Cover Image: The Absolution

The Absolution

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Member Reviews

Shelter in place and social distancing has at times left me unable to concentrate. I think we are all turning to different, comfort read. Mine seem to be mysteries. Seems strange I know, since there are deaths, but in a strange way I find it comforting that by books end the case is solved. No open ended dates, or waiting to see what comes next, unless of course there is a sequel.

Anyway, this mystery is set in Iceland and I love these Nordic settings. It also ties together nicely done current themes of our times, social media is one. The others I won't say as it will give to much away. I like these author, have read other books by her, and she does a very good job balancing interesting characters with a very good plot. Though there is dome graphic violence, it is not overdone. She is a very able storyteller.

ARC from Netgalley.
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I’m a fan of Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Having been to Iceland, I can almost envision the places and people she describes. I found this 3rd book in the series better then the first book, but that’s just my opinion.. I’ve love her characters and their interaction, and see it more in this book than the first. Took me time to wrap my head around this thriller !  This could be read as a stand alone if you’ve not read the other 2 in the series. .Definitely reading book 4 in this series, hoping there is another one. Definitely 5 star from me. 
Thanks to Netgalley, Minotaur publishing, and the author for this ARC.
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In this third installment of the Children’s House Series, Sigurdardottir writes a police procedural/thriller that delves into the murders of two teenagers.  When the killer leaves a note marked with number 2 and number 3 at the respective scenes, it leaves the police wondering what happened to number 1.  Set in Iceland, this book isn’t quite as atmospheric as the previous novels, but it was a well written, timely book on bullying and the lasting effects it causes not only the child being bullied, but the entire family.  With a host of characters (all with Icelandic names), it was sometimes hard to keep everyone straight.  It was a nice touch to have a pronunciation guide of the characters names at the beginning of the book.  While this says it’s book 3 of 3, I have really enjoyed this series and wouldn’t mind if there were several more!
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What is it about Nordic thrillers that makes them so exciting?!  This book takes on the topic of bullying and shows the effects - on the victims, the families - - and the bullies themselves.  The mystery unfolds slowly with plenty of clues - and plenty of surprises.
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This was a multi-layered thriller centering on teenagers that are murdered and the psychologist that is brought in to talk to the victims' friends. This thriller keeps the reader guessing to the very end.
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The Absolution follows The Reckoning as the third in Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Children's House thriller series, starring child psychologist Freyja and police Detective Huldar Huldar and set in Iceland.

This episode opens on the brutal murder of a young woman, who's first forced to beg for forgiveness (on Spapchat). Her body is marked with number '2'. More victims follow.

Gradually it becomes clear that extreme bullying is what the current victims had in common, their targets consistently let down by the school system.

The perp in The Absolution is quite a surprise. I enjoy the challenges of this complex series and like spending time with Sigurdardottir's leads, who are very fallible and very human.
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Wow!  This book deserves more then 5 stars!  Another amazing entry into the Nordic-Icelandic thriller genre and one that will definitely leave you wanting more!  

This story has to do with bullying and its affects on those on the receiving end and those that care about the person being tormented.  What this will lead to will make you think about the impact of bullying in any form, but especially on social media platforms today.  It's cruel and it's evil and sometimes you take all you can take.

Don't let me forget to tell you about the ending.  I was reading this on my Kindle and when I got to what I thought was the end of the chapter I discovered it was the end of the book!  No amount of swiping that screen was going to get me anywhere.  I literally gasped "No"!  Talk about leaving you hanging.

Highly recommended!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this advanced copy.

Yrsa Sigurdadottir’s third book in the Children’s House series takes Huldar, the policeman, and Freyja, the child psychologist, on a manhunt for a killer who is targeting school bullies. With hardly any clues and no suspects, the team of police go in one direction, while Freyja follows a different trail. 

Stymied by people who hide the truth from the police, the team must struggle through the investigation, until the right clues are finally unearthed. Eventually, the team unravels the mystery, and finds a surprising plot to punish school bullies.
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I really wanted to like this book because it is blurbed by Karin Slaughter, and she’s one of my favorite authors. I’m not sure why, but this book was a big disappointment to me. I liked the beginning parts about the crimes, but it went downhill.

