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The Absolution

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The Absolution is the third installment in Queen of Icelandic crime fiction Yrsa Sigurdard�ttir's series about the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar. The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows a terrified young woman begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number "2". Detective Huldar j The Absolution is the third installment in Queen of Icelandic crime fiction Yrsa Sigurdard�ttir's series about the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar. The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows a terrified young woman begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number "2". Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager's friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim, but who could have hated her enough to kill? Then another teenager goes missing, more clips are sent to social media, and the body with a "3" is found. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. The killer is not done yet. And is there an undiscovered body carrying the number "1" out there?


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The Absolution is the third installment in Queen of Icelandic crime fiction Yrsa Sigurdard�ttir's series about the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar. The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows a terrified young woman begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number "2". Detective Huldar j The Absolution is the third installment in Queen of Icelandic crime fiction Yrsa Sigurdard�ttir's series about the psychologist Freyja and the police officer Huldar. The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows a terrified young woman begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number "2". Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager's friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim, but who could have hated her enough to kill? Then another teenager goes missing, more clips are sent to social media, and the body with a "3" is found. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. The killer is not done yet. And is there an undiscovered body carrying the number "1" out there?

30 review for The Absolution

  1. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Content/Trigger warnings: bullying, cyberbullying, suicide attempts. This is my first book witten by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, but it won't be the last. The topic of this well-plotted and well-written police procedural was dark and painful, but we still need to talk about it. Sixteen-year-old Stella has just finished her shift working in the cinema. She lets her workmates know her boyfriend is coming to drive her home and they happily leave her in their hurry to catch their bus home. While Stella is wa Content/Trigger warnings: bullying, cyberbullying, suicide attempts. This is my first book witten by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, but it won't be the last. The topic of this well-plotted and well-written police procedural was dark and painful, but we still need to talk about it. Sixteen-year-old Stella has just finished her shift working in the cinema. She lets her workmates know her boyfriend is coming to drive her home and they happily leave her in their hurry to catch their bus home. While Stella is waiting and refreshing herself in the bathroom, she receives a snapchat image of herself from a stranger, and then she hears footsteps... A tall broad-shouldered man in a Darth Vader mask makes a video of Stella repeatedly saying 'Sorry, sorry, sorry' and sends it to all her contacts. When the police hear from Stella's frantic boyfriend who was late by ten minutes and aslo received the terrifying videos, they start looking for Stella without much hope she'll be found alive. Among other witnesses, the police hear from Stella's close friends and it becomes clear that the girls are hiding something. The series has two protagonists: Detective Huldar, smart, good-looking, messed-up, and a child psychologist Freyia who works in Children's Home and is used to dealing with traumatised children and adolescents. Freyja notices a girl, Stellas' classmate, who seems to have a different reaction to the news of Stella's murder. It turns out the girl was severely bullied by the angelic Stella and her clique. When Freyja suggests checking out this angle, the police are not convinced. Stella's body is found lying in a car park and there is a piece of paper with number 2 underneath. Does it mean there is Victim Number 1 whose body is lying somewhere? and where is Egill, another teenager whose abduction was accompanied by harrowing Snapchat videos? One of my favourite books of all time is 'Cat's eye' by Margaret Atwood. Among other brilliantly explored topics, it deals with the psychology of a bully and possible reasons for becoming one. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir focuses on a different aspect: the effect bullying has on the victims' parents and this is why I got goosebumps on my skin. In her attempts to help the investigation, Freyja reaches to her own childhood and adolescence experience of being bullied and the effort it took to pull through that period of her life. She knows getting help is vital, but how often schools do not look too closely into suspicious incidents, knowing they'd be opening a can of worms, hoping the children will 'work this out'? how often tired and overworked teachers miss the signals until the situation becomes desperate? We live in the world where technology has given bullies more ways to harass and abuse their victims. It is important to be aware of cyberbullying and do everything possible to report and stop it. Yrsa Sigurðardóttir rightly (and necessarily) points out, nobody (even the worst kind of bully) deserves to become a victim of horrific violence and murder descibed in the book, and the perpetrators need to be brought to justice, but it isn't easy to break the vicious circle which changes and scars everybody involved. A bully may become bullied and vice versa, as the brilliant ending to this gripping novel shows. There is also help and understanding you can reach for in people like Freyja who know how to listen and care to act. Thank you to Edelweiss and Minotaur for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion. 4.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Shelter in place and social distancing has at times left me unable to concentrate. I think we are all turning to different, comfort read. Mine seem to be mysteries. Seems strange I know, since there are deaths, but in a strange way I find it comforting that by books end the case is solved. No open ended dates, or waiting to see what comes next, unless of course there is a sequel. Anyway, this mystery is set in Iceland and I love these Nordic settings. It also ties together nicely done current the Shelter in place and social distancing has at times left me unable to concentrate. I think we are all turning to different, comfort read. Mine seem to be mysteries. Seems strange I know, since there are deaths, but in a strange way I find it comforting that by books end the case is solved. No open ended dates, or waiting to see what comes next, unless of course there is a sequel. Anyway, this mystery is set in Iceland and I love these Nordic settings. It also ties together nicely done current themes of our times, social media is one. The others I won't say as it will give to much away. I like these author, have read other books by her, and she does a very good job balancing interesting characters with a very good plot. Though there is dome graphic violence, it is not overdone. She is a very able storyteller. ARC from Netgalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lamothe

