Voices, by Arnaldur Indridason. Translated from the Icelandic by Bernard Scudder. New York: St. Martins, 2006. (Original published in 2003.) 313 pgs.
I am rating this three puffins--for genre fiction--but it isn't one of the best mysteries I've read. With the exception of flashbacks, the entire book takes place in a hotel in Reykjavik at Christmastime, which gives it a claustrophobic feel. Erlendur, Indridason's emotionally damaged detective, continues to develop, ever so slowly, and we learn a bit more about his past. This book incorporates several plot lines: the murdered hotel doorman, who was once a choirboy child star; a case of child abuse that Erlender's associate is investigating; and Erlendur himself: the effect that events of his childhood have had on him as an adult and as a parent.
Translator Bernard Scudder is a pre-eminent saga translator, among other things. For this reason, I am inclined to assume that the sometimes awkward and unrealistic dialogue is because it has been translated into British English. The translation detracts from the story in my opinion, whatever the reason.
You probably won't want to miss this since it is Indridason, and it is a look at contemporary Icelandic society. It could have been better, though. Indridason's characters are not portrayed with enough depth to be very sympathetic.
For a different point of view, see Batty's review.