Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

The Shadow District

Flóvent and Thorson series (book 1)

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day.


The past: In wartime Reykjavik, a young woman is found strangled behind the National Theatre, a rough and dangerous area of the city known as ‘the shadow district’. An Icelandic detective and a member of the American military police are on the trail of a brutal killer.

The present: A 90-year-old man is discovered dead on his bed, smothered with his own pillow. Konrad, a former detective now bored with retirement, finds newspaper cuttings in the dead man’s home reporting the shadow district murder that date back to the second world war. It’s a crime that Konrad remembers, having grown up in the same neighbourhood.

A missing link: Why, after all this time, would an old crime resurface? Did the police arrest the wrong man? How are these cases linked across the decades? Will Konrad’s link to the past help him solve the case and finally lay the ghosts of wartime Reykjavik to rest?


‘This atmospheric tale covering seven years is beautifully told’ The Times

‘Indridason is a skillful plotter with a firm grasp of how to tell a story to keep the reader guessing… I will certainly look out the next in the series.’ Paul Burke,  NB Magazine

‘There’s always a solid sense of history in Arnaldur Indridason’s moody Icelandic mysteries. With his usual delicate touch, Indridason weaves in just enough folklore to remind us that a nation can never live down its legends.’ New York Times Book Review

‘The intertwining stories will keep readers engaged until the book’s unexpected ending; also absorbing are Indridason’s characters, who make wartime and today’s Iceland come to life. The dialogue rings true and impart a forthright yet gentle tone that matches the harsh but dreamy landscape, which is lovingly described.’ Booklist

‘With minimalist prose, Indridason skillfully weaves the present-day murder with the past in this classic whodunit that ends with a satisfying and logical resolution.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Outstanding series launch … Indridason provides a great window into Icelandic culture as he explores his recurring themes of greed and abuse of power.’ Publishers Weekly (starred)

‘A welcome addition from a master of the genre.’ Library Journal (starred)

‘Terrific…the deftly spun Shadow District leaves us eager to read the next instalment in the series.’ Chicago Tribune

‘Gripping and deeply satisfying.’ Seattle Times

‘A surprisingly empathetic mystery. Fans of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo will love Arnaldur Indridason.’ Shelf Awareness

‘The steady progression of unearthing clues and witnesses to the mysteries is so riveting…readers will not find the story lacking in any way.’ Mystery Scene

‘Riveting, in [Arnaldur’s] distinctive style, and highly recommended.’ CrimeSpree Magazine

The Shadow District is a seductively menacing thriller by Arnaldur Indridason. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating novel that you will try to finish in one sitting.’ The Washington Book Review

The Shadow District is [Arnaldur’s] first in a new series, and it’s a terrific beginning. As always the author’s characters and plot are believable and engrossing, and the glimpses into Icelandic history are an added plus.’ Marilyn’s Mystery Reads