    Yrsa Siguroardottir may be my new favorite writer. Her latest book, The Absolution, is a brilliantly plotted, complex page turner that places her at the top of the Nordic noir authors. There is much to be said about this novel, but if I had to distill this review into a single word it would be this: layered. Yrsa's storyline, characters, descriptions – and even her setting – defy simple explanations. The further I read, the more I came to understand why she is touted as the queen of Icelandic cr Yrsa Siguroardottir may be my new favorite writer. Her latest book, The Absolution, is a brilliantly plotted, complex page turner that places her at the top of the Nordic noir authors. There is much to be said about this novel, but if I had to distill this review into a single word it would be this: layered. Yrsa's storyline, characters, descriptions – and even her setting – defy simple explanations. The further I read, the more I came to understand why she is touted as the queen of Icelandic crime fiction. Which is not to say the book is for everyone: this is a dark, brutal story about bullying set in a bleak moral landscape. If you're looking for a fun, fast read with a neat ending, The Absolution is not for you. On the other hand, if you're a fan of noir fiction and police procedurals that touch on social issues, the third installment in the Children's House series may be exactly what you're looking for. Told mostly from the perspectives of Huldur, a Reykjavik police detective, and Freyja, a child psychologist, the novel begins with the murder of a popular teenager at a local cinema. What makes this murder even more gruesome than usual is that the attacker uses the victim's own Snapchat account to broadcast her death to her followers. Not only must viewers cope with the loss of a close friend, but they must also witness what may well be her last moments. However, it soon becomes clear the murdered girl and her friends are not simply victims. They may appear to blithely share every aspect of their lives on social media, but they are hiding secrets – secrets that are as disturbing as they are dangerous. Huldur soon becomes part of the case, as does Freyja, and the story follows their efforts to catch the killer before anyone else dies. Though it is not the focus of the novel, their relationship and its difficulties also held my interest. Both Freyja and Huldur are likeable characters but I can't say whether they should be together or not, which is a nice change from the usual dynamic. And like all Yrsa's characters, they seem terribly human, with the usual stash of flaws and insecurities tucked away beneath competent exteriors. Even the darker characters in this novel are terribly human (though with more of an emphasis on “terrible”). While the acts themselves are heinous, the moral landscape in The Absolution is as gray as the Icelandic sky, with the line between good and evil hopelessly blurred. Ironically, that blurred morality becomes crystal clear on the last page, which is fantastically chilling. On a final note, I want to say that one reason this novel resonated so deeply with me is that its topic is one that has affected me personally. I have also known more than one person who has suffered the consequences of bullying, including cyberbullying—consequences that won't ever be undone. Sadly, I don't think I'm alone in this. Cyberbullying has become so common nowadays it seems no one is untouched. So I was glad to see Yrsa raise the issue in The Absolution. That said, it's a good idea to go into this novel with the understanding that bullying, as well as suicide, are central to the story. Much thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to the next book in the series, as well as anything else Yrsa may write. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. (2019 in English, 2016 in Icelandic). (Children's House/Freyja & Huldar, #3). The police find out about the crime the same way everyone does: the horrific videos of the victim sent on Snapchat. When her body is found, it is marked with the number 2... Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are part of the investigation and question the murdered teenager's friends. Soon it is clear that Stel *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. (2019 in English, 2016 in Icelandic). (Children's House/Freyja & Huldar, #3). The police find out about the crime the same way everyone does: the horrific videos of the victim sent on Snapchat. When her body is found, it is marked with the number 2... Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are part of the investigation and question the murdered teenager's friends. Soon it is clear that Stella was not an angel but even so, who hated her enough to kill her. Then another teenager goes missing and more Snapchats are sent. It is clear the truth is far from simple, and the killer is not done yet. Finally, the third of this series is in English and I can read it! I have eagerly been awaiting this translation. This book is another great addition to the series with yet another fascinating unique crime occurring. I really enjoy both Huldar and Freyja in their own right, but they do shine together and their dynamic works really well. This book is perhaps not as gruesome in details as the last couple in the series - readers can decide if that's a good or bad thing as per their own tastes. Without revealing spoilers, it's safe for me to say that bullying plays a big part in this narrative and the widespread effects it can have, as well as how modern technology plays into that. A riveting suspense filled read! At this stage there is two more in the series to be translated and I really look forward to them! **I do think you could read this book without reading the others, and still enjoy it. You will just perhaps miss some little references to events and not quite appreciate/understand relationships between some characters.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lou (nonfiction fiend)

    Yrsa Sigurdardottir, the queen of Icelandic crime, is back with a spectacular bang in the third thriller in the superb Children's House series. This palpably tense page-turner can be read as a standalone as the plot of each instalment is self-contained, however, after picking up this one there's a good chance you'll feel the irresistible pull of the preceding books. Sigurdardottir knows how to craft a well written, chilling and suspenseful novel with a cast of beautifully drawn, intriguing chara Yrsa Sigurdardottir, the queen of Icelandic crime, is back with a spectacular bang in the third thriller in the superb Children's House series. This palpably tense page-turner can be read as a standalone as the plot of each instalment is self-contained, however, after picking up this one there's a good chance you'll feel the irresistible pull of the preceding books. Sigurdardottir knows how to craft a well written, chilling and suspenseful novel with a cast of beautifully drawn, intriguing characters. As in her other stories the characters are not merely black or white, good or evil, there are some with a mixture of traits and who could be described as morally grey. It's difficult not to resort to spoilers, but I prefer not to lessen the suspense potential readers are bound to feel if they decide to read it. What I can say is that it is based around a teenager's harrowing experience of bullying, a burning and ubiquitous social issue. The storyline provides much food for thought, although I did think that, at times, it came across as a little sanctimonious. There are a few twists in the tale and as always the beautiful, isolated setting becomes a character in its own right. As a huge fan of techno-thrillers, I found the use of Snapchat in the plot a work of genius adding further to the oppressive atmosphere. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)

    Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is on the top-3 of my all time best favorite Nordic Noir authors and I firmly believe that the Þóra Guðmundsdóttir book series is one of the finest exports of the genre in the last ten years or even more. Sadly, I find the new ''Children's House'' series to be weaker than the Thora novels and ''The Absolution'' confirmed my opinion for the third time. Personally, I think that the best book in this new series by the Yrsa Sigurðardóttir was the first one, titled ''Legacy'', whi Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is on the top-3 of my all time best favorite Nordic Noir authors and I firmly believe that the Þóra Guðmundsdóttir book series is one of the finest exports of the genre in the last ten years or even more. Sadly, I find the new ''Children's House'' series to be weaker than the Thora novels and ''The Absolution'' confirmed my opinion for the third time. Personally, I think that the best book in this new series by the Yrsa Sigurðardóttir was the first one, titled ''Legacy'', while the second,''The Reckoning'', was definitely the worst both in terms of the reader's engagement with the plot and the actual narration style/flow. ''The Absolution'' is a crime novel that stands somewhere in the middle of the above two and while it is a rather enjoyable and entertaining read, it has some major flaws that cannot be overlooked even by the most hardcore fans of the denominated''Queen of Icelandic Noir''. For my full review, visit https://tapthelinemag.com/post/the-ab...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jannelies (on holiday; reading but not reviewing)

    I was a little surprised to see this series is supposed to revolve around Freya and Huldar and is part of a series. Although there were some references to things that happened 'before', the story didn't struck me as being part of a series. Now, however, I'm curious as to the first two books. Huldar and Freya play a role in this book, but for me, not the biggest role. Strange as it may sound, I think the biggest role is this book is being played by the team as a whole, as they try and find the ki I was a little surprised to see this series is supposed to revolve around Freya and Huldar and is part of a series. Although there were some references to things that happened 'before', the story didn't struck me as being part of a series. Now, however, I'm curious as to the first two books. Huldar and Freya play a role in this book, but for me, not the biggest role. Strange as it may sound, I think the biggest role is this book is being played by the team as a whole, as they try and find the killer of a teenage girl. The plot of this story has many layers, and being a victim of bullying myself, I could relate to many of the feelings that are expressed during the developments. Let me say this: I'm happy social media didn't exist 50 years ago... As I said, it feels as if the whole team plays one role together, and sadly not a happy one. Seldom have I read about a group of people that have so much problems working together. Not one of them is happy being there, not one of them sounds like they really want to do this job. Strange, very strange... and rather depressing at times. The book earns the whole five stars because of the intricate and interesting plot and the fabulous writing of the author. Thank you Netgalley for sending me a digital copy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    This is the third novel in the series featuring child psychologist, Freya and police officer, Hulda. It begins with the abduction and murder of a teenage girl by someone wearing a Darth Vader mask – the whole incident being videoed and posted on a website called Snapchat. The whole novel centres around cyber-bullying and the more corrosive aspects of social media. Freya and Hulda are in a race against time to discover the identity of the killer before they strike again. Although occasionally showi This is the third novel in the series featuring child psychologist, Freya and police officer, Hulda. It begins with the abduction and murder of a teenage girl by someone wearing a Darth Vader mask – the whole incident being videoed and posted on a website called Snapchat. The whole novel centres around cyber-bullying and the more corrosive aspects of social media. Freya and Hulda are in a race against time to discover the identity of the killer before they strike again. Although occasionally showing flashes of the author’s narrative qualities, this was easily the most disappointing novel in the series so far. The plot dragged on for many chapters and, at times, appeared to be going round in circles. The fact that the initial victim was hardly a sympathetic character didn’t help matters and the final outcome was somewhat predictable too. The relationship between Freya and Hulda is an interesting one so I may still read the next novel in the series, although I hope it’s an improvement on this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Another page turner from Ysra Sigurdardottir here, part of the “Children’s House” series but easily read as a standalone. This title is due in April though so plenty of time to catch up- all of these are utterly compelling. This time the children in danger are not particularly loveable – the author takes on the bullying issue in this novel, with thought provoking layers to an incredibly immersive mystery. As well as that we have more on the tangled interpersonal relationships of the main protagoni Another page turner from Ysra Sigurdardottir here, part of the “Children’s House” series but easily read as a standalone. This title is due in April though so plenty of time to catch up- all of these are utterly compelling. This time the children in danger are not particularly loveable – the author takes on the bullying issue in this novel, with thought provoking layers to an incredibly immersive mystery. As well as that we have more on the tangled interpersonal relationships of the main protagonists, an intriguing lot they are too which only adds to the overall addictive nature of the story. Beautifully written, unexpectedly plotted and ever fascinating in character and setting, The Absolution is another pure joy to read from the pen of Ysra Sigurdardottir. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Isabel Rose

    5 STARS. ⁣ Thank you so much to Minotaur Books for the gifted ARC of The Absolution! WOW was this book good 🙌🏼 There is truly nothing like an incredible Scandinavian crime novel and this one was everything I hoped it would be! This one is by far the best book in the Children’s House series and now I’m even more excited for the next book 🤓⁣ ⁣ What I really loved about this book was that it starts off crazy right from the beginning. Yrsa definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to the gore, which I 5 STARS. ⁣ Thank you so much to Minotaur Books for the gifted ARC of The Absolution! WOW was this book good 🙌🏼 There is truly nothing like an incredible Scandinavian crime novel and this one was everything I hoped it would be! This one is by far the best book in the Children’s House series and now I’m even more excited for the next book 🤓⁣ ⁣ What I really loved about this book was that it starts off crazy right from the beginning. Yrsa definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to the gore, which I personally love 😝🔪 I also found myself really loving the main characters, Huldar and Freyja, a LOT more in this book compared to the previous two. Along with the two main characters, I felt way more invested in this story than I was with the other books. The crimes in this book were just so intriguing to me and the pacing was fantastic, which made for the perfect read 👌🏼 Another thing I really liked about this book was the ending. While the ending isn’t completely shocking or crazy, it’s very satisfying and ties everything together so well 🙌🏼 ⁣ ⁣ As for whether or not you guys can read this book as a stand-alone, I’d say you definitely can. My personal advice would be to at least read the first book beforehand just so you get as much character background as possible, but it’s not necessary to understand or enjoy this book whatsoever! Even if you’re not looking to commit to a series, I still think this would be a fantastic stand-alone novel 🕵🏼‍♀️🖤⁣ ⁣ TRIGGERS: Self Harm (brief mention), Suicide (graphic)⁣ ⁣ Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to you guys! Whether you want to read the series or just read this book by itself, you guys should definitely check it out 🙌🏼 The Absolution is out February 11th so keep an eye out! 🤓⁣

