THE CREAK ON THE STAIRS | Eva Björg Ægisdóttir
05.28.2020 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
The body of a woman has been found at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes. Chief Inspecting Officer Elma, who has recently returned to her hometown of Akranes to escape a failed relationship is placed on the case along with her colleagues, Sævar and Hörður. The investigation quickly reveals that the victim has a history with Akranes although it has been many years since she last stepped foot in the area. This dead woman’s past holds the key to her murder, but to get to the answer of why she was murdered, this investigative team must first uncover a series of long hidden crimes. With secrets comes danger and no one is safe who has a past connection with the victim.
THE CREAK ON THE STAIRS kicks off a new Nordic noir series featuring main character, Chief Inspecting Officer Elma. Our leading lady is not a weak or troubled police officer, but a strong-willed and determined woman who is unwilling to let any stone remain unturned. I loved tagging along with Elma and watching her investigate the case of our lighthouse victim. Early on we learn that Elma has moved back to Akranes to escape a failed relationship. The details of the relationship and what happened are kept from the reader until closer to the end of the novel. This is done as an element of intrigue for Elma’s storyline as opposed to having it make her a damaged character. I was immediately invested in Elma and watching her succeed with the case and her person struggles.
The setting of Akranes, a small town in Iceland, is the perfect backdrop for this story and a series based here. I loved the way that the town became its own character in this story. As with any small, tight knit community, Akranes is no different and holds a series of secrets about its residents, which of course makes investigating any case difficult. Relationships and reputations play a vital role in the way that clues to the victim’s fate are unfolded. It’s clear people are avoiding telling Elma the truth and her path to answers is anything but a straight line.
The pacing of THE CREAK ON THE STAIRS is methodically structured to create a slow-burn story that weaves passages from the past, told by our victim, into the present day case. These flashes back in time help the reader to piece together what the victim was hiding and what may have led to her death. I loved that these sections purposefully coincided with a revelation that Elma was making in the present day about the victim or a potential connected suspect. While the chapters aren’t overly short, they do seem to move quickly as the reader is deeply invested in the case from early on in the book.
I really loved this book and cannot wait to see what comes next for Elma!
Please be sure to check out all of the amazing bloggers heading up this tour!
A huge thank you to Orenda Books for my gifted copy!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.