Into Oblivion, by Arnaldur Indriðason

Into Oblivion
Into Oblivion

Arnaldur Indriðason has once again taken us back to Inspector Erlendur’s early years with Iceland’s Criminal Investigation Division with Into Oblivion, his second prequel for the series. In this volume, Erlendur is working with his boss a mentor, Marion Briem, to find out what happened to a man who appears to have fallen to his death in spite of being found in a hot spring in the middle of a lava field. In the B Plot, Erlendur tries to solve the long cold case about a girl who mysteriously disappeared in 1953.

Marion Briem has only appeared in brief cameos in the Erlendur series—usually when Erlendur needs to bounce around ideas about a case. Marion has decades of experience in the CID and knows where a lot of bodies are buried, literally and figuratively. In Into Oblivion, we actually get to see the great detective at work. The two are equally involved in the body in the hot spring case at the beginning of the book. The victim’s sister identifies him as Kristvin and leads them to Keflavík, where Kristvin worked as a mechanic for Icelandair. Keflavík is notorious because it’s where the US Navy has a base; it’s been a source of a thriving black market since the Second World War. It’s still the place to go for booze and drugs even in the late 1970s. Marion and Erlendur follow the clues as two possibilities emerge to explain Kristvin’s death. Was it simply a case of a drug deal gone bad? Or had Kristin stumbled onto an international conspiracy?

Over the course of the book, Erlendur gets more and more involved with his cold case—leaving Marion to solve the case with help from an American MP. All Erlendur knows is that Dagbjört disappeared on her way to school and was never seen again. There was a rumor that she was seeing a boy from a bad part of town, but no one ever chased it down. Erlendur decides to investigate after reading Dagbjört’s father’s obituary. Any possible witnesses are starting to die of old age and any reader familiar with Erlendur will know that he just can’t let these cases go. So, in his stubborn, tactless, relentless way, Erlendur starts chipping away at a twenty-five year old mystery.

The more I read of Into Oblivion, the more I realized I wanted more stories about Marion Briem. Erlendur is a great character, but Marion fascinates me. Not only that, but learning more about Marion would reveal more about Iceland’s history. Indriðason has a lot of fresh territory to play around with if he spins off Marion into a new series.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. It will be released 9 February 2016.

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