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maja Ingrid

    Why do these books take so long being translated to Swedish? Publishers better be faster with the fourth book

  12. 4 out of 5

    BeccaJBooks

    Another 4 star read for me. Possibly slightly on the lower end of a four than the previous two books, but still really really good! I enjoyed this third instalment in the Huldar and Freyja, Children's house series. It focused around bullying and the social media platform Snapchat. I've never had anything to do with Snapchat, I think it is for the cool kids!? :) But what I gather, from this book, and the dudes in my family, is that you can send pictures to people you know, that disappear once the Another 4 star read for me. Possibly slightly on the lower end of a four than the previous two books, but still really really good! I enjoyed this third instalment in the Huldar and Freyja, Children's house series. It focused around bullying and the social media platform Snapchat. I've never had anything to do with Snapchat, I think it is for the cool kids!? :) But what I gather, from this book, and the dudes in my family, is that you can send pictures to people you know, that disappear once they have been seen. This plays in well for a serial killer who wants to torment his victims friends and family by showcasing their brutal deaths. Huldar is having trouble with the boss, Erla, in an arc that has been rumbling on since book one. (If I had to find a fault with this book, this would be one - it feels like it is just dragging on a bit and that the tension between the two should be over really). After a Snap is sent showing the death of a young girl in a cinema he pleads to be able to help on the case. He is blocked and sent packing. He's not catching any good cases and is being sent to do menial tasks that a lower rank officer could do in his sleep. When Huldar and his partner are sent to a routine domestic disturbance involving a locked-out cleaner, they stumble across blood- a lot of blood, and the case blows wide open, finally giving Huldar his entry into the investigation. What follows is the chase to find this killer before he can harm any more young people. Will Huldar be able to stop him in time? I liked this one, the premise was unusual - using Snapchat as a major plot tool. I've not seen it before. I liked getting to see more of Huldar's partner and their dynamic as a team, now that he is out of his shell a little more. I was disappointed that Freyja and Huldar weren't in more scenes together - they seemed to each do their own investigations and never really join up, which is kind of the point of the series?! The Icelandic atmosphere - cold, desolate, eerie - it was there, and it was paramount to this story, 100%. I could not imagine this story being set anywhere else. If you enjoy slow burning thrillers, Scandinavian crime fiction, slightly rough edged cops with a damaged soul, this one is for you. It's gruesome and graphic and you will want to keep turning the pages. Definitely a recommendation, but I would also read the first two in the series so that you know where you are with the characters. https://thebeautifulbookbreak.com

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of The Absolution, the third novel to feature Icelandic detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja. When a video appears of teenager Stella being assaulted and abducted Huldar recruits Freyja to help interview her teenage friends. Initially there is no reason for the attack as Stella is portrayed as a lovely young woman but gradually a darker picture emerges. When a second teenager goes missing the team starts to feel I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of The Absolution, the third novel to feature Icelandic detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja. When a video appears of teenager Stella being assaulted and abducted Huldar recruits Freyja to help interview her teenage friends. Initially there is no reason for the attack as Stella is portrayed as a lovely young woman but gradually a darker picture emerges. When a second teenager goes missing the team starts to feel the pressure. I must admit that I found The Absolution a bit of a slog. There is no doubt that the plot is quite clever and contains several twists but the journey to the resolution is hard going. The first three quarters of the novel are slow and bogged down in unnecessary detail, so only the last quarter is fast moving and compelling. I like the idea of using Snapchat as a plot device as it suits the teenage environment and its disappearing messages make the investigation more complicated. On the other hand the theme of bullying is rather rammed down the reader’s throat. I fully understand that it is an important social issue and difficult to curb but it’s not a subject that holds my attention, being so far removed from where I am in my life. Thank goodness I’m no longer a teenager, the descriptions of bullying in this novel are harrowing but I have no trouble in believing they are based in fact. The trouble is there are so many they obscure the hunt for the killer. I also found it difficult to feel for the characters as they don’t really stand out. Huldar has trouble at work, being frozen out by his boss but keeps investigating and lusting after Freyja. Freyja is examining her life to find happiness. She has gone part time at work to pursue a business studies course and is looking for love, anywhere but Huldar (but what’s the betting on that?), but comes to the conclusion that she has to change herself. A bit self evident for a psychologist. The Absolution didn’t really appeal to me but it is a solid read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    M. Reads Often

