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Thursday 14 June 2018

‘Kin’ by Snorri Kristjansson

Published by Quercus Books,
8 March 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78648-901-2

The family is coming home: violent Karl, huge Bjorn, feisty Jorunn and clever Aslak. Tensions rise, and soon there’s murder ...

This Viking noir novel mostly follows the adopted daughter of the house, Helga Finnsdottir. She’s in her teens, grateful to her ‘parents’, but also ready to spread her wings. She’s learning guile from her ‘mother’, but she also has a mystical intuitive sense of her own. Helga watches the family arrive – helpfully spread over several chapters, so that we get a grip on one brother before the next one comes, although there were times I wished for a quick-check family tree. Soon the quarrels begin, over inheritance, rumours of treasure and illicit affairs. Their father, former raider Unnthor, and his determined, clever wife Hildigunnur, are hard put to contain their children. All the characters were vividly drawn and felt like people of their time. The historical background was also unerringly sketched in, vivid without being overdone – I was particularly impressed by the description of one funeral, which came straight from the latest studies of Birka graves. I loved the use of modern slang language, rough and ready, as suited the characters, without being anachronistic.

A highly readable Viking family murder, with an engaging heroine and convincing historical detail. Recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Snorri Kristjansson was born in Reykjavik in 1974. He has since lived in Norway, London and now Edinburgh with his wife, where he dabbles in classical acting and stand-up comedy while teaching English.  His fantasy series, The Valhalla Saga, and his crime series, Kin and Council, are published by Jo Fletcher Books. They both have Vikings in, so expect moderate cursing and beards,

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Death in Shetland Waters

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