There's that very famous tag in the publicity for the film Alien - "In space no-one can hear you scream". And it is presumably true, at least if you're not enclosed in an oxygen rich cylinder of some description. But it struck me forcibly when reading Yrsa Sigurdardottir's superb thriller The day is dark that this is equally true, even today, of parts of the earth, which to all intents and purposes are equally cut off. This of course has been recognised for some time. NASA's early work which led to the moon landings included work in Antarctica.

Day is dark is the fourth novel in the series featuring the Icelandic lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir. It's not my favourite novel in the series, it's rather more derivative than the others owing quite a lot, I think, to Alien, The Thing and Miss Smilla's feeling for snow. Like the recently reviewed A noble killing by Barbara Nadel, it may be derivative but it's also incredibly cleverly written.

Thora and her partner travel to remote eastern Greenland to try to sort out a contractual dispute. But it turns out to be a whole lot more sinister than it sounds, several workers have disappeared without trace and fellow workers are refusing to return to the site. The locals are surly, superstitious, and obsessed with evil spirits, while the discovery of an on site skeleton and a body in the freezer is going to make Thora's job a whole lot more difficult. And the past is about to come back and haunt everyone in a particularly unpleasant way...

Yrsa Sigurdardottir writes about isolation brilliantly along with the peculiar difficulties of living within an isolated society. She also touches brilliantly on some of the less well known problems of isolated places. This is a very creepy thriller, if all the ends don't quite tie up it's because the author has been pulled along at a great rate of knots by the brilliance of her narrative.

As you may have guessed I rather like Yrsa Sigurdardottir. She, along with Barbara Nadel, is one of my favourite Euro-cop writers.


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