    I really wanted to like this book because it is blurbed by Karin Slaughter, and she’s one of my favorite authors. I’m not sure why, but this book was a big disappointment to me. I liked the beginning parts about the crimes, but it went downhill. Stella is taken from her job at a movie theater and murdered. There’s a 2 under her body, and no one knows what this means. Hudlar is the detective assigned to the case, and there’s also Freyja, the child psychologist. Both are working from different angle I really wanted to like this book because it is blurbed by Karin Slaughter, and she’s one of my favorite authors. I’m not sure why, but this book was a big disappointment to me. I liked the beginning parts about the crimes, but it went downhill. Stella is taken from her job at a movie theater and murdered. There’s a 2 under her body, and no one knows what this means. Hudlar is the detective assigned to the case, and there’s also Freyja, the child psychologist. Both are working from different angles to see what happened to Stella. The police search through footage, but they are no closer to finding the killer. Freyja is interviewing classmates to see if anyone knew what could have happened to Stella. Her classmates actually saw the murder on Snapchat, but no one has answers. Then they find out Stella was a terrible bully. She was setting up a horrible website about a classmate and even trying to sell her classmate online like a sex worker. Her phone shows up in the mailbox of a woman, but she says she has no idea why. Clearly, she’s connected somehow. Then a teen boy goes missing and his body is found with a 3. There’s also Snapchat messages sent out about him as well. They contact someone who specializes in bullying, but there aren’t clear answers yet. Normally I like police procedural books, but this one got so boring. I didn’t care about the characters and their lives. All the minute details of their lives were so boring to me, and I had a hard time finishing the book with all the extraneous details about everything. None of the characters were interesting, and I was annoyed that apparently Huldar and Freyja become a couple because there seems to no be no chemistry. It was interesting to see how bullying interwove all the events, and I liked the gruesome parts. Not sure if I’d read more from the series, but I did like the gruesome. That was the only highlight for me. I ended up skimming towards the end. I will say the ending was super creepy, and I loved it. Thank you NetGalley and St Martins Press for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Being an aficionado of Icelandic Noir, I’ve been keen to get my hands on this third installment of the Freya and Huldar series. I’ve read a fair few of Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s books and really enjoy her fast paced and edgy style. The theme of this book is teenage bullying, intermingled with the cyber space and the relentless nature of social media in perpetuating a 24/7 platform for bullies. Sigurdardottir does a reasonable job in this regard and while her intent was not to write a book about bully Being an aficionado of Icelandic Noir, I’ve been keen to get my hands on this third installment of the Freya and Huldar series. I’ve read a fair few of Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s books and really enjoy her fast paced and edgy style. The theme of this book is teenage bullying, intermingled with the cyber space and the relentless nature of social media in perpetuating a 24/7 platform for bullies. Sigurdardottir does a reasonable job in this regard and while her intent was not to write a book about bullying as such, I would have liked to see a little more in regards to the mindset of the parents of those who had been bullied. Minor detail in the scheme of the story. Huldar is a fairly likeable character as is Freya although their evolving relationship is very slightly cheesy as are some of the other characters. I would like to see more of Gudlaugars character develop and not just in a lip service way. The book ends with real clarity around the crime which helps to tie up loose ends. The last page had a clincher which was quite chilling. A great ending actually! I’ll definitely read more of these!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty ❤️

