“Far North” by Michael Ridpath / Thursday, December 6, 2012 / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is Far North by Michael Ridpath.

"Far North" by Michael Ridpath

What if greedy investors wiped out your life’s savings and walked away unscathed?

Why Clay Stafford chose this book:

What if greedy investors wiped out your life’s savings and walked away unscathed? Well, this is a rather timely book no matter what continent you are on. This story just happens to be set in Iceland.

I enjoy discovering new authors. Such is the case with Michael Ridpath and “Far North.” I am familiar with Michael Ridpath through Killer Nashville and the British Crime Writers’ Association. However, I (shamefully) have never read one of his books until now. This was an incredible introduction.

I’m enthralled with what he has done with what he had to work with. I’ll explain. The advice to writers has always been “write what you know.” He is an Englishman, proper, polite, and humble, as one might expect. Ironically, he writes about an American (Boston-based) detective of Icelandic heritage returning “Far North.” The amount of research put into it to pull it off is impressive. Even more impressive is that this was a #9 bestselling book in Iceland. They loved it! If you can sway the locals, you have to be doing something right.

This is Ridpath’s second foray into mystery. Prior to this series, he has written financial thrillers. The first in this series was “Where the Shadows Lie.” In “Far North,” there are several unrelated murders (appearing that way on the surface) that are neatly tied together through the ample efforts of Detective Magnus Jonson. There is also a backstory murder that at first may seem in odd coherence to the plot, but makes sense nicely in the end.

I’m not sure I have ever read a mystery set in Iceland before, in a land where police officers do not carry guns. As an American, police not carrying firearms boggles me. The plotting is full of such details. For learning the culture of a different country mixed with a blast of a suspense story (trying to stop future killings), this is a wonderful introduction to a wonderful writer. I wish I had experienced Ridpath’s work sooner.

From the publisher:

“In Iceland, revenge is best served at arctic temperatures… Iceland 1934: Two boys playing in the lava fields that surround their isolated farmsteads see something they shouldn’t have. The consequences will haunt them and their families for generations. Iceland 2009: the credit crunch bites. The currency has been devalued, banks nationalized, savings annihilated, lives ruined. Grassroots revolution is in the air, as is the feeling that someone ought to pay…ought to pay the blood price. And in a country with a population of just 300,000 souls, in a country where everyone knows everybody, it isn’t hard to draw up a list of exactly who is responsible. And then, one-by-one, to cross them off. Iceland 2010: As bankers and politicians start to die, at home and abroad, it is up to Magnus Jonson to unravel the web of conspirators before they strike again. But while Magnus investigates the crimes of the present, the crimes of the past are catching up with him in Far North, the newest heart-stopping mystery from acclaimed author Michael Ridpath.”

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Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

– Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville