My Soul to Take


Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

The novel Sér grefur gröf, translated to English.

About the book:

When the body of a young woman—badly beaten and with pins inserted into her feet—is found at a New Age health resort in a renovated farmhouse, lawyer and single mother of two Thóra Gudmundsdóttir is called upon to represent the chief suspect, the resort’s owner. But upon her arrival she encounters more than a fresh corpse—local legend has it that the resort, located in the mystical region of Snæfellsnes on Iceland’s west coast, is haunted. At first Thóra dismisses the claims as nothing more than myth and superstition, but even she can’t explain the bizarre occurrences she witnesses in her search for answers.

As Thóra digs deeper into the farm’s past, she discovers long-buried information on the property’s disturbing history, and her once-solid view of reality begins to waver. Are the hauntings real, or just a case of folklore gone wild? And, more important, does the farm’s eerie past have something to do with the murder? When another body is discovered—looking very much like the first—Thóra is forced to put aside her doubts and confront the horrors of the present before a twisted killer strikes again.

From the book:

Thóra was trying to unwind. Lying on her stomach, she made an effort to relax, or rather to concentrate on appearing relaxed, because she didn't want the masseuse to think otherwise. The latter was a stringy, muscular woman, slightly younger than Thóra. She was wearing white canvas trousers, a pale green T-shirt and orthopaedic sandals on her feet. She had painted her toenails with light blue varnish. Thóra did not make a habit of scrutinising that part of people anatomy, but the toes kept apearing as she lay on the bench with her face positioned in a hole at one end.

The worst of it was over; the woman had stopped massaging and begun arranging hot stones in a row down her backbone. 'Now you should feel how the energy from the stones flows thgouth your back. It travels along the nerves and out into every part of you.' This speech was accompanied by soothing music from a CD the masseuse had told Thóra was on sale in reception. Thóra decided to look in at reception and find out the name of the group, to make sure she never bought one of their CDs by accident.

'Will it be much longer?' Thóra asked hopefully. 'I think the energy's penetrated every single cell. I'm beginning to feel great.'

'What?' The masseuse was incredulous. 'Are you sure? It's supposed to take a lot longer.'

Thóra suppressed a groan. 'Positive. It's brilliant. I can tell I'm done.'

The masseuse began to protest, but stopped when a telephone rang somewhere inside the salon. 'Just a minute,' she said to Thóra, and her toes disappeared.

'Hello,' Thóra heard her say. 'I've got a client.' A long silence ensued. Then, in a much more agitated tone of voice, 'What? Are you serious...? Jesus... I'm on my way.'

The masseuse hurried back in and began removing the stones from Thóra's back. Thóra tried to conceal her relief by taking an interest in the telephone call. 'Is anything wrong? Don't worry about me; I'm all done, like I said.'

The woman was working quickly. 'Something's happened. Something terrible. Really terrible.'

Thóra propped herself up. 'Really?' she asked, not needing to feign curiosity this time. 'Is it something to do with the ghosts?'

An expression of horror spread across the woman's face and she put her hand over her mouth. 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that. A body's been found on the beach. Vigdís from reception thinks it's someone from here, and the police have arrived to talk to Jónas.'

Thóra leaped naked from the bench and reached for a gown. She quickly pulled it on, never having been in the habit of going around nude in the company of strangers, although she was not ashamed of her body. 'You get going – I'll take care of myself.' She tightened the flannel belt round her waist and tied a knot. 'Was it an accident?'

'I don't know,' the masseuse said, shifting impatiently from one foot to the other. Clearly she was itching to go and find out more.

'I'll get my things together and leave,' Thóra said, shooing the woman off. 'I promise not to steal any stones.'