by Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason

“I know the feeling. Being fed up with yourself. With the bastard that happens to be you and which you can’t get out of your own head. You can get rid of it for a while but it always comes back and starts on the same old bollocks.”

Voices, the fifth book in a series of detective novels set in Iceland, finds Inspector Erlendur investigating the murder of a hotel doorman. The victim is the sort of person that no one seems to care about — no friends, estranged from family, and seemingly without prospects or ambition. Despite the undignified circumstances of his death, Erlendur gradually learns the tragic story of his life. In so doing, he is able to restore some dignity to a person few are grieving.

For stories that are often dark and morbid, these books are a pleasure to read. In addition to Erlendur’s no-nonsense detective work, we also see him grapple with past trauma, his fraught relationship with his daughter, and — finally — the prospect of romance.

There’s not much to say. These aren’t just good detective books, they’re good all around. I’m excited to continue the series.