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By Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Publisher: St Martin's Press/Minotaur
Publication Date: 2/17/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, Yrsa Sigurdardottir’slatest complex crime thriller (Thora Gudmundsdottir #5 Series)reminding you of the classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,with this multi-layered dark spine-chilling psycho- Nordic noir.
Set in Iceland, a fire, an arson eighteen months earlier. A young man, Jakob with Down's Syndrome had been convicted of burning down a residential assisted living facility and killing five people.
A fellow inmate of the Secure Psychiatric Unit (SPU) at Sogan has requested Thor’s assistance, and says Jakob is his friend. He is twenty years old and may spend the rest of his life here. Karlsoon says Jakob did not do it, and wants Thora to prove it.
Until 1992, prisoners with mental health problems had either been placed in institutions aboard or simply kept among the general population at Litla-Hraun prison. Neither option was ideal. The first option: the language barrier, untold hardships and the distance from their family and friends. The latter: The prison was not an adequate healthcare facility.
Thora did not know how well the prisoners considered to be of sound mind would interact with those suffering from mental illness, and she could not imagine how the harsh conditions of prison life could possibly be conducive to the treatment of the criminally insane. All seven places at Sogna were always occupied.
The guy hiring her is no run of the mill inmate, due to lack of evidence in several cases, he received suspended sentence of six years for false imprisonment. Twelve years later he sexually assaulted a teen, and this time there was no neighbor who intervened. However, when reading through the records, the police had received an anonymous tip telling them exactly where to find certain things.
He was found guilty but declared no criminally liable due to insanity. This meant he was acquitted of criminal charged and sentenced to the SPU, until the court proposed he was no longer a threat. He now has been here eight years and says he has inherited money from his mother. And he says, “A child who’s had their fingers burned might still want to play with tire. “ (now wonder what he means by this) we soon find out.
The mystery heats up as one case turns into several involving arson, murder, rape, and financial corruption. Thora continues to receive texts from an unidentified sender who seems to be feeding her enigmatic clues. A mysterious set of numbers and letters appears in a text, as well as on a frosted window and in the drawings of an autistic boy. Then, there is a haunted house and a ghost. And how is the multiple murder connected to the death of a young woman, killed in what was supposed to be a hit-and-run?
Wow, Thora is really thrown into a complex case(s), and in addition dealing with the disabled, family of those with disabilities, as well as the world of rehabilitation, she is dealing with criminals--she has to question.
There are numerous pieces to this mysterious puzzle and Thora is tenacious, in getting to the core to connect all the dots. At the same time she relates to Iceland's recent financial and economical issues, and other items of reference to provide vivid descriptions and settings of the area. Many secondary characters, with twists and turns for a complex multi-layered engrossing suspense, and the cases all come together for an explosive ending.
Well written and intense, with extensive research into mental illness, emotional and social issues, with a nice balance of Thora’s work and personal life. My first book by this author, and look forward to reading more!