“The Darkness Knows” is the story of a cold murder case, really old and really cold, in fact, frozen in a glacier. A tour guide is escorting a group on an Iceland glacier tour. People come to Iceland for the landscape, the pure air and the peace and quiet, not for frozen corpses on glaciers. The body is so well preserved in the ice that the man could have died that day. The corpse is identified as Sigurvin, a man who vanished without a trace more than thirty years previously. Time has passed; witnesses are dead or moved, and memories are faulty, however, those events from the past are changing everything in the present; there are things that must be settled, controlled, and finished.
Konrád, now retired from the police department, had invested time and energy in the original investigation, and his unsolved case has been reopened. The narrative is told mostly from Konrád’s perspective; readers know what he sees, hears, and thinks. He never really stopped looking for answers in this case; no one ever really retires from a case like this one. Looking back, the original investigation turned out to be rather sloppy, only half-finished. The current case is still fundamentally stalled until an unexpected woman visitor changes everything. The search moves with purpose, and the pacing provides structure and atmosphere. There is no rushing through these pages.
“The Darkness Knows” is a compelling mystery, and as a bonus, it highlights Iceland’s culture and geography with everyday activities interspersed throughout the narrative. People watch the grey waters of the glacial river churning against the rocks as they had for countless millennia, drink their coffee unhurriedly, chat about road conditions, and reminisce about what it was like growing up in Reykjavík. I received a review copy of “The Darkness Knows” from Arnaldur Indridason, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books.