The Recently Read posts are not typical book reviews. As a writer, I do not believe I should be reviewing the hard work of other writers. These posts are simply books I have recently read and enjoyed and will share with you. They will not always be crime books as I am trying to widen my reading selection. I hope you enjoy some of these with me.
Someone To Watch Over Me by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Berglind hurried to her son and pulled him forcefully from the window. She held him close and tried at the same time to wipe the windowpane. But the haze couldn’t be wiped away. It was on the outside of the glass.
Pési looked up at her. ‘Magga’s outside. She can’t get in. She wants to look after me.’ He pointed at the window and frowned. ‘She’s a little bit angry.’
A young man with Down’s Syndrome has been convicted of burning down his care home and killing five people, but a fellow inmate at his secure psychiatric unit has hired Thora to prove Jakob is innocent. If he didn’t do it, who did? And how is the multiple murder connected to the death of Magga, killed in a hit and run on her way to babysit?
I find this one a little difficult to give my thoughts on as it was a book club read that ended up being a meeting that through various problems didn’t happen, but that said, I still read the book and enjoyed it, so I’m sharing my own thoughts on it with you.
Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is not a cop, or a private detective, she’s a lawyer and she’s been retained by a convicted paedophile to look into the burning down of the psychiatric unit and the following conviction of Jakob who has downs syndrome, for multiple murders.
This is a very clever story because in this above description alone you have several different layers running through a story of unraveling events to do with the fire. You have Thóra’s thoughts and feelings on working for the paedophile, the fact that this isn’t your usual cop crime novel, the extremely sensitive issues of mental health, psychiatric units and the easy conviction of Jakob.
I thought Sigurðardóttir covered the mental health issues extremely sensitively and Thóra as a character was well-rounded with not only this job to worry about but her own home life, including children, partner and her parents descending on her.
The setting of Iceland was just a wonderful frozen character of its own with Sigurðardóttir not only relying on the physical landscape but the economic landscape played a large role in explaining a lot of Iceland and its current climate.
Iceland is steeped in folklore and Someone to Watch Over Me weaves a little of the creepy unknown into it, giving the story yet another added layer, without detracting from the main point of the novel.
I enjoyed this novel and I still hope to get Yrsa Sigurðardóttir into a video chat interview at some point for the blog. She is incredibly busy but email discussion is ongoing and this has not been forgotten.