#BookReview #TheCreakOnTheStairs Eva Björg Ægisdóttir @evaaegisdottir @orendabooks (translation Victoria Cribb @victoriacribb )

The Creak on the Stairs by [Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, Victoria Cribb]
Source: Amazon Purchase

I’m delighted to be reviewing this debut Icelandic Noir novel, The Creak on the Stairs, from Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, published by Orenda Books, March 2020.

Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:

When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her collegues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

My thoughts:

As my “hopeful” first ever trip to Iceland Noir approaches it was a pleasure to immerse myself in this atmospheric and chilling tale featuring Chief Investigating Officer, Elma, who has returned to the small town of Akranes following the end of a relationship.

There is something so delightfully dark about Icelandic crime fiction, with a much slower and laid back pace than other novels, it is easy to convince yourself that you are settling yourself down for a little bit of cosy crime. But you are in for a shock as there is nothing remotely cosy about this genre. Iceland definitely lends itself to the crime fiction genre, the climate and the landscape combine to place you in the heart of something exquisitely chilling and Eva Björg Ægisdóttir has totally nailed it in the creepiness stakes with this one!

Exploring some dark themes; abuse, emotional neglect and murder, the claustrophobic nature of the small town becomes increasingly apparent and the underlying conflicts become clearer as each character steps forward. The author has created a relatable and authentic cast of characters who all cause the reader to doubt them. Twist after twist will leave your head reeling and every time you think you might have it all worked out the author pulls the rug from under your feet.

I connected with Elma almost immediately, something about her drew me towards her; she has her own demons to contend with and as she finds herself drawn into the secrets of her home town, she is compelled to seek justice. Her own backstory is hinted at throughout and The Creak on the Stair was an excellent introduction to this new detective and most definitely left me wanting more!

The tension is palpable and made more so by the creeping pace of the novel, never fast and furious but always compelling and addictive, it became almost impossible to put this book down. It is an emotional rollercoaster read and heart-breaking as the truth slowly unfolds.

The translation is impeccable, it was almost impossible to tell I was reading a translation and full credit must be given to Victoria Cribb for this. For those who like to attempt the pronunciation of Icelandic names, there is a handy guide at the beginning of the book.

The Creak on the Stairs has certainly whet my appetite for November’s Iceland Noir.

Do yourself a favour and buy this! You will not be disappointed!

The Creak on the Stairs is available to purchase from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25.  After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

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