    I've read all in this series so far but I was particularly intrigued this time with the murders centering around Snapchat. I don't have Snapchat. I don't want it. I was put off ever downloading it by a colleague who showed me how they can check up on what their friends and re doing and where they are just by looking up their app avatars. That terrifies me. In this book, the murders are 'announced' via Snapchat when the killer sends photos of the crime to everyone on the victims contact list. Yea I've read all in this series so far but I was particularly intrigued this time with the murders centering around Snapchat. I don't have Snapchat. I don't want it. I was put off ever downloading it by a colleague who showed me how they can check up on what their friends and re doing and where they are just by looking up their app avatars. That terrifies me. In this book, the murders are 'announced' via Snapchat when the killer sends photos of the crime to everyone on the victims contact list. Yeah I am never downloading this app....  The characters themselves build on the previous books and I'm starting to really enjoy them now. Not sure if it's something lost in translation or intentional but sometimes they seem a little cold. I still like them though.  The twist of the whodunnit at the end confused me a bit and even after reading it all the way through I still only think I've under stood part of it. Hard to explain without spoilers. It is intriguing and reminded me of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Nothing is as straightforward as it seems. Slight confusion aside I did like the thinking behind it.  The bullying angle is horrific. Nothing really stands out as a memory of being bullied. I was more the kid on the middle that's neither bullied or popular; just plodding through school til it was over however I have a few family members who were bullied. Most recently a younger one who suffered the most horrific online abuse I've personally witnessed and some of the bullies online actions have been true for this young person I know. So easy these days to sit behind a keyboard and forget these are human beings that are being attacked. Bullying past and present is the subject behind the killings. As with a few things, the scarier because it's based on reality. So I applaud the relevance of the storyline.  Overall really good read and I look forward to the next.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    I enjoy Ms Sigurdadottir's books, have read several of them. This one, though gets only a three-star rating, or C+ from me. It moved right along, the characters were interesting, but the MC of the series, Freyja, a psychologist, was relegated to second tier, IMO. We seldom saw much of her. A teenage girl is murdered, then a boy. What do they have in common, and the usual: who, why, how? The police involved in the investigation have complex back stories in the way they are inter-related, and here' I enjoy Ms Sigurdadottir's books, have read several of them. This one, though gets only a three-star rating, or C+ from me. It moved right along, the characters were interesting, but the MC of the series, Freyja, a psychologist, was relegated to second tier, IMO. We seldom saw much of her. A teenage girl is murdered, then a boy. What do they have in common, and the usual: who, why, how? The police involved in the investigation have complex back stories in the way they are inter-related, and here's a spoiler, for those interested: (view spoiler)[ The head of the investigating team, a woman, had a previous 'history' with one of the young men on the team. Seems he accused HER of sexual harassment, and won, sort of. Now why in the world - even in Iceland - would they keep these two together? In most situations of this sort, he'd be moved to a different district, and she'd be reprimanded and/or she'd be moved, too. At any rate this creates an ongoing tension between them. I didn't buy it. (hide spoiler)] There's a major element involving bullying - inc. cyber-bullying - and the usual 'those in charge', for example teachers, society, the police and so on, aren't doing much about it. Gets a bit tiresome. (Not that bullying doesn't continue to be a significant societal problem.) Anyhow, it all gets sorted out, sort of... Too many 'sorts,' but the explanation of what's going on and by whom is so confusing! OMG, I needed an interpreter (Icelandic?) to figure out who did what and why. Yes, it was the WHY which got to me, and so... Three stars. (But I'll keeping reading her books!)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    DNF - I had no idea that this would be so incredibly graphic. I couldn't stomach it and so I am not necessarily a good source of a review. If horror is your "scene", this may be a good choice but I feel really put-off that it wasn't promoted with this focus. I've read violent books but this is so extreme. DNF - I had no idea that this would be so incredibly graphic. I couldn't stomach it and so I am not necessarily a good source of a review. If horror is your "scene", this may be a good choice but I feel really put-off that it wasn't promoted with this focus. I've read violent books but this is so extreme.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    “The Absolution” is another excellent book from Yrsa Sigurdardottir who is one of my favourite authors. In the third book from the Children’s House series we are following Huldar and Freyja trying to catch a perpetrator who brutally kills teenagers before another young person is attacked. The author tackles an uncomfortable issue of the modern world - bullying and the damage it can cause and she covers it brilliantly from the different points of view. This is an engaging and gripping book, full “The Absolution” is another excellent book from Yrsa Sigurdardottir who is one of my favourite authors. In the third book from the Children’s House series we are following Huldar and Freyja trying to catch a perpetrator who brutally kills teenagers before another young person is attacked. The author tackles an uncomfortable issue of the modern world - bullying and the damage it can cause and she covers it brilliantly from the different points of view. This is an engaging and gripping book, full of tension and suspense. I was completely captivated by the story from the very first page and it was very difficult for me to put it down. As always with Yrsa’s books the characters are brilliant and well drawn. I especially love chemistry between Freyja and Huldar and I was interested to see if their relationship develops. The book combines dark atmosphere with a compelling story giving us an insight into the police procedure as well as the gruesome tale. It’s a well plotted and well written thriller that I would highly recommend to anyone.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Yrsa Sigurdadottir’s Children’s House series was one of my favourite discoveries last year, and I have been hooked ever since. It is not for the faint of heart, seeing that Sigurdadottir is a masterful creator of unsettling and suspenseful storylines, and – as the name suggests – all books in the series concern children and young people. I admit that this book was not easy reading. Tackling the sinister topic of bullying, it touched on every parent’s worst fears. They say that a parent is only ev Yrsa Sigurdadottir’s Children’s House series was one of my favourite discoveries last year, and I have been hooked ever since. It is not for the faint of heart, seeing that Sigurdadottir is a masterful creator of unsettling and suspenseful storylines, and – as the name suggests – all books in the series concern children and young people. I admit that this book was not easy reading. Tackling the sinister topic of bullying, it touched on every parent’s worst fears. They say that a parent is only ever as happy as their unhappiest child, so this story made for a lot of unhappy characters, and ultimately murder. Since one of my children had been badly bullied at school at once stage, I found the book quite unsettling in places! Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freya are back in this one, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes concerning their lives and found that they had become very familiar and dear to me, ensuring that I will eagerly watch out for the next book in the series! Sigurdadottir also includes a modern twist in her latest book, the inclusion of social media as a major plot device, as the pictures of the victims as they are being abducted and killed appear on their friends’ Snapchat accounts. Which was quite ironic in a way, as these tools were being used by the bullies themselves to isolate and intimidate their chosen victims. It was scary to see how easily this platform can be used for maximum chill factor! Even though bullying is an age-old problem that concerns every society and different age groups, modern technology seems to have given the perpetrators new tools to torment. Even the police team themselves were not immune to it, with homophobia rife in the department. I love the way Sigurdadottir always manages to serve up well-researched and intelligent thrillers that chill to the core – Icelandic noir at its best! Whilst this book is probably the one in the series that can most easily be read as a standalone, I feel that it would lose some of its allure, as Huldar and Freya’s backstory is what makes this series so irresistible for me. I found myself wishing to hear more about their lives, which took a secondary role in the story. I eagerly look forward to the next instalment in the series – more Huldar and Freya, please! 3.5 stars *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    5 fantastic stars for this incredible book! This is definitely my favourite of the series so far, it was SO good. The plot and the pacing were just so well done and there were some true edge of your seat moments. The crimes in this book dealt with social media which I found absolutely fascinating and something I would love to see more of in crime fiction. As is usual for this author, the murders in this book are graphic and gory but what I personally loved in this instalment was the motivations 5 fantastic stars for this incredible book! This is definitely my favourite of the series so far, it was SO good. The plot and the pacing were just so well done and there were some true edge of your seat moments. The crimes in this book dealt with social media which I found absolutely fascinating and something I would love to see more of in crime fiction. As is usual for this author, the murders in this book are graphic and gory but what I personally loved in this instalment was the motivations behind these attacks. They went a lot deeper than is sometimes the norm in this genre and it just excelled my love for this book. I loved seeing my favourite Huldar and Freyja come together once again to solve the case and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them in the next book. I also LOVED the ending - it was very clever and very satisfying with a fantastic final sentence. I highly recommend this one to you, but really urge you to read the whole series just because I think every book has been brilliant. I think that way you can also get the full effect of the relationship between Huldar and Freyja but you could still read this on its own if this one intrigues you the most. I’m now just patiently waiting for book 4 to be translated!