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On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjörður struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it's a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies ... Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland's finest crime writers.


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On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjörður struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it's a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies ... Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland's finest crime writers.

30 review for Blackout

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    While I have yet to read Rupture, Blackout is by far my favorite in the series that I have read to date. Yes, each installment in the series features that dark, oppressing nature, but this one had something even more sinister lying between it’s pages. Even though these books are deeply atmospheric and slow burning in pace, I found I couldn’t absorb the information fast enough as I was dying to get to the big reveal in the end. Ragnar has a way with taking a seemingly normal story and twisting it While I have yet to read Rupture, Blackout is by far my favorite in the series that I have read to date. Yes, each installment in the series features that dark, oppressing nature, but this one had something even more sinister lying between it’s pages. Even though these books are deeply atmospheric and slow burning in pace, I found I couldn’t absorb the information fast enough as I was dying to get to the big reveal in the end. Ragnar has a way with taking a seemingly normal story and twisting it into the unreal; these books are completely in the realm of the natural, but the setting is so rich that it gives the books an otherworldly feature. I had none of this book figured out and was surprised by every last turn; I couldn’t give this book anything less than 5 stars in good conscience. Those who are fans of the series will be blown away by what the author has crafted in this entry and by where he is taking the characters we have grown attached to. *Many thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for providing my copies; it always feels like she’s doing me a favor by allowing me to review these books!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    4 stars This is book 3 in the Dark Iceland series. It is centered around 2 people, Isrun, a reporter for a tv station in Reykjavik, and Ari Thor, a policeman in Siglufjordur. A man is found brutally murdered in Skagafjordur, whose address is in Siglufjordur and the 3 man police team in Siglufjordur is asked to assist with interviews in the investigation. Isrun, ambitious to get ahead, sees this as her ticket to advancement and wangles an assignment to go and report on the death. The other 2 4 stars This is book 3 in the Dark Iceland series. It is centered around 2 people, Isrun, a reporter for a tv station in Reykjavik, and Ari Thor, a policeman in Siglufjordur. A man is found brutally murdered in Skagafjordur, whose address is in Siglufjordur and the 3 man police team in Siglufjordur is asked to assist with interviews in the investigation. Isrun, ambitious to get ahead, sees this as her ticket to advancement and wangles an assignment to go and report on the death. The other 2 officers in Siglufjordur are Hijnur and Tomas, each of whom has personal problems, causing them difficulty in performing their duties. Ari also has his own problems. How they solve this murder and unearth other crimes connected to it makes for an interesting mystery. The book takes place during the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. People living in the southern half of Iceland talk about the volcanic grit in the air. I read this book because I spent 3 nights in Siglufordur as part of a Iceland land tour last summer. It is a lovely little town that had a thriving fishing industry for hundreds of years until the herrings disappeared about forty years ago. Tourism has now replaced the fishing industry. There is a herring museum in town. Our guide said that life was very difficult during the eruption. Everyone wore face masks. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys Icelandic fiction or mysteries in general. The translation was excellent. I read it in 2 days. One quote: "She could taste the polluted air in her mouth. The ash cloud over the city had grown thicker and heavier as the day passed. The sun was blotted out by the heavy haze, its presence behind the grey miasma hidden but still felt as the temperature continued to climb." Thanks to Minotaur Books/St Martins Press for sending me this eARC through NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”Next time I’ll teach you how to die!” The death of Elias Freysson is the centerpiece of a convoluted plot that will reveal deeply buried fears of all those involved. On the surface, it seems like a nonsensical murder. Why would someone want to kill Elias Freysson? He helped run a charity organization, and people who do things like that generally aren’t murder victims. The theory is even floated that he was not the intended target, but merely a man in the wrong place at the wrong time. As Ari ”Next time I’ll teach you how to die!” The death of Elias Freysson is the centerpiece of a convoluted plot that will reveal deeply buried fears of all those involved. On the surface, it seems like a nonsensical murder. Why would someone want to kill Elias Freysson? He helped run a charity organization, and people who do things like that generally aren’t murder victims. The theory is even floated that he was not the intended target, but merely a man in the wrong place at the wrong time. As Ari Thor Arason and his boss Tomas interview the people who knew Freysson, they start to discover that there are inconsistencies in the character of the man. He has secrets, and they must find out what exactly those secrets are if they ever hope to catch the person who killed him. Tomas gives Ari the investigation to run, but he can’t help instructing the lad in the finer points, especially when interviewing the locals. Tomas knows these people, and Ari is still the outsider from Reykjavik. Ari is going to run the investigation his way, not exactly winning friends and influencing people in the process. All the characters in this novel are distracted by things beyond the parameters of the case. Tomas is pining for his wife, who has moved to Reykjavik to take advantage of an opportunity. He loves living in Siglufjordur, but he loves his wife more. He really wants Ari to become the police officer he wants him to be, so he can leave the town in safe hands. Ari is in love with a medical student named Kristin, a girl he started seeing while still in Reykjavik, but due to distance and a series of miscommunications, they have drifted apart. Even as Ari searches for a killer, he is also obsessing about what she is doing and who she is doing