It was only very recently that I read Snowblind, the first in Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series. (It’s only 99p for Kindle at the time of writing this – click here to order) As I’m going to see him at the Edinburgh Book Festival, I’m keen to make sure I’m up to date with those which have already been translated (by Quentin Bates) before I go. Nightblind takes place five years after the events in Snowblind and is actually the fifth book in the series. The three books covering the intervening period will also be published by Orenda books. Blackout (the second in the series) is available now for Kindle and will be published in paperback on Friday 15th July.
Nightblind sees us return to Siglufjordur and catch up with policeman Ari Thor Arason. He is living with is girlfriend Kristin and they have a young son, Stefnir. Relations between them are rather strained though and Ari Thor doesn’t really know why. When his boss, Inspector Herjolfur, is shot at an isolated house Ari Thor with the help of former boss Tomas, begins to investigate. It seems that a connection between some local politicians and drug suppliers may be at the heart of the crime. Just what do the mayor and his deputy have to hide and why is she so keen to hide her true identity?
I liked the inclusion of the diary entries from the resident of a psychiatric institution which were scattered throughout the book. It was clear that this person was going to be involved in some way with the crime and I was trying to work out who it might be. As this was likely to be an unreliable narrator, I was trying to pick out any truth and clues in what they were writing. Of course, all my theories were wrong as usual and it was a complete surprise when the author revealed who the diarist was. Ari Thor continues to be a complex character who seems unable to put the events of past behind him to develop healthy emotional relationships in the present. Ragnar Jonasson seems to capture perfectly the chill atmosphere of Siglufjordur where it’s not just the weather which is cold and unwelcoming. Even after the years he has spent there, Ari Thor still feels like an outsider “a stranger in a place where everyone was connected and nobody could be trusted completely.”
With a very intriguing epilogue promising further books about Ari Thor and suggesting we might get to know about the mysterious events of his childhood, I’m looking forward to reading more about Dark Iceland and listening to Ragnar Jonasson at the Edinburgh Book Festival next month.
My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of this book. Nightblind is available in paperback and as an e-book now. You can order a copy here: Nightblind
From the back of the book
Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.