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The Draining Lake    by Arnaldur Indridason order for
Draining Lake
by Arnaldur Indrišason
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

As you read this review, you first ought to hear a confession. In all of North America, there may be no bigger fan of Arnaldur Indrišason's novels than this BookLoons reviewer. I've read every one of this incredible Icelandic writer's works as soon as they have appeared in English translations, but I admit to having had one major disappointment in each instance: I could not read the original Icelandic editions and had to wait instead for the availability of editions published in English on this side of the Atlantic.

First, there was the positively stunning Jar City. That was followed by the exquisitely chilling Silence of the Grave. Then there was the disturbingly provocative Voices. Each novel - with the second being better than the incredible first, and the third being better than the spellbinding second - featured the endlessly complex and fascinating Reykjavik policeman, Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson.

Now, in The Draining Lake, the novel that unbelievably surpasses the excellence of its predecessors, Erlendur is involved in his most interesting case. A dead body is discovered in a recently exposed lakebed where the water has mysteriously receded. Early evidence and inquiries suggest that the body - presumed to have remained hidden beneath the lake surface for perhaps as long as three or four decades - did not die because of an accident. A homicide, instead, may have sent the man to the bottom, and the identity of the man and the reasons for the suspected homicide severely test and threaten to completely baffle the investigative resources of the Icelandic authorities.

Erlendur, though, plays a hunch and follows an obscure clue that will eventually lead him to expose Cold War secrets that had remained hidden along with the body in the draining lake. Part police procedural, part espionage tale, part character study, and 100% percent thoroughly satisfying intellectual entertainment, The Draining Lake is Arnaldur Indrišason's masterpiece. Do not miss it!

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