I read Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s “I Remember You” which freaked me out. I went and started to read her mystery series since I heard good things about it. I have read books #1-2 and finished up books #3 and #4 this past weekend. I have to say that the entire mystery (a head/skeleton, and remains of 3 men buried in a village that was abandoned due to a volcano) was well done. I loved how Thora dug in on this and the actual reveal to the mystery of the dead men and the head was a doozy. I gave this 5 stars because I wasn’t expecting it at all. I will caution readers though that this book depicts anorexia, and Thora is often nasty about the size of the secretary at her law office. I just took it in as the times of the day, but honestly cringed every time I read it.
“Ashes to Dust” follows attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir who is trying to deal with a client, Markus, and the requirements he wants to put in place prior to an archeology expedition exploring his family’s former home on the Westman Islands. There was a volcano eruption in 1973 that left some of the homes uninhabitable, and Markus wants to explore his family’s basement. However, he comes up and informs Thora and a scientist that he’s found some things that they need to take a look at. And what he finds is a head in a box and the bodies of three dead men. Thora does her best to keep her client out of jail while also investigating how the bodies came to be in the home.
Thora deciding to investigate the case of the dead bodies in Markus’s home and how his family may be tied to them was interesting. There’s also enough relationship issues that Thora is dealing with that makes her happy to get away for a while. For example, her companion, Matthew is trying to decide to take a job that will have him live in Iceland full-time, Thora wants him to, but doesn’t want to push on it. And she’s in essence been raising her grandson with her son and his girlfriend seeming to just hang around. With her partner at the law firm insisting that Thora take Bella, their secretary with her while she investigates, the two women start trying to peel back the mystery of what happened in 1973 and how some of it may be connected to the murder of a woman who used to live on the island when she was younger.
I liked all of the characters we get in this. Some of them are kind of awful. I did think it was puzzling we had the character of Tinnia who is dealing with anorexia. I wonder what started her on the path and how she seemed to know a lot about what was going on.
The writing was interesting, but honestly I can say that I guessed what happened to one of the characters. It wasn’t a surprise, but still liked how it was revealed. The flow of the book I thought moved quite well. It kept me reading and wanting to see how things were going to end.
The setting of the book is 2007 in Iceland. The book focuses on what happened back in the 1970s and how certain characters seemed to have come to maybe not a bad end, but something happened that was more than the eruption that left the community slightly broken.
The ending was a shocker though. I think it was well done and I kind of laughed at Thora a bit who was disgusted by what actually did happen back in 1973 as well as in 2007.
- I read this book for Cannonball Read 14 book bingo:
- Bird: Could be literally about birds or planes, or with a bird or plane on the cover. Alternately, think about bird idioms: “birds of a feather flock together” could refer to a book similar to one you’ve already reviewed; an “albatross” could be a book you really need to read; “early bird catches the worm” could be an advance reader copy or just-published book.
- The character in the book keeps going on about a falcon and the name of a British smack called “The Cuckoo” was important to the mystery. A smack was a traditional fishing boat used off the coast of Britain and the Atlantic coast of America for most of the 19th century.