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    4 and 1 / 2 stars Stella works at a local movie theater. When she is horribly murdered while closing alone at work, the number “2” is found under her body. Does this mean there is a number “1?” Detective Huldar joins the investigation. Huldar is not popular at the station, either with his colleagues or his boss Erla. He works with a fairly new partner named Gudlaugur who is terribly shy, but has the makings of a good copper. The police go through the security camera recordings and the ticket sales 4 and 1 / 2 stars Stella works at a local movie theater. When she is horribly murdered while closing alone at work, the number “2” is found under her body. Does this mean there is a number “1?” Detective Huldar joins the investigation. Huldar is not popular at the station, either with his colleagues or his boss Erla. He works with a fairly new partner named Gudlaugur who is terribly shy, but has the makings of a good copper. The police go through the security camera recordings and the ticket sales to see if they can identify a lone man who might have attacked and killed the sixteen-year old girl. They get precisely nowhere with the lists or the recordings, even with the assistance of psychologist Freyja. They then get the information that Stella was a bully. Her father went ballistic at the school a couple of times. They interview Stella's friends, but feel they are holding something back. When Stella's phone is dropped into someone's mailbox, the police interview the two women who live there. But they strongly suspect the woman named Asta is also not telling the complete truth. A teenager named Egill goes missing. Is he also a bully? Is he going to be next? Frantic searches for him turn up nothing. Freyja re-thinks her idea about bullying and contacts a psychologist who specializes in bullying. Egill eventually is found and turns out to be victim number “3.” Huldar and Freyja almost simultaneously come up with ideas about who might be the perpetrator in the murders. This book deals with the very real and current issue of bullying in schools. We all know how cruel children can be, but these young people have taken abuse to the extreme. How frustrated the parents of the abused child must get – if they are aware of it. The solution to the case turns out to be very twisted and has some surprises. This is a very good book, although I tired of the battle between Huldar and his boss Erla. Huldar didn't seem to have a very engaging personality. And Erla – well...I wanted to shake her or slap her or something. It is written in Ms. Sigurdardottir's usual forthright manner and with few side trips. One event follows another logically. I must admit that I do not like this series as much as I like the Thora Gudmundsdottir novels. I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for forwarding to me a copy of this book for me to read, enjoy and review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    No rating. The book -form in English is written quite well. It's just too brutal and I can't stand the subject matter. I only got to page 50 and I'm calling it a DNF. This author doesn't mess around- starts with the most horrific situations. I closed a facility at night and this one! Now they are suggesting where I live that NO ONE close up any facility alone. Two or more. No rating. The book -form in English is written quite well. It's just too brutal and I can't stand the subject matter. I only got to page 50 and I'm calling it a DNF. This author doesn't mess around- starts with the most horrific situations. I closed a facility at night and this one! Now they are suggesting where I live that NO ONE close up any facility alone. Two or more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Social media has taken over as a source of spreading news throughout the world. Now Icealandic police are finding it as a source for discovering a crime has occurred. Videos of a terrified young teenager are being spread across Snapchat, leaving those that have viewed the videos to wonder if the girl is alive or dead. The young teen’s body is eventually found. She has been marked with the number 2. Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are paired up yet again to get to the bottom of thi Social media has taken over as a source of spreading news throughout the world. Now Icealandic police are finding it as a source for discovering a crime has occurred. Videos of a terrified young teenager are being spread across Snapchat, leaving those that have viewed the videos to wonder if the girl is alive or dead. The young teen’s body is eventually found. She has been marked with the number 2. Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are paired up yet again to get to the bottom of this murder investigation, starting with interviews this girl’s friends. Who would do this? What are her friends hiding? As signs start to look towards bullying as a motivator and that more victims are to come, the police must race to find the truth. Yrsa Sigurdardottir continues to blow me away with her Children’s House series! I have loved the previous two installments and THE ABSOLUTION was no different! This book centers around a muder investigation that keeps eerily close to a realistic possibility across the globe. Each day bullying is becoming more and more of a problem thanks to the ease of social media. Rumors have the ability to spread much further and at a quicker pace in this day and age. Sigurdardottir smartly uses the reality to craft one of her most devious cases within the pages of THE ABSOLUTION. Could you imagine logging into Snapchat to view your friends stories only to be met with videos of them being abducted and possibly murdered? The premise is completely unnerving and one that instantly makes it relatable to the reader. Never to shy away from a dark story, Sigurdardottir has not written THE ABSOLUTION for those faint of heart. The gore factor is high within this book, but not taken to a level where I would deem it unnecessary or overly done. I believe Sigurdardottir always includes these gory scenes to remind the reader just how brutal the events that are happening within the pages of her books truly are. This knowledge then works to engage the reader into continuously binge reading these books in an attempt to solve the cases at hand. I was coming up with some wild theories about who had committed the crimes within THE ABSOLUTION while reading, however, Sigurdardottir managed to floor me with her ending! I never saw the level of detail that was given as an option, but it works so perfectly that I was simply stunned. I loved every last bit of this book, but it was truly the devious ending, which will solidify this one as an all-time favorite! THE ABSOLUTION is the third book in a brilliant series and while they have the potential to work as standalones, I highly recommend reading them in order. A huge thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me a free copy of this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    Bullying in schools is a timeless problem. With the advent of social media, however, there are infinite ways to ruin a life: livestreaming, photo alterations, misinformation, sexual slander. One can even capture a murder in progress and its bloody aftermath. A teenager, Stella, is one such bully. When her murder is shared with all her 'friends' the community is traumatized. Found with a #2 near her body and short hairs placed in her hand, the situation challenges the police force to apply their r Bullying in schools is a timeless problem. With the advent of social media, however, there are infinite ways to ruin a life: livestreaming, photo alterations, misinformation, sexual slander. One can even capture a murder in progress and its bloody aftermath. A teenager, Stella, is one such bully. When her murder is shared with all her 'friends' the community is traumatized. Found with a #2 near her body and short hairs placed in her hand, the situation challenges the police force to apply their resources. Could there be a number one? A second teen is murdered and this too is shared among his friends. There is no tie between crimes beyond bullying and the police are hesitant to believe this issue could result in horrific crimes. When Egill's body is discovered with #3 written nearby along with more short hairs, the tension ramps up significantly since now there is a strong suggestion that there must be a #1 still to be discovered and a serial killer is terrifying parents. Huldar is n appealing somewhat rash and rule breaking detective and is strongly interested in Freyja, the child psychologist consulting on this case. There is a hint of sparks between them though this story thread never materializes which is perhaps a mild shortcoming. The tension surrounding these crimes is topnotch between parents, schools, teens, and police. The race is on to find a well-organized and merciless killer. The issues with bullying are explored widely: parents in denial, frustrated parents of bullied kids, teens bullying to be included in a social circle, isolating kids who are targets, suicide, counseling hits and misses, and more. Excellent Scandinavian thriller that tackles an important topic.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    So the first two books in this series were five star reads for me. I devoured each one within a few days. This one took me over a month to get through. Part of that is that I haven’t often been in the mood for heavy topics. That’s not the book’s fault. But this one just wasn’t as good. Overall I liked it but didn’t love it. It dragged in places and the ending felt abrupt and unfinished. I wanted more scenes with Huldar and Freyja working together too and wanted their relationship to develop more So the first two books in this series were five star reads for me. I devoured each one within a few days. This one took me over a month to get through. Part of that is that I haven’t often been in the mood for heavy topics. That’s not the book’s fault. But this one just wasn’t as good. Overall I liked it but didn’t love it. It dragged in places and the ending felt abrupt and unfinished. I wanted more scenes with Huldar and Freyja working together too and wanted their relationship to develop more. Yes, I know this isn’t a romance novel. But the two have been inching their way towards each other since book one, and in this one they made very little progress. I did melt a little bit with how cute he was with her niece. And Freyja did seem less mad at him than she did in book two. She seems to be slowly thawing. Their relationship is very much a secondary plot of the books. But enough is enough. I need progress! 😂 All of this being said, I will continue to read the series as they are slowly translated. I’m sure it’ll be a year or more before the next one is. **Trigger warnings: Bullying, including cyber bullying. Attempted suicide. ***While each book has a different case, I do not recommend these be read by themselves.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charlene Intriago

