I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Doll by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on July 22, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Crime, Mystery & Detective, General
Format: eBook, ARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
'I love the Children's House series and Yrsa delivers again with The Doll. Such engaging characters and a compelling, twisted and creepy mystery - I couldn't put it down!' SHARI LAPENA
'Yrsa is a wonderful storyteller. Her stories are atmospheric, mysterious and brilliantly plotted ... you will never see the twists coming' MARI HANNAH
'A magnificent writer' KARIN SLAUGHTER
It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever.
They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll a terrifying sight and the mother's first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared.
Several years later and Detective Huldar is in his least favourite place - on a boat in rough waters, searching for possible human remains. However, identifying the skeleton they find on the seabed proves harder than initially thought, and Huldar must draw on psychologist Freyja's experience to help him. As the mystery of the unidentified body deepens, Huldar is also drawn into an investigation of a homeless drug addict's murder, and Freyja investigates a suspected case of child abuse at a foster care home.
What swiftly becomes clear is that the cases are linked through a single, missing, vulnerable witness: the young girl who wanted the doll all those years ago.
Taut, terrifying and impossible to put down, The Doll cements Yrsa Sigurdardottir's reputation as a master of storytelling tension and surprise.
The Doll is the fifth story in the Icelandic Freyja and Huldar series. The cover instantly had me at hello. I am a huge fan of the creepy and intriguing and that cover came from the horror gods. The Doll is discovered after being trawled by a fishing net in Faxafloi Bay by Rosa Thrastdottir. Five years later bones have been discovered in the same place as the Doll, is it a coincidence or is this more to this story than meets the eye? Also, serious sex abuse allegations have been made against Bergur Alvarsson. Three different stories and timelines but just how do they knit together?
The premise of the story is intriguing but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me, unfortunately. I’m unsure if it was because I came into it mid-series or if it just was too slow for me. I usually love stories set in Iceland and in Scandinavia, the atmosphere and the landscape were fantastic but I struggled to find myself amid the story. There is so much happening in the story, I felt the author had a lot of balls to juggle that I did find myself losing focus with the events occurring.
Child Psychologist, Freyja, and Detective Huldar are investigating just how all three events connect. The only constant they have is a girl called Rosa. After discovering the barnacled doll they took it home, her mother took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook. Her mother was found dead the next morning and no sign of the doll or the picture posted on Facebook. Rosa is connected to the boy making accusations of sex abuse but she is now missing. Could she have all the answers to make the events make sense?
You might think that this book is a horror from the front cover but it is not. The Doll isn’t a supernatural element to the story, it’s more a side note or coincidence. The writing was brilliant and the landscape was atmospheric, I just think that some things didn’t click for me, it certainly won’t stop me from reading future books written by Yrsa.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir is an award-winning, best-selling crime novelist from Iceland. She began her career writing humorous novels for children but made her crime fiction debut in 2005 with Last Rituals, the first installment in the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series. Her novels have been translated to 35 languages and in the UK she is published by Hodder. Her work stands “comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world” according to the Times Literary Supplement.
In addition to several stand-alone thrillers Yrsa has embarked on a new series featuring policeman Huldar and child psychologist Freyja. The first book in this series is The Legacy, published by Hodder UK in 2017, followed by the second installment The Reckoning in 2018. The Legacy received the Icelandic Crime book of the year award when it came out and went on to win the Danish prize for best translated crime fiction the following year. In 2015 Yrsa received the UK Petrona Award for best Scandinavian crime novel for Silence of the Sea.
A movie based on her standalone horror novel, I Remember You was premiered in 2017, while adaptation of the Thóra series for English language television is underway.
Yrsa is also a civil engineer and still works as such on geothermal and hydro power plant projects in her native Iceland.
Follow Yrsa on Twitter: @YrsaSig