Select one of the keywords
The Reckoning: Children's House #2    by Yrsa Sigurdardottir order for
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2019 (2018)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Reckoning follows The Legacy as the second in Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Children's House series, set in Iceland. The leads are police Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja, whose burgeoning relationship was damaged in their first shared investigation - its ending damaged both their careers.

Though I've read and appreciated many powerful noir Nordic mysteries by this Scandinavian author, I somehow missed The Legacy but still enjoyed its successor. It opens on small Vaka, whose parents are late picking her up from her new school. She accompanies an odd schoolmate (a girl with two missing fingers) home, hoping to call her parents from there. They never see her again.

Everything that unfolds follows from that, but takes a great deal of work to unravel. Twelve years later, the police have difficulty connecting several horrific murders that need solving. Huldar, who's now given assignments no-one else wants, is pulled in after he's tasked with looking into an unsigned note in a school's time capsule. It predicts six deaths, but only has initials for the victims.

As readers will expect, those deaths start happening and Huldar is the one, with help from a very reluctant Freyja, to tie them to events at that school long before. In the meantime, the police receive notes that send them to crime scenes; at the first, Huldar finds a pair of hands in a hot tub, cut off with a chainsaw. There are further gruesome discoveries, but no obvious link between the victims.

Sigurdardottir's leads are always very fallible and very human, muddling along with their lives, and their work. Huldar, who would like to renew his relationship with Freyja, sleeps with his boss, Erla. Nevertheless, he does succeed in solving these cases, in a shocking conclusion to The Reckoning.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews