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Ashes to Dust: A Thriller (Thora…

Ashes to Dust: A Thriller (Thora Gudmundsdottir) (original 2007; edition 2012)

by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Author)

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4054139,248 (3.49)69
Title:Ashes to Dust: A Thriller (Thora Gudmundsdottir)
Authors:Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Author)
Info:Minotaur Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Read in 2013

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Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (2007)



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English (39)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
This is the second Thora G novel I've read and it did not disappoint. One reason I am drawn to the Nordic/Scandanavian mysteries is the complexity of plot and well defined characters - both traits that are in grand display in this novel. Yrsa S has done a masterful job of weaving a very complex and at times convoluted set of events into a fluid plot line. A supporting cast of characters are well defined and cross paths at very critical junctures during the novel. Is it an easy book to read? No, I did find it a bit cumbersome at times but I had to remind myself that something with this many layers takes time to develop. I thoroughly got lost in the details as we journeyed towards a very satisfying ending. Good read! ( )
  Hardboiled | Feb 22, 2018 |
Ashes to Dust is the third in Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s series featuring attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir. Thirty-five years ago, in 1973, the Eldfell volcano erupted, covering the tiny Icelandic village of Heimaey in ash. Today archaeologists have returned to uncover some of the homes. Markus Magnusson was a teenager when it happened, but has now hired Thora to make sure no one can enter his former home until he has. He rushes to the basement as soon as it's clear and grabs the box he has been concerned about. He sees three corpses against the wall, drops the box, and a severed head rolls out. Thora now needs to investigate what happened all those years ago so she can advocate for her client.

Thora is a pretty realistic character. She's a divorced, single mother of two and has just become a new grandmother thanks to her 18 year old son. She's not hugely successful in the business sense, but she is determined to do her job to the best of her ability. The story dragged in a few places but, for the most part, there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested in the plot. The most difficult thing I encountered was trying to pronounce the multi-syllabic Icelandic names, but once I settled on “my own” pronunciation that was no longer an issue. This can definitely be read as a standalone novel. Overall I enjoyed the story and the characters and would recommend it to fans of mysteries set in fascinating locations. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
enjoyed it while reading it, not too sure about the ending - it felt unsatisfactory... of course, it may be more real that the right person doesn't get taken to task, and I am not sure whether Markus or Hjalti was responsible now, and in fiction I as a reader want to know the truth even if for the plot the other characters are in the dark... ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
I won this book through First Reads! Thank you Goodreads!

The description intrigued me, as it was described as appealing to fans of Stieg Larsson, and it both takes place in Iceland and is written by an Icelandic author.

I didn't find that the story was similar to Larsson's, either in theme or writing style. However, it did create a very strong sense of place - both in physical setting and the mentality of solving a crime in a very small country, where the number of people who know each other makes it almost like a small town. I liked the author's ability to create this setting - just for this, reading the book was worthwhile.

However, as a mystery, I didn't find the book very suspenseful. I note that several other reviewers said that they found the book "slow-moving." It's not, really, Hints and clues are revealed at a steady pace throughout the story. But the author makes sure, throughout, that the reader has always figured out the next 'big reveal' before the characters figure it out. It's obviously done on purpose, but I'm not sure why. It has the effect of making the book 'feel' slow, as you're constantly waiting for the investigator to figure out the thing that's already been made obvious to you.

One thing is - I gotta say, for a lawyer, the main character, Thora, does an awful lot of investigating. Are lawyers allowed to investigate the crime, rather than just defending a case, in Iceland? Hmm. It made me curious about the Icelandic legal system.

As the book is translated from Icelandic, there are a few awkward phrases here and there, but for the most part, the language is very basic and straightforward. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This novel is #3 in the author's Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series and so I caused myself a bit of confusion because I had read the latest two. I always advise readers to tackle a series in order of publication if at all possible and in this case, things have moved on in Thora's life by the later two novels (so I had memories of events that hadn't yet happened).

The historic element of the story is based around a volcanic eruption which began on the eastern side of Heimaey in the Westman Islands on 23 January 1973 and resulted in the evacuation of the island with some houses buried by lava and others by ash. More information on Wikipedia.
Now, over three decades later, archaeologists are excavating some of the houses and Thora's client Markus Magnusson wants to retrieve a box from the basement of his parent's house. The subsequent discoveryof three long dead bodies and a box containing the head of another is totally unexpected.

Thora's investigation is made more complicated by the bizarre murder of a woman Marcus was once in love with, and complications with a rape case.

The whole story is indeed complicated and very noir, but I'm happy to report that the author gave me just enough hints so I was able to piece the chain of events together just before Thora managed to, ( )
  smik | Nov 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
The plot in Ashes to Dust is clever, rich and very intriguing, with several surprising twists and turns, and Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is an excellent protagonist. Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s story telling seems to be improving from book to book, and I thought this book was fabulous – in my opinion her best so far; tense and perhaps even a little terrifying. This is outstanding, very intelligent crime fiction!

Over 30 år etter vulkanutbruddet på Vestmannaøyene, skal husene graves fram. Markús oppsøker barndommens kjeller for å hente en eske. Han blekner da en hodeskalle faller ut og triller mot tre støvhauger, tre ansikter. Hvem er de døde, når havnet de i kjelleren og hvem la dem der? En kvinne dør i Reykjavik, og Thóra Gudmundsdóttir får etter hvert en fornemmelse av sammenheng mellom likfunnet og kvinnemordet.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yrsa Sigurðardóttirprimary authorall editionscalculated
Roughton, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedico il romanzo al mio editore, Pétur Màr Ólafsson, con un sentito ringraziamento per la collaborazione e l'infinita pazienza.
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Aveva sempre considerato la morte un'opzione allettante.
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"Named One of the Year's Top Ten Crime Books in the UK... A Masterwork of Suspense from "Iceland's Crime Queen" (The Scotsman) In 1973, a volcanic eruption buried an entire Icelandic village in lava and ash. Now this macabre tourist attraction proves deadly once again--when the discovery of fresh bodies casts a shadow of suspicion onto Markus Magnusson, a man accused of killing his childhood sweetheart. His attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir finds that her client has a most inventive story to tell. But the locals seem oddly reluctant to back him up... Filled with unforgettable characters, unexpected twists, and superb psychological suspense, Ashes to Dust is a superlative thriller from an acclaimed master of Nordic fiction"--… (more)

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