review by Maryom
Harald Guntlieb is a wealthy German student continuing his research into European witch trials in Reykjavik. That is, until his horribly mutilated corpse is discovered propped in a cupboard at the university. The police quickly arrest his drug-dealer friend Hugi but his family are not convinced the killer has been found and engage Icelandic lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir to re-examine the case alongside their company's representative ex-policeman Matthew Reich.
It soon appears that Harald's interest in witchcraft was not solely academic and Thora and Matthew are led on an increasingly grisly trail attempting to discover the events leading to Harald's death.
Another excellent Scandi-crime discovery, full of convolutions and saving the best twists and turns for the end - although as I flicked through before writing this review, I realised that clues for the ending had been there all along but not quite spotted by me!
In the best tradition of fictional detectives, Thora has her own problems at home - mainly centred on her son Gylfi. Last Rituals is the first of a series and I'll be interested to see how he copes with future events and how the relationship between Thora and Matthew develops.
I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of an Icelandic feel to the story - and, no, I can't quite put my finger on what I mean by that, other than to say that although Thora and Matthew's investigation takes them to various places outside of Reykjavik - such as the Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery at Holmavik and caves settled by Irish monks - I didn't get a feel for the landscape or atmosphere. Still, this novel is meant to be a crime thriller, not a travel guide!
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Hodder
Genre - adult, crime/thriller,
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