Stella is taken from her job at a movie theater and murdered. There’s a 2 under her body, and no one knows what this means.

Hudlar is the detective assigned to the case, and there’s also Freyja, the child psychologist. Both are working from different angles to see what happened to Stella. The police search through footage, but they are no closer to finding the killer. Freyja is interviewing classmates to see if anyone knew what could have happened to Stella. Her classmates actually saw the murder on Snapchat, but no one has answers.

Then they find out Stella was a terrible bully. She was setting up a horrible website about a classmate and even trying to sell her classmate online like a sex worker. Her phone shows up in the mailbox of a woman, but she says she has no idea why. Clearly, she’s connected somehow. 

Then a teen boy goes missing and his body is found with a 3. There’s also Snapchat messages sent out about him as well. They contact someone who specializes in bullying, but there aren’t clear answers yet.

Normally I like police procedural books, but this one got so boring. I didn’t care about the characters and their lives. All the minute details of their lives were so boring to me, and I had a hard time finishing the book with all the extraneous details about everything. None of the characters were interesting, and I was annoyed that apparently Huldar and Freyja become a couple because there seems to no be no chemistry.

It was interesting to see how bullying interwove all the events, and I liked the gruesome parts. Not sure if I’d read more from the series, but I did like the gruesome. That was the only highlight for me. I ended up skimming towards the end. I will say the ending was super creepy, and I loved it.

Thank you NetGalley and St Martins Press for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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4 1/2 stars for this brilliant police procedural that is dark, layered, and beautifully written.

First I must say how surprised I am that I liked this book so much. I went into it not really expecting much because I'm not the biggest police procedural fan, but this book made a believer out of me. In its simplest form, this is police procedural, but I found it to be so much more than that. First off, the author is incredibly talented and even though this is a translation, I found it to be smooth, clear, and cleverly written. I don't really like to discuss plot in a review (I never want to give anything away) but the basic plot of this book is that there is a serial killer targeting teenagers and is using Snapchat to send videos of their murders. It also deals with bullying and the effects it has on its victims. Although the subject was dark, there were some elements of relief from the dark subject matter in the form of the characters. Sometimes with police procedurals, characters take the back seat and it is all about the crime that is to be solved. That isn't the case for this book and the two main characters, Freyja and Huldar. There are other characters worth mentioning, Erla and Gudlaugur. The banter between the characters broke up the darkness surrounding the crime to be solved. 

So as I said earlier, I loved this book which is surprising to me because I don't always enjoy reading police procedurals. I will admit, it took a little while for me to get into this book but when I did, I could not put it down. This is the third installment on the author's Children's House series but I feel like it could be read as a standalone. However, I am definitely going to go back and read the other two books because I loved this one so much. This is my first Scandinavian crime novel and I am sure it won't be my last. This book deals with childhood trauma, its multifaceted, with a cast of characters that truly make the book. If you like police procedurals I think this would be a great book to read.
Thanks to The NetGalley team at St. Martin's Press for the egalley. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir has a new fan in me and I am excited to read more of her work.
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The Absolution proves the "Queen of Icelandic Fiction" crown remains firmly on the head of Yrsa Sigurdardottir. The latest book in her Children's House Series is as good as you'd expect. These Freyja and Huldar thrillers are as entertaining as any series you can hope to read today. Sigurdardottir skillfully builds a plot around the timely topic of bullying and the tragic consequences which can arise from it. The book features the wit, charm, and cleverness we've come to expect from the author. The book is twisty enough to keep you guessing until the very end.
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No spoilers for this complex tale of social media, cyberbullying, and murder.  Talk about Nordic noir- this one has it all!  Detective Holder and Freya, a child psychologist, find themselves dealing with the murder of a 16 year old which is broadcast on Snapchat. The thing is, a note with the number 2 was found with her body, which means, they assume, that there's a one so the race is on to not only find that victim but also insure there aren't more.  You also know that there's more to these teens than meets the eye.  Readers of the genre know that Huldar and Freya won't be successful, that there will be more death.  These two are terrific characters.  I read this as a standalone and was quite satisfied.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  This one is twisty.
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Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC. 

I'm a longtime reader of Yrsa Sigurdardottir's books and have always walked away happy after reading them. This is no exception.

Holder and Freya are fantastic characters as individuals and as a couple and I really hope we get more of them.

As always, Yrsa excels in police procedurals and its everyday life of the staff. The pettiness and jealousy over positions really flesh out the characters.

The overall storyline of bullying is very today. Whether in school or an office. The killings are rather gruesome. (I like gruesome.) There was a very tidy wrap up at the end. Very much recommend.
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4 and 1 / 2 stars

Stella works at a local movie theater. When she is horribly murdered while closing alone at work, the number “2” is found under her body. Does this mean there is a number “1?”

Detective Huldar joins the investigation. Huldar is not popular at the station, either with his colleagues or his boss Erla. He works with a fairly new partner named Gudlaugur who is terribly shy, but has the makings of a good copper. 

The police go through the security camera recordings and the ticket sales to see if they can identify a lone man who might have attacked and killed the sixteen-year old girl. They get precisely nowhere with the lists or the recordings, even with the assistance of psychologist Freyja. 

They then get the information that Stella was a bully. Her father went ballistic at the school a couple of times. They interview Stella's friends, but feel they are holding something back. When Stella's phone is dropped into someone's mailbox, the police interview the two women who live there. But they strongly suspect the woman named Asta is also not telling the complete truth.

A teenager named Egill goes missing. Is he also a bully? Is he going to be next? Frantic searches for him turn up nothing. Freyja re-thinks her idea about bullying and contacts a psychologist who specializes in bullying. Egill eventually is found and turns out to be victim number “3.” 

Huldar and Freyja almost simultaneously come up with ideas about who might be the perpetrator in the murders. 

This book deals with the very real and current issue of bullying in schools. We all know how cruel children can be, but these young people have taken abuse to the extreme. How frustrated the parents of the abused child must get – if they are aware of it. The solution to the case turns out to be very twisted and has some surprises. This is a very good book, although I tired of the battle between Huldar and his boss Erla. Huldar didn't seem to have a very engaging personality. And Erla – well...I wanted to shake her or slap her or something.  It is written in Ms. Sigurdardottir's usual forthright manner and with few side trips. One event follows another logically. I must admit that I do not like this series as much as I like the Thora Gudmundsdottir novels. 

I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for forwarding to me a copy of this book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir is quite intriguing. The characters were interesting, and each had their own story arcs, which kept the action going and made me want to read more as I finished each chapter. 

I did not feel I missed anything by reading this book, which is book 3 in the series. It can be read as a standalone book.

The book dealt with bullying and social media and the effects each can have on a person directly or indirectly involved, even many years later. The author does a good job of describing how peers can intimidate those they feel are weaker or have a slight difference from themselves. It also shows how it affects adults in the child's life. 

The author did a nice job of creating a good mystery and how the character's weaved in and out of the storyline. The reveal and ending were satisfying.

A solid read overall.
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Yrsa Sigurdardottir is a great writer and it shows. Her procedurals are a little more conventional than her standalone novels but the sense of unease the reader gets while unravelling the knots is undoubtable. We get a long list of suspects and red herrings. Most characters are hiding something but is it related to the case? Freyja gets involved against her will when Detective Huldar calls her in to deal with the young witnesses. A teenage girl has been murdered and the whole thing was posted on Snapchat. Picturing those images in my head, the creepiness of the killer, the terrified girl hiding in the bathroom and the Snapchat posts made my skin crawl. From then on the story focuses more on the investigation and interviews but, again, a boy disappears and that chapter was truly terrifying. Then an interview with a witness, and the very last sentence... brief but powerful images that can give a grownup nightmares. I again wish Freyja had more to do and that her life wasn't so terrible. She and Huldar are not completely likable but I still want them to do well. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/St. Martin's Press!
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My first reading of this author was LAST RITUALS,  and immediately I was devoted. I've also was over the top with MY SOUL TO TAKE and I REMEMBER YOU.  This one? Not so much; although the first chapter,  read immediately before bedtime,  kept me awake all night. 


THE ABSOLUTION balances a lot of violence with deeply delineated characterization and a psychological-sociological approach to one of  today's pressing societal issues: Bullying--and specifically how Social Media acts as a flamethrower on the victims of Bullying--inescapable, horrific, boxing them in, sometimes with the consequence of  suicide.


