Retired detective Konrad returns to a cold case in this Icelandic thriller: a frozen body discovered in the icy depths of Langjökull glacier, apparently that of a businessman who disappeared 30 years earlier. The man's associate had been a suspect but was never charged with a crime, but his arrest now—along with new information in the case—sparks Konrad to review the crime with fresh eyes.
The mystery at the core of The Darkness Knows is compelling, all the more so because it goes from the complex to the simple rather than the other way around. Readers may come for the crime but will stay for the personalities that pepper the narrative throughout. Konrad is quietly compelling and sympathetic, though not entirely likable, a combination of qualities that paradoxically makes him all the more endearing. Indridason fully fleshes out his protagonist using introspection and memorable secondary characters in equal measure to do so. However, the primary character is Iceland in general and Reykjavik in particular, a backdrop that most American readers will not have the opportunity to visit but will come to know intimately through the subtlety of Indridason’s descriptions, which sculpt and carve a vision of the locale with each novel he writes.
... [an] invigoratingly atmospheric thriller ... The theme of atonement in The Darkness Knows isn't restricted to the professional realm: as Konrád follows what seem like long-shot leads, he delves deeply into his own personal shortcomings and demons. Indridason...also manages to imbue his keen and nimble thriller with a cautionary note about global warming's effects—on Iceland in general and on the glacier that hosted the murdered man in particular.
In this rewarding gumshoe investigation focused on complex deceptions and unlikely coincidences, introspective Konrád faces his failures, both in marriage and policing here, and finds resolution, if not peace.