THE DRAINING LAKE - Arnaldur Indridason

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The Draining Lake
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Book Synopsis

FROM THE BOOK:  Following an earthquake, the water level of an Icelandic Lake suddenly falls, revealing a skeleton half-buried in its sandy bed.  It has clearly been there many years.  There is a large hole in the skull.  Yet more mysteriously, it is weighted down by a heavy radio device bearing inscriptions in Russian.

Book Review

The fourth book translated into English by this Icelandic author takes a wide sweep through Iceland and time in THE DRAINING LAKE.  In the Cold War era bright, left-wing Icelandic students were sent to study in Communist East Germany.  The only lead and possible connection between the recently discovered skeleton and these student activities is very tenuous in the first place - the Russian equipment the corpse must have been weighted down with is Erlendur's only possible clue to the dead man's identity.  That and a series of missing person reports of men from around the same time.  In such a small society it seems inconceivable that these men could have just gone missing, but those reports, a possible car and a very weak series of clues are worked long and hard by Erlendur and his team in an attempt to identify this man and find out the truth of his death.
In THE DRAINING LAKE Erlendur is slowly getting his life together, his children are still causing him confusion and pain, but he seems to be more able to understand the impact that his past is having on him - there's also the smallest glimmer of a future with somebody he is very attracted to.  The other members of his team are dealing with their own ongoing lives and there's a nice sense of progress and things changing in the team, without it distracting overly from the central story.  There's a bit of time-shifting in THE DRAINING LAKE as well as you move back to the students in East Germany and then forward to the current day events in Iceland.  
I really love this series - the books have such a great sense of place and personality and THE DRAINING LAKE is holding up the same involving standard of the early books.

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