    The crimes in this book – and in the other two books in this series – are gruesome. I am at loss for words as to how the author thinks of this stuff. This series is the “Children’s House” series and I am assuming that all of the crimes in this series are going to involve children of some age. That being said, I gloss over the gruesomeness of the crimes and focus on the clues and the procedures used by the police in solving the cases. This book involves teenagers, bullying – especially cyber-bull The crimes in this book – and in the other two books in this series – are gruesome. I am at loss for words as to how the author thinks of this stuff. This series is the “Children’s House” series and I am assuming that all of the crimes in this series are going to involve children of some age. That being said, I gloss over the gruesomeness of the crimes and focus on the clues and the procedures used by the police in solving the cases. This book involves teenagers, bullying – especially cyber-bullying, and the parents of those kids who bully and are being bullied. Detective Huldar seems to be the only policeman who can see beyond what’s put in front of him, but he’s still not well thought of within the department. His boss is reluctant to assign him to anything after what’s happened in the past (that’s why you’ve got to start at the beginning of this series), but she does relent a little bit. That's the only way this crime is solved. And, much as Huldar would love to have more of a personal relationship with Freyja, she’s not ready to let that happen. Looking forward to the next one in this series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I enjoy the Children’s House books and Yrsa Sigurdardottir's writing style; slowly following the main characters personal lives alongside a dark crime tackling serious issues, and this book was no different. There were parts that I particularly enjoyed including the beautifully written and moving blog posts and the eerie and ominous last scene. Interestingly I also enjoyed some of the detailed death scenes which the author writes so well that you are transported without realising the gore and gru I enjoy the Children’s House books and Yrsa Sigurdardottir's writing style; slowly following the main characters personal lives alongside a dark crime tackling serious issues, and this book was no different. There were parts that I particularly enjoyed including the beautifully written and moving blog posts and the eerie and ominous last scene. Interestingly I also enjoyed some of the detailed death scenes which the author writes so well that you are transported without realising the gore and gruesomeness of it all. However, having read and loved the Legacy and The Reckoning in the past few months I found it hard not to compare and therefore found this book slightly disappointing. There is something about the plot that does not seem to flow quite as well as usual, almost unnecessarily complex (which I normally like). Having previously become invested in the relationship between Huldar and Freyja I felt this was not explored enough in this book and Freyja was almost side-lined. Out of the first three books, this was my least favourite, but after my enjoyment of the first two, nothing will stop me from reading the rest of the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rash

    If I never wanted Snapchat before then I certainly don’t want it now. This is a dark story about bullying and adding the social media aspect. This is the 3rd in this series tho I think it could be read as a stand-alone unless you want more background on the recurring characters.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mario

    This is the third book in the Children’s House series that I have read and the one I have enjoyed the most. It keeps the successful style of the previous two books particularly a dramatic unpredictable storyline and excellent tension in the writing. It also develops the complicated relationship between Frayja and Huldar. There is a departure however from dealing with very young traumatised children which was the case in the first two books. This time the children are adolescents and the account de This is the third book in the Children’s House series that I have read and the one I have enjoyed the most. It keeps the successful style of the previous two books particularly a dramatic unpredictable storyline and excellent tension in the writing. It also develops the complicated relationship between Frayja and Huldar. There is a departure however from dealing with very young traumatised children which was the case in the first two books. This time the children are adolescents and the account deals with the aftermath of bullying which is deliberately an uncomfortable read at times. The ending is also less dramatic and concludes in a different, more moving way. Not easy subject matter but I thought the author handled it very well, particularly when describing how easily adolescents can be manipulated by the fear of being ostracised by the group and how their true personality, and regrets, only show later in life.

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