A murder is just the beginning: Dead Sweet by Katrín Júlíusdóttir tr. Quentin Bates #bookreview #DeadSweet

A murder is just the beginning…
When Óttar Karlsson, a wealthy and respected government official and businessman, is found murdered, after failing to turn up at his own surprise birthday party, the police are at a loss. It isn’t until young police officer Sigurdís finds a well-hidden safe in his impersonal luxury apartment that clues start emerging.
As Óttar’s shady business dealings become clear, a second, unexpected line of enquiry emerges, when Sigurdís finds a US phone number in the safe, along with papers showing regular money transfers to an American account. Following the trail to Minnesota, trauma rooted in Sigurdís’s own childhood threatens to resurface and the investigation strikes chillingly close to home…
Atmospheric, deeply unsettling and full of breakneck twists and turns, Dead Sweet is a startling debut thriller that uncovers a terrifying world of financial crime, sinister cults and disturbing secret lives, and kicks off an addictive, mind-blowing new series.


Hi and welcome to my review of Dead Sweet!

I saw Dead Sweet described as a political thriller,  which did give me pause because I’m not terribly fond of political thrillers and the last one I gave a try turned out to be so political, I decided to DNF it cos it bored the pants off me 🙈 However, in Orenda Books I trust, they are not my favourite publisher for nothing, and I’m happy I did, because Dead Sweet turned out to be a lush, multi-faceted thriller I just couldn’t get enough of. 

I can’t even begin to tell you about all the storylines in play! As the tagline says, it starts with a murder but that’s just the beginning. As the police are trying to solve this murder case, they follow a lead that points to the US and they also unearth a bit of a cesspool in Iceland. All in all, it would seem that the victim, a well-regarded government official, was not as lily-white as he appeared to be.

Meanwhile, Sigurdís, one of the police officers working the case, is trying really hard to keep her past from becoming an even bigger part of her present than it has been so far. 

Interspersing all of these threads, are glimpses at the past, of diary entries about Mr Sweet. It’s clear as day this mysterious Mr Sweet is shady as hell and the person whose thoughts we’ve been made privy to, is completely taken in by him. I had actual chills and a looming sense of foreboding that spurred me on, whose diary are we reading, who is Mr Sweet?

I figured it all out about 5 seconds before the big reveal (what a terrific armchair detective I make 🙄😄) but in hindsight, the truth was right there all along. The journey was definitely entertaining but it’s only at the end that I fully appreciated just how clever this author really is. Two and two were staring me in the face the whole time but I failed to put them together.

I had a fantastic time with Dead Sweet, it’s an accomplished debut, expertly translated by Quentin Bates, and I can’t wait to find out where Katrín Júlíusdóttir will take me next. Recommended, especially to fans of Scandi Noir.

Dead Sweet is out on 7 December. Pre-order it directly from Orenda Books here.

Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the digital ARC. All opinions are my own.

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