Hodder & Stoughton
The light spilling in from the corridor would have to do. Though weak, it was sufficient to show Aldís a boy sitting in the gloom at the furthest table. He had his back to her, so she couldn’t see who it was, but could tell that he was one of the youngest. A chill ran down her spine when he spoke again, without turning, as if he had eyes in the back of his head. ‘Go away. Leave me alone.’
‘Come on. You shouldn’t be here.’ Aldís spoke gently, fairly sure now that the boy must be delirious. Confused, rather than dangerous.
He turned, slowly and deliberately, and she glimpsed black eyes in a pale face. ‘I wasn’t talking to you.’
Aldis is working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland. She witnesses something deeply disturbing in the middle of the night; soon afterwards, two of the boys at the centre are dead.
Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre following the unexplained death of the colleague who was previously running the investigation. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?
A very topical theme – the historic abuse of children in care – mixed with a little mystery/superstition/ hint of the paranormal/horror but in the end this intriguing narrative delivers a very powerful, of this world evil, that you just won’t see coming!
The beginning has a very seductive but sad emotional hook – we are privy to the end of Odin and his daughter’s life (no spoilers here), then we are introduced via flashbacks and various view points to a lives in a children’s home; grim, grey and almost without hope – for the residents and the workers alike. Chapters relating to past and present time zones evoke a feeling of dread and the potential of horror and things that go bump in the night…
The end is powerful and hints that this story may not be over!