The Killing Bay: Faroes novel 2 - Chris Ould

DI Jan Reyná is in limbo. He’s still on the Faroe Islands, weighing his future while recovering from a case he worked with local detective Hjalti Hentze. There’s nothing really keeping him here but he’s in no hurry to return home where a meeting with professional standards awaits.


He’s a British copper who came to the islands to meet his father. His mother Lýdia was born here & at age 18, married a much older man after getting pregnant. She soon grew restless & fled to Copenhagen with Jan in tow.  When he was 5, she killed herself & he ended up being raised in the UK by her sister. He came back to get answers but after a brief & chilly meeting, his father suffered a stroke & never recovered.


So he’s hanging out in cousin Fríđa’s guesthouse pondering his next move & using the time to dig into his mother’s past.


Hjalti is also dealing with fallout from the last case. He’s a smart, quiet man with no time for office politics. Things were returning to normal until a group of activists arrived to protest whale hunting. They’re a dedicated, savvy bunch who hired Faroese photographer Erla Sivertsen to capture the bloodiest shots possible for social media & online response has been swift. International condemnation ramped up tension between islanders & activists & is putting a major strain on police resources.


When a young woman’s body is found beneath anti-activist graffiti, Hjalti & his colleagues are under pressure to solve it ASAP before there’s any more violence. The evidence points in one obvious direction but Hjalti’s not sure it’s that simple. Before he knows it, one of his family members is implicated & he finds himself removed from the investigation.


There’s much more to the plot that is slowly revealed as Hjalti quietly keeps digging. Jan spends most of his time researching his mother’s past but becomes involved in the case when Hjalti needs help. They make a good team. Despite their differences, they’ve come to trust & appreciate each other’s methods. There are some odd things happening within the police force & Hjalti values having an outsider to bounce things off of.


Location plays a huge role & the author does a great job describing the physical beauty & traditional fishing culture of the Faroes. It’s a richly atmospheric read with a subtle, rising tension as it becomes clear there’s much more going on here than one tragic death. We get a bit more info on Jan’s family to add to what we learned in book #1 but there are still unanswered questions.


I’m hoping this signals book #3 is in the works but it will be a tricky balancing act for the author. The Faroes is a quiet, peaceful place with low crime rates & there’s a danger more murders will result in it becoming a Scandi version of Cabot Cove.


Maybe it will focus more on the MC’s & that’s fine with me. I really like these interesting, complex characters & enjoy their interaction. By the end of the story, both have some decisions to make & I look forward to seeing where they end up next.