Tuesday, 17th July 2018
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Author Ragnar Jonasson : Published by Penguin : Price 14.99 Euro

Hulda Hermannsdottir is 64 and about to retire from a lifetime of working as a cop. She is absolutely terrified of retiring, not only will it impact her financially for the worse but also she feels that her days will be empty and without meaning. What is even worse is that her boss has brought her in and told her that he wants her to retire even earlier than the date she was set to retire and that she now has two weeks to get things together. She has no outstanding cases on her desk so she asks her boss what should she do and he says that she might want to pick out a cold case from the files and see what she makes of it. She does have one case that she isn't telling her boss about though and that is one of a man who was put into a coma following a hit and run. Hulda managed to track down the woman responsible but decided to do nothing about it as the man in question was a paedophile the woman's son was one of his victim's. Hulda telephones the woman and lets her know that she doesn't have enough evidence to take the case further and basically gives the woman a free pass. Little does Hulda know that this decision will come back to haunt her when the woman tracks down the man in hospital and kills him and then tells the police everything.

In the meantime though Hulda decides to work on a case of a refugee who was found dead on a beach outside the capital. The initial investigation was poorly handled and rushed and Hulda doesn't think that the right verdict was brought in.

It was deemed to be a suicide.

Hulda thinks it is a case of murder and that not enough was made of the investigation at all. In amongst all of the investigations that are going on there is a lot that is brought out about Hulda's private life, the suicide of her daughter at the age of 13 and the early death of her husband a couple of years later.

She has developed a relationship of sorts with a man her own age and she tells him bits of what really happened in her life but doesn't tell him everything. Such as the fact that her husband was abusing her daughter and that Hulda was the one that was responsible for his death.

This could be a very gloomy novel but the prose is so matter of fact and to the point that you don't get dragged down by the story.

In some respects Hulda is a tragic figure, always unappreciated at work and now shoved into retirement to make way for a younger man with little or nothing to look forward to. She tries to keep her spirits up and her blossoming relationship is one high point for her.

The investigation into the murder of the young refugee woman unearths another murder case that went completely undetected at the time. Hulda solves both cases but at a terrible personal cost.

Gripping and deftly plotted 'The Darkness' is a great read.

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