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.
Published by Canongate Books on August 5, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Psychological, Suspense
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
A remote island. An isolated community. A terrible secret. If the new District Sheriff, Tristan Haraldsen, thought moving to a remote village on the island of Vagar would be the chance for a peaceful life with his wife Elsebeth, his first few weeks in office swiftly correct him of that notion. Provoked into taking part in the village’s whale hunt against his will, Haraldsen blunders badly, and in the ensuing chaos two local boys go missing. Blaming himself, Haraldsen dives into the investigation and soon learns that the boys are not the first to have gone missing on Vagar. As Tristan and Elsebeth become increasingly ensnared by the island’s past, they realise its wild beauty hides an altogether uglier and sinister truth.
Dark and hypnotising. Devil’s Fjord is a Nordic based mystery that tantalises with its mystery and its intrigue.
Devil’s Fjord really excels at displaying its tragic atmosphere. In its beauty is a life that is behind the times and traditional to the Faroe Islands. Its inhabitants are ruled by the waters and fishing is all they know. The young have vanished to find a life that will enrich them beyond anything they could find in Djevulsfjord on the isle of Vagar. Those that are left, find themselves in astronomical amounts of debt to the Thomsens. What they give with one hand they take with the other. Landowners and with owning the only local shop, they have them all in their back pocket.
Devil’s Fjord however, has a darkness seeping out of its very core. The ex-sheriff was killed on the island by means of a hit and run. A man called Kaspar Gunting was found dead, the disappearance of Police Officer Hanna Olsen’s brother, Soren, and now the mysterious disappearance of two young boys, who happen to be Kasper’s nephews, throws up a lot of red flags to newly appointed Sherriff, Tristan Haraldsen. His medical retirement from his role as Police Administrator in Torshavn has led him and his wife, Elsabeth to Djevulsfjord, their dream of living in somewhere remote becoming a reality with his new position of Sheriff.
The setting of this story was my favourite part. I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia and the depictions of the Northern Lights had me sighing in wonderment. There is just something so magical about those lights and the landscape made it all the more special. What I didn’t enjoy, was the descriptions of Whale slaughter. Yes, I know it’s their way of life, and it’s a brutal landscape and it takes brutal means to survive but Christ, it really was vivid, and I nearly gave up with the book on that alone.
The writing in Devil’s Fjord was tantalisingly delicious. David Hewson knows how to string a storyline, and I really felt like I was transported into the pages of the book. The mystery lurking in the background felt like a presence, the island holding its own court, it has its own secrets, its own life. Devil’s Fjord is essentially a story about abuse and control. Two young boys and their place within a patriarch focussed family. The women are at the liberty of the men, you can feel their pain and you sense a great sense of guilt from all inhabitants of Djevulsfjord.
Will Tristen Haraldsen get to the root cause of the mystery, but will it be too late to alter the course of events? I look forward to checking out this author’s back catalogue it was the descriptions of animal cruelty that turned my stomach.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
One way or another I’ve spent my entire life earning a crust through the written word. I left school at the age of seventeen to become a cub reporter on the Scarborough Evening News, one of the smallest newspapers in the country. Over the next two decades I worked for The Times, Independent and Sunday Times as a journalist.
But the hankering to write fiction never went away. My first book Semana Santa, now reissued as Death in Seville, appeared in 1995 and was later turned into a movie with Mira Sorvino. Since then I’ve written more than twenty different books in various locations around the world.
In 2011, with my good friend A.J. Hartley, I branched into audiobook adaptations with Macbeth: A Novel, narrated by Alan Cumming. Now we’ve added Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel to the audio portfolio, this time narrated by Richard Armitage.
After writing eleven books set in Italy, nine featuring the young Roman cop Nic Costa, I went to Copenhagen for the three novel adaptations of The Killing series. After that I turned to Amsterdam with a series set around Pieter Vos, a detective who lives on the Prinsengracht canal. In 2016 I returned to the audio world with Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, once again narrated by the superlative Richard Armitage.
I returned to audio in 2019 for Last Seen Wearing, a full-blown drama set in New York for Audible. The same year saw the release of a new standalone too, Devil’s Fjord, set on the Faroe Islands and another Audible Original Shooter in the Shadows.
There’s more in the works but I have a rule… don’t mention it until it’s scheduled. So stay tuned…
I live near Canterbury in Kent. The photo above is available for general use, but please give a credit to Dingena Mol and Crimezone who took it in the bar of De Eland in Amsterdam, the fictional Drie Vaten in the Vos books.