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A thriller set in Iceland and Minnesota

9th February 2024

Dead Sweet by Katrin Júlīusdóttir, a thriller set in Iceland and Minnesota – translated by Quentin Bates.

A thriller set in Iceland and Minnesota


A prominent, and well-liked, Icelandic politician turned civil servant, Óttar Karlsson, is found dead on a beach outside Reykjavík the day before his 50th birthday. He has been brutally murdered and the city is in shock. The police begin a high profile investigation, but there are few leads. Included in the police team is a young detective with a troubled past, Sigurdis Hölludóttir.. She has the reputation of being somewhat independent of thought.

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The first breakthrough comes when Sigurdis finds a hidden safe in the victim’s house. The documents in it indicate that he was not perhaps the squeaky clean Mr Nice that everyone thought the was. His business and financial dealings were ‘interesting’.His mother, his sister, and his girlfriend are truly shocked by what the police reveal to them. An alcoholic old man, who had been badly wronged in business by Óttar in the past, confesses to the murder. But the police, and especially Sigurdis, have their doubts. His story does not really hang together and does not tie in with what was found in the safe. Sigurdis, on the pretext of a girls’ weekend in New York (she doubted ther police department would fund her trip), decides to investigate further in Minnesota. She needs to track down somebody mentioned in the safe documents. Minnesota is where Óttar spent some time as a student. Sigurdis is shocked by what she discovers and the implications they may have for the case. Dark secrets are emerging. She retuns to Reykjavik to confront her boss over her absence and to reinvigorate the investigation. Success eventually follows, and the perpetrator is arrested.

Katrin Júlīusdóttir is a very welcome addition to the growing number of writers of Icelandic Noir. Her book is well constructed, with believable characters, and there are many twists and turns until all is revealed. The subplot of Sigurdis’ family traumas (both past and present) sits well and offers a good balance to the main story.


Tony for the TripFiction team

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Catch the author on Twitter X @katrinjul 

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