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The Killing Bay is the second in a series of books set in the Faroe Islands (the first is The Blood Strand.) The books begins with British detective Jan Reyna recovering from an injury in the Faroes.
We find out that Reyna is Faroese, but has been raised in England by relatives. The book begins with Reyna attending the funeral of his long-estranged father. His mother, who had lived a troubled life, died when Reyna was young. The result is that Reyna has a complicated relationship with the Faroes – in many senses, he’s an outsider, but he’s also attempting to reconnect with his roots.
There are two main forks to the story. One aspect of the story follows Reyna’s search for information about the death of his mother. He was always told it was a suicide, but as he digs deeper, he begins to question this. Some people aren’t very willing to talk, but he’s eventually able to pry a few bits and pieces of information out of people.
While Reyna is doing his investigation, another story unfolds. Protestors have come to the Faroes to protest a whale grind (hunt). Shortly after a confrontation between the protestors and locals, one of the protestors turns up dead. Local detective Hjalti Hentze is called to the scene. At first glance, it appears to obviously be connected to the whale protests – but is it possible the scene has been staged?
After a possible connection to his own family surfaces, Hentze finds himself off the case. He’s convinced that a fellow investigator is barking up the wrong tree and enlists Reyna to help him. Then some crucial evidence goes missing, and Hentze is convinced that someone is trying to influence the outcome of the investigation – but why?
I found the story quite interesting. I was only vaguely aware of the Faroes prior to reading the book. The culture of the Faroes lends an interesting background to the book. Having one party of the storyline (Reyna’s search for the truth about his mother’s death) continue is a good way to build anticipation for the next book in the series. I find myself wanting to go back and read Blood Strand in order to read the first part of that story.
The characters in the book are well-developed. There are good guys, assholes, and plenty of characters who are a mixture of both. In particular, I found Reyna very likeable. When I perceived the hint of a future love interest with a younger woman toward the end of the book, I found myself looking forward to the next book in the series, in hopes that the relationship does indeed develop.
The book is an interesting mystery on its own merits. The background of the Faroes is an added bonus, giving it a unique flavor. I definitely recommend it.
The Killing Bay goes on sale February 21.
[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Killing Bay for review purposes.]
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