THE LEGACY by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Children’s House Series, Book 1)
Minotaur Books; 2/13/18
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: a gripping procedural and series launch
Iceland’s Queen of Crime Yrsa Sigurdardottir brings her newest series to the US in February, and it’s an absolute knockout. THE LEGACY launches the Children’s House Series with a story that is equal parts measured police procedural and gripping suspense narrative. Weaving together dark family secrets both present and past with a chilling investigation, Sigurdardottir effortlessly delivers a standout Nordic thriller that will more than satisfy her longstanding fans, and is sure to open up new doors for her readership in the US. THE LEGACY is all the slow-burning, layered procedural a Nordic Noir reader could hope for, infused with the trademark dark imagination that has come to define Sigurdardottir’s own ever-developing legacy.
The only person who might have the answers to a baffling murder case is the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she’s not talking.
Newly-promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja for her expertise with traumatized young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn’t best pleased. But she’s determined to keep little Margret safe.
It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues, but can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next?
Yrsa Sigurdardottir is far from your typical Nordic Noir author, and THE LEGACY proves yet again how she is reshaping the crime fiction subgenre and making it her own. Sigurdardottir has come to be known for a unique blend of crime fiction with a horror twist, and THE LEGACY is no exception. Though rooted firmly in its Nordic location and tradition, THE LEGACY blends into this genre a dash of dark imagination that is trademark Yrsa. Readers who have read and loved the author’s previous titles, in particular I REMEMBER YOU and THE UNDESIRED, will recognize the dashes of horror-inspired flair that Yrsa weaves into her writing -- though THE LEGACY delivers a more police procedural-heavy read than the aforementioned two. (Readers who prefer horror-inspired suspense over detective novels, I would recommend checking out THE UNDESIRED - I think it remains my favorite of Yrsa’s novels, although it’s now a close call with THE LEGACY!)
In THE LEGACY, readers are drawn into a dark and disturbing police investigation: a woman is found brutally murdered in her own home, with the only witness her young daughter. This element of the book is unmistakably police procedural, following a new detective who finds himself in over his head in solving this shocking crime. In partnership with a psychologist, this detective must determine exactly what this little girl saw, and catch her mother’s killer before he strikes again. Readers will find the story’s central investigation meticulously written, relying on precise plotting to develop a genuinely gripping and satisfying story. But into this procedural, Yrsa injects a touch of her own style -- in this case, in the form of both a killer with a dark and disturbing M.O., and a family with longstanding - and appalling - secrets.
There’s something genuinely chilling about the characters and crimes Yrsa thinks up in her novels, and THE LEGACY is proof of exactly this. The crime that launches this book is, let’s just say… breathtaking in its brutality, and I found myself unable to turn away from it. Fans of big-name Nordic authors like Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson will feel right at home in the shocking crimes portrayed in this novel; the villain of this story is as dark and twisted as any of those written by the biggest names in Scandinavian crime fiction. And let’s not forget - into this already layered and complex plot, Yrsa also manages to effectively weave a storyline of disturbing and longstanding family secrets. There are many, many layers to THE LEGACY, and it’s a testament to Yrsa’s skill as an author that the reading experience here never feelings overwhelming or out of control. In her measured, slow-burning style, the author reveals to readers just enough information to bring them closer to the story’s central truth, while still maintaining tension and suspense from the first page to the last. Yrsa’s impeccable balance of detailed police investigation and far-reaching, twisted secrets makes for a compelling and widely appealing read. Whether writing ghost stories or detective novels, Yrsa’s dark imagination and singular storytelling voice combine to deliver outstanding crime fiction.
Readers looking to be transported to Iceland in pursuit of a vicious killer, look no further - Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s THE LEGACY is a 2018 release to be added to your reading list. The author’s knack for balancing precise, methodical policework with sweeping family history and chilling secrets makes for a slow-burning thriller that readers will savor from first page to last. THE LEGACY launches an outstanding new series in the US, one which I’m confident I’ll be coming back to over and over again.
PLUS: Read an excerpt of THE LEGACY here!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions my own.
Series: Children's House (Book 1)
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (February 13, 2018)
Crime by the Book is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way affects my opinion of the above book.