Multiple characters here conceal multiple secrets, and the backstories and the current consequences are often horrific, dangerous--and even fatal.




[Note: The flamethrower and "boxing in" analogies are solely my interpretation, and are not paraphrasing of the author. ]
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Yrsa Siguroardottir may be my new favorite writer. Her latest book, The Absolution, is a brilliantly plotted, complex page turner that places her at the top of the Nordic noir authors. There is much to be said about this novel, but if I had to distill this review into a single word it would be this: layered. Yrsa's storyline, characters, descriptions – and even her setting – defy simple explanations. The further I read, the more I came to understand why she is touted as the queen of Icelandic crime fiction. Which is not to say the book is for everyone: this is a dark, brutal story about bullying set in a bleak moral landscape. If you're looking for a fun, fast read with a neat ending, The Absolution is not for you. On the other hand, if you're a fan of noir fiction and police procedurals that touch on social issues, the third installment in the Childen's House series may be exactly what you're looking for.

Told mostly from the perspectives of Huldur, a Reykjavik police detective, and Freyja, a child psychologist, the novel begins with the murder of a popular teenager at a local cinema. What makes this murder even more gruesome than usual is that the attacker uses the victim's own Snapchat account to broadcast her death to her followers. Not only must viewers cope with the loss of a close friend, but they must also witness what may well be her last moments. However, it soon becomes clear the murdered girl and her friends are not simply victims. They may appear to blithely share every aspect of their lives on social media, but they are hiding secrets – secrets that are as disturbing as they are dangerous. Huldur soon becomes part of the case, as does Freyja, and the story follows their efforts to catch the killer before anyone else dies. Though it is not the focus of the novel, their relationship and its difficulties also held my interest. Both Freyja and Huldur are likeable characters but I can't say whether they should be together or not, which is a nice change from the usual dynamic. And like all Yrsa's characters, they seem terribly human, with the usual stash of flaws and insecurities tucked away beneath competent exteriors. Even the darker characters in this novel are terribly human (though with more of an emphasis on “terrible”). While the acts themselves are heinous, the moral landscape in The Absolution is as gray as the Icelandic sky, with the line between good and evil hopelessly blurred. Ironically, that blurred morality becomes crystal clear on the last page, which is fantastically chilling.

On a final note, I want to say that one reason this novel resonated so deeply with me is that its topic is one that has affected me personally. I have also known more than one person who has suffered the consequences of bullying, including cyberbullying—consequences that won't ever be undone. Sadly, I don't think I'm alone in this. Cyberbullying has become so common nowadays it seems no one is untouched. So I was glad to see Yrsa raise the issue in The Absolution. That said, it's a good idea to go into this novel with the understanding that bullying, as well as suicide, are central to the story.

Much thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to the next book in the series, as well as anything else Yrsa may write. Highly recommended
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Another page turner by yrsa Sigurdardottir.  Very human characters, bare bones plot and a jaw dropping ending.
she never fails to deliver an engrossing crime/mystery.  Plan on staying up late.
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When current events and social media outlets become part of the criminal enterprise...
This is one such case in which we have bodies being unearthed and placed upon Snapchat with a numbered system of victims.
Unfortunately, the system is flawed as the first victim is missing?!
The teens are not perfect by any means in this case but what's mind blowing is the fact that the killer may not be done yet and in fact may only have only just begun.
This was precision in writing both literally and figuratively that made readers feel every human and raw emotion surface with each new twist and turn that presented itself.
The angles this one took was superb as even the investigator and child psychologist were stumped as they tried to move the case forward.
With so many splendid and lively characters it's anyone's guess as to who is the criminal, the killer, the motivator, and perhaps even the leader.
What's important to note is that cases like this involve(s) someone close to the victim(s) so could this be the case?
Are the victims being targeted?
Are these teens out of control and in need of supervision?
Could there be another motivator in all of this dark and disturbing sequence of events?
Bullying, sexual orientation, and murder are just some of the heavy topics being addressed for those who are squeamish.
This was one heck of a thriller that I'd highly recommend with an ending that was quite elusive yet draining on the psyche. 
Magical all around!!
Loved it!
Thank you to YRSA and her publisher for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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