be able to live the way they were created.

Yeah, we're still waiting on that one...

The ending will probably be unsatisfying for some, but I felt it sort of fit the whole story, which was rather unconnected and rambling at times. Not a bad book, but not one I'd necessarily heartily endorse either. If you're interested, check it out.

Disclosure: I received a paperback ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: On a cold January morning in 1973, inside a stately old house in Reykjavik, blood pools around Jacob Kieler, Junior from a fatal gunshot wound to his chest. Detective Jóhann Pálsson, an expert in the emerging field of forensics, is called to the scene and soon discovers something more unsettling than the murder itself: the deceased's father, Jacob Kieler Senior, a railroad engineer, was shot to death in the same living room nearly thirty years earlier. The case was officially closed as a botched robbery. 

Pálsson soon uncovers diaries that portray Kieler Senior as an ambitious man dedicated to bringing the railroad to Iceland no matter the cost. Sensing a deeper and darker mystery afoot, the detective and his colleagues piece together through the elder Kieler's diaries a family history rich with deceit...

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