Gallows Rock – Yrsa Sigurdardottir

A VISIT a Japanese minister to Iceland is ruined when he looks across the bay and sees a man hanging from a tree.

That's only the first headache for detective Huldar as he tries to find why among came to be there with a nail embedded in his chest to prove it's not suicide.

When he searches the man' has horrified a four-year-old boy with no memory of how he came to be there where his parents live.

Huldar calls in child psychologist Freyja, who discovers that the boy has witnessed something horrible – which only makes the mystery even more complicated.

It's a mystery I don't want to shed any light on, suffice to say this is a satisfying novel for fans of Nordic Noir by the likes of the excellent trio of Hakan Nesser, Arnaldur Indriðason and Ragnar Jonasson.

Like them, Sigurdardottir tells her stories without fancy language, just believable characters, and matter-of-fact prose that pushes the story on relentlessly and builds up the tension.

One of Iceland's top crime writers, Yrsa Sigurdardottir had already made her name when she started the Children's House series featuringHul.dar and Freyja. Following The Legacy, The Reckoning and The Absolution, this is the fourth in the series.

David Knights