The Wanderer by Michael Ridpath

the wanderer

Author: Michael Ridpath

Genre: Crime Thriller

Format: Paperback 336 pages

Release Date: 6 September 2018

Publisher: Corvus

My Rating: ****

I would like to thank the publisher and Readers First for the ARC they provided me for review .Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


The book starts with a film crew in Iceland filming a documentary on Gudrid the Wanderer when one of the crew discovers a dead body of a young Italian tourist named Carlotta behind a church near where they are filming. 

Magnus Jonson, who has newly returned to the Reykjavik police force, is called to investigate what appears at first to be a random killing. However, random killings are extremely rare, if not completely unheard of in Iceland, which leads Magnus to believe there might be more to this killing than first meets the eye. 

As Magnus delves deeper into the investigation he finds links between Carlotta and the documentary and the film crew. The film crew are reluctant to talk and give Magnus half-truths which leave him stumped as to who is responsible. 

Just when Magnus thinks he is getting somewhere a second murder happens which throws up more questions than answers. 

You can pre-order your copy of ‘The Wanderer’ on Amazon at:  

My Thoughts

I haven’t read anything by this author before but what drew me to this book is that it’s set in Iceland, a county I have visited, and i’m always interested in reading books set in places I have been. I find it interesting reading other people’s descriptions of places to see how they fare against my own. 

I liked the fact that this book is broken down into fairly short chapters. This is a book where I read short chunks at a time and the storyline is one where it is easy to pick up where you left off. 

The only thing I struggled with is the pronunciation of the Icelandic character and place names. I’m pretty sure in my head I was saying them wrong! Although I have visited Reykjavik  and it was interesting to hear the authors descriptions of other areas in Iceland and Greenland. 

I enjoyed how the author implicated many of the different characters in the murder of Carlotta with each of them having believable and valid reasons for wanting her out of the picture. As the story progresses, one by one the evidence exonerates each of these characters until we are left with one, the murderer. As I read through the book I felt like I was working the investigation alongside Magnus and trying to piece together the clues and evidence to solve the mystery. 

The crime scenes are not terribly gory, so you needn’t be put off reading if that sort of thing would usually dissuade you from reading this kind of genre. If anything, the author really didn’t need to go into more detail of the deaths as the main focus I found was not that these characters have died, but more the ‘why’ they had died, and because of this the author chooses more to focus his writing on solving the murders. 

This book also has somewhat of a historical fiction theme running though it which underpins the story. I found it extremely interesting reading the parts about Christopher Columbus and whether or not he actually was the first person to discover America. It got me thinking about this period in history and intrigued me to go away and learn more. The author does distinguish in his note at the end of the book what is fact and what is fiction with regards to these historical aspects. 

We don’t learn a whole lot about Magnus as a character in this book. There is some mention of his struggles with having been born in Iceland but spending the majority of his time living in America, and there is some mention of a previous relationship and a child from when he last visited Iceland, but the story does mainly focus on the investigation development and not character development in my opinion. 

The character Magnus has featured in other books by the author and i’m interested to read more about this character and what investigations he has been involved in. This book is a classic ‘who done it’ type of book and I would recommend for anyone who likes this kind of story. 

About the Author

Before becoming a writer, Michael used to work in the City of London as a bond trader. He has written eight thrillers set in the worlds of business and finance, but is now trying his hand at something different. Where The Shadows Lie, the first in a series featuring an Icelandic detective named Magnus Jonson, was published in 2010. Michael’s books have been translated into over 30 languages (including Icelandic).

He was born in Devon, brought up in North Yorkshire and read history at Oxford University. Micheal now lives in North London with his American wife and three children. He is a former vice chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.

For more reviews and updates follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks


2 Comments Add yours

  1. This sounds quite fascinating. I love how it has the historical fiction blended into it. Wonderful review!


    1. Thanks! It is an interesting read. Not your average crime thriller.

      Liked by 1 person

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