Oh, my giddy aunt! Another #Orenda Blog tour and another cracking read from Mr Dark Iceland himself, Ragnar Jonasson with the 5th in the Dark Iceland series, White Out. It seems like a while since I’ve indulged myself with a little Ari Thor so I was looking forward to kick-starting the winter nights with my Icelandic book crush #Swoon! And just look at that cover, does it not just compel you to grab your duvet and hot chocolate to snuggle up and read this!
What the blurb says:
Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.
Ari Thor is still smarting at being overlooked for promotion when he received a call from his old boss, Tomas. Tomas is looking for Ari Thor’s assistance in investigating a suspicious death in the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. It’s two days before Christmas and with his partner, Kristin, heavily pregnant, Ari Thor decides to take her along with him. Will they make it back home for Christmas and just what secrets will this investigation uncover?
At the risk of giving away any spoilers, I don’t want to say any more about the plot other than what is already in the blurb. Let’s just say that once again Ragnar Jonasson has worked his magic with words and penned a delightfully dark, chilling and disturbing read, at the heart of which lies secrets and guilt just waiting for the reader to discover them!
Ari Thor, oh be still my beating heart! This man just oozes mystery, sex appeal and a certain brooding darkness that makes me want to step into the pages of the book and take my place beside him! No secret that I have a little bit of a character crush going on with him! The relationship between Ari Thor and Kristin is further explored with her pregnancy and her desire to know more of Ari’s past. I felt a real bond and understanding developing between them. But I could also sense a fear from Ari Thor as he also begins to ponder his own mortality with the impending birth knowing that he had no strong father figure on which to model himself on. His excitement about becoming a father is there but he is also clearly afraid that he will not be the father that he so desperately wants to be. I’m still not that enamoured by Kristin, I just don’t think she is right for Ari Thor (or maybe that’s just my green-eyed monster slipping out!) There is just something about her that I don’t quite trust, she swings from being warm and loving to hard and cold and I worry that somehow she is going to let Ari Thor down.(Yes, I know, I feel very protective of Ari Thor!)
The main characters who are a part of the investigation are a strange lot, each of them has a secret and each of them has something to hide. So many red herrings are dropped that my head was spinning as I found each one of them guilty and it really did keep me guessing right up until the very end.
The Dark Iceland series evokes a quiet stillness in me and Whiteout was no exception. I think I could read these books in 80-degree heat and I’d still need to pull the blanket around me to keep the chill-out. The narrative is almost melodic and it lulls me into a false sense of security every time, the quiet, close-knit communities where nothing bad is ever going to happen, right? Ragnar Jonasson paints a magical picture of an Icelandic Christmas with the tradition of giving books on Christmas eve to the radio station playing only a stream of greetings from across the country, I really did feel as though I was there and experiencing it all.
I always want to describe these as cosy crimes but the very chill of the tales comes not only from the Icelandic weather but also from the small community they are situated in, there is something inherently dark and dangerous about it all and this is the skill that this author has in painting a landscape so crisp and clear yet tainted with death. Ragnar Jonasson is a master at gifting his readers’ perfection on a plate, the right balance of a narrative so melodic yet matter of fact alongside descriptive prose means you are turning every page with bated breath, I can almost feel the soundtrack from a psychological thriller playing as the tension slowly builds up.
So would I recommend that you read this? Well, that will be a resounding YES! In fact, why not buy yourself a copy and a copy for a friend and start off the Icelandic tradition of gifting books on Christmas Eve by introducing them to one of the best series in Icelandic Noir!
White Out is available for purchase from:
About the author:
His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Snowblind has been a paperback bestseller in France.
Nightblind won the Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Most Captivating Crime in Translation.
Snowblind was called a “classically crafted whodunit” by THE NEW YORK TIMES, and it was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015 in the UK.
Rights to the Dark Iceland series have been sold to UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Poland, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Portugal, Croatia, Armenia and Iceland.
Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.
From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.
Ragnar has also had short stories published internationally, including in the distinguished Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in the US, the first stories by an Icelandic author in that magazine.
He has appeared on festival panels worldwide and lives in Reykjavik.
You can follow him on Twitter at @ragnarjo or check out his facebook page here
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