The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
#2 In The Children’s House Series
Own copy via Kindle
A chilling note predicting the deaths of six people is found in a school’s time capsule, ten years after it was buried.
But surely, if a thirteen-year-old wrote it, it can’t be a real threat…
Detective Huldar suspects he’s been given the investigation simply to keep him away from real police work. He turns to psychologist Freyja to help understand the child who hid the message.
Soon, however, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case.
For the discovery of the letter coincides with a string of macabre events: body parts found in a garden, followed by the murder of the man who owned the house. His initials are BT, one of the names on the note.
Huldar and Freyja must race to identify the writer, the victims and the murderer, before the rest of the targets are killed…
This novel is the perfect revenge story, with revelations right up to the very last page! It is brilliantly written and slowly unravels to reveal a meticulously planned plot.
It is one NOT to be missed!
The novel opens in September 2004, with 8yr old Vaka waiting at the school gates for her father who is late to collect her. She is approached by a curious school mate who offers to wait with her. Eventually the girls agree to walk to her new friend’s house nearby and call Vaka’s father. The friend warns them they must be quick and quiet.
This will be the last time, Vaka is seen alive. . . .
The novel then jumps ahead to 2016 with Detective Huldar, dealing with the cases no one wants. He has recently been demoted, from head of major murder investigations after a screw-up. He is left feeling demoralised and redundant in his new post.
Freyja has also been demoted from director of children’s house to child psychologist. She is angry with her downfall and lays the blame firmly with Huldar.
The case of the school time capsule is rather complex. When a capsule is unearthed ten years later in 2016, it has an extra letter inside, one that carries with it threats of death. . . .
‘In 2016 the following people are going to die: K, S, BT, JJ, OV and I. Nobody will miss them. Least of all me. I can’t wait’
As creepy as the time capsule note is, is this a prank? A threat gone astray? Or is someone planning on killing the individuals listed? How do you identify the people with only initials to go from? This may seem mundane and tedious to Huldar and young copper Gudlaugur ‘Gulli’ but it will turn out to be their most twisted case yet!
Erla is now in-charge of the major murder investigations team. She feels out of her depth and inadequate. Despite Huldar’s attempts to build her up. She is present at a crime scene where two human hands are discovered in a hot tub. The owner Benedict, has an initial from the letter BT, are the cases related or pure coincidence?
“Who’d be capable of chopping of another persons hands?” – Huldar
“A madman. Someone seriously deranged” – Freyja
Freyja reluctantly agrees to help Huldar with the time capsule case. She represses her inner anger at him, due to her own on-going problems in her personal life.
“Lots of teenagers fantasise about killing their enemies one day. But virtually none go on to act it out” – Freyja
Across town prosecutor Thorvaldur begins receiving emails from email@example.com they contain death threats and attachments regarding betrayal and an image of two scruffy children. He is baffled as to who is sending the threats but doesn’t call the police. Despite the sinister tone of the threats. . .
‘What beautiful children you’ve got. Make sure you take good care of them. There are people out there who might betray them, as you know too well’
Meanwhile Huldar assumes he has a lead on the time capsule case, when one of the other notes has matching handwriting. The case links to Throstur, now in his 20s. But does he hold the key to solving this bizarre case?
Huldar and Freyja dig into his past. His child psychologist records and family history. He appears to be a depressed young man obsessed with death and evil. A friendless kid, who scared his peers.
His family situation is dire, as they read on he becomes a likely suspect. . .
“There must have been something wrong with the boy. Or his immediate environment” – Freyja
The novel does talk about crime in Iceland in general. How most cases are solved within 24/48hrs and crime is relatively low.
This really adds to the realistic nature of how the story pans out.
Freyja quizzes her work colleague Solveig, on Throstur’s vague records and her approaches with him in the past, as his child psychologist. The more Freyja digs, the less she trusts Solveig!
“Even one child with problems is one too many” – Solveig
Freyja continues to dig into the past. Throstur Jonsson has been known to the child mental health system since 8yr old, yet his records are bare. He has an ID but no files. Who would want to delete his history? Was it Solveig?
‘Something didn’t feel right’ – Freyja
Prosecutor Thorvaldur battles with his ex-wife over the whereabout of their two young children. He is an arrogant, rude entitled man. Yet his concern for his children Karlotta and Dadi is real. Who would want to harm them? And why has he not reported the threats? Does the esteemed prosecutor have something to hide? If so what?
Freyja and Huldar eventually interview Throstur. He lives with his sister Sigru and mother Agnes in poverty. At the mere mention of social services involvement, he becomes enraged and the interview is cut short. Huldar mentally makes a note to summon him to the police station at a later date, when they have more evidence and his records. But it is clear to see, this is a young man in deep pain. Something happened to that boy and no one helped this family.
Condemned by their father’s reputation, the family have been forced to move every year for the last 5yrs. Their inner pain and coming to the terms with Jon’s crimes is fully explored.
This is a family right on the edges of society, who nobody wants to know or help!
“I was dumb enough to think the cops would be worried about us now that he’s out. I should’ve known better” – Thorstur
It becomes apparent Thorstur’s father Jon Jonsson has been recently released from jail. He is a convicted paedophile and served over ten years for the sexual abuse and murder of an 8yr old girl. He claims to have no memory of the crime due to his alcoholism, at that time. But DNA evidence doesn’t lie. Since his incarceration he has ‘found’ god. But does anyone that evil, ever change? Did Jon abuse his own children?
‘Children were not born bad; not Thorstur nor anyone else’
When Benedict Toft’s body is discovered the case really picks up its pace. The past and the present will be fully uncovered and no one’s secrets are safe anymore!
A public murder scene brings with it media attention and the police officers are placed under the media spotlight. Can they untangle the past and solve the case in time? Or are those listed on the time capsule note doomed to death?
Huldar believes the cases are interlinked, yet this remains tough to prove with no evidence. With his past history and demotion, he is aware he is skating on thin ice. The answers lie in the past, but can Huldar and Feryja get Thorstur to open up?
This novel is a fantastic read! I devoured it instantly! The themes of childhood abuse, cover-ups and revenge finally come together to make one phenomenal ending!!!
My Review of, The Legacy #1 in The Children’s House series
My Review of, Why Did You Lie?
Coming Soon – My Review of, The Undesired 22nd May