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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

The Night of the Fire, Kjell Eriksson: A Review

I love Icelandic/Nordic crime thrillers. Jo Nesbo is one of my favorites, but I've also read a few new authors this year who I can't wait to see more from. So I was really excited to be approved for The Night of the Fire and quickly dove in.

Ann Lindell retired from her position as a police inspector in Uppsala for a quieter life as a farmer/cheese maker when a fire breaks out in an old village schoolhouse that is now used for asylum seekers. They assume arson, and Ann finds herself becoming more involved in the investigation as the stakes become higher and more personal. So, I liked this book. In full disclosure, I didn't realize this was the ninth in a series. I've read one other Lindell title and I'm not sure how I missed the others, but I would definitely go back and read those because I love her character. That's not to say you need her entire back story to understand what's happening here. Eriksson did a wonderful job alluding to enough of her history and filling in the blanks as this current story unfolded. You know there's more to her, but you don't need it to understand the plot. And there's a lot to admire about the plot. Eriksson delves into some serious issues such as racism and nationalism and what happens in times of transition. Considering our current environment, these topics are extremely relevant and intriguing. The translation, however, was clunky and took me out of the story too much. I had trouble following the intricacies of the dialogue and oftentimes didn't understand the turns of speech or train of thought. Ann's thoughts wander from the task at hand to random events that made her seem quirkier than I think she was supposed to. This led to some pretty dense, confusing paragraphs, and for that reason, I couldn't get into this story as much as I wanted. Overall, The Night of the Fire has an intriguing premise and likable characters, but you might need to put in some extra effort to become engrossed in the dense translation. Thank you to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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