it with. Hlynur is the third police officer in Siglufjordur, and he has been relegated to the office due to erratic behavior. He keeps getting threatening emails that harken back to a mistake in his youth. Guilt is crippling his ability to function well with the rest of his life. Isrun is the investigative reporter from Reykjavik who has come North to investigate the murder of Freysson. Murder is rather uncommon in Iceland, and she needs a great story to salvage her sagging career. Her motivations go beyond just the story, and as she begins to unspool the nuances of the story she also begins to unravel. Ragnar Jonasson is certainly a devotee of the school of Agatha Christie. This is his most mature outing with the depth he gives the characters as well as the puzzling aspects of the plot as the investigators try to discover the true nature of the victim so they can find the killer. Jonasson does such a good job conveying the claustrophobia Ari is frequently overwhelmed by, from the mountains looming over their small town to the days and days of fog and cloud cover that compress his world into such small apertures. The plot is deftly revealed, keeping the reader on the hook until the final pieces fall into place. Many readers have said this is their favorite Jonasson so far. I certainly understand why. This is actually the second book in the series, but for some reason the American publishers published the third book in the series second. It was a bit jarring to read Nightblind before Blackout. I would suggest reading Snowblind first, then Blackout, and finally Nightblind. If you are caught out as I was, have no fear, the books can stand alone. So if you need a dash of a read to feed your Nordic Noir craving, Jonasson’s books are perfect snowy afternoon reads. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    What a wonderfully well done follow-up to Snowblind in this dark thriller series! Blackout again brings the oppressive and menacing atmosphere to this small fishing village in Northern Iceland. A volcano erupts and covers the town with suffocating ash instead of the sun-filled summer the inhabitants are use to. The feeling of isolation is there with you throughout the book. Ari Thór Arason returns as the most recent addition to the small police force on the hunt again for a murderer. A nice twist What a wonderfully well done follow-up to Snowblind in this dark thriller series! Blackout again brings the oppressive and menacing atmosphere to this small fishing village in Northern Iceland. A volcano erupts and covers the town with suffocating ash instead of the sun-filled summer the inhabitants are use to. The feeling of isolation is there with you throughout the book. Ari Thór Arason returns as the most recent addition to the small police force on the hunt again for a murderer. A nice twist is added with a female journalist looking to solve the same crime, but on a different path than Ari (unbeknownst to him). Blackout brings a slow burn suspense through many subplots with secrets that enhance the enjoyment of reading this novel. The character development is outstanding. Highly recommend this series. Many thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the ARC. 4 out of 5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    I am grateful to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for the honest review. An interesting read with Icelandic volcanos in the background whose ash is all around covering some secrets and traumatic experience from childhood which have their tragic consequence in adult life. The descriptions of the locations add a lot to the ambience of the novel.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    While I have enjoyed all I have read of the Dark Iceland series, Snowblind and Nightblind, Blackout is now my favorite. The combination of a complex, multilayered plot with a wide cast of new characters, all of whom seem to be hiding or outrunning something in the past that won’t stay behind them worked well for me and kept me glued to the book the last two days. Even Tomas and Ari Thor, the well known local police, have other things on their minds along with their duties. Is all of this because While I have enjoyed all I have read of the Dark Iceland series, Snowblind and Nightblind, Blackout is now my favorite. The combination of a complex, multilayered plot with a wide cast of new characters, all of whom seem to be hiding or outrunning something in the past that won’t stay behind them worked well for me and kept me glued to the book the last two days. Even Tomas and Ari Thor, the well known local police, have other things on their minds along with their duties. Is all of this because they are now living in summer with near 24 hours of light? Or is it somehow related to ash from the recent volcano eruption falling increasingly over Reykjavík, clouding that city and worrying even those who live at a distance? Many, if not most, people who live in this small island nation have heard tales of past volcano eruptions, of life being turned upside down by ashy blackouts. Here in northern Iceland the blackouts are more metaphoric, where the sun may be bright almost continuously but there are lies and half truths and unspoken thoughts interfering with a murder investigation; a man has been found outside of a home he has been helping to build, beaten to death. There are many strands to this story but I urge patience. You will be rewarded. There are several moments in this book where I felt truly satisfied with what Jonasson had accomplished. And I highly recommend this book. One note on this series. This is listed as book three in the Dark Iceland series. It is the third to be translated into English. The action of this story actually takes place before that of Nightblind, listed as D.I. #2. I have read these books in the order of the English translation. This may lead to some temporary confusion as you begin Blackout, since you are moving backward in time, but I had no major difficulty with it. Some are reading these two books in reverse order. I would have to investigate further to find how they were published originally in Iceland but I will leave that for another. I recommend all of the books I have read and I plan to read the rest of the Dark Iceland series when they are available. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    There was a lot of potential in this story but it was so confusing I never totally connected with it. Perhaps if I had read the previous in the series, this one would have made more sense. The mystery/police drama did have a nice plot twist that I found completely surprising. Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    It’s the summer of 2010 & Iceland is just getting back to normal after the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that spring. In Siglufjödur, Ari Thór Arason is settling into life as a small town cop. Two years ago, he was living in Reyljavík with girlfriend Kristín when he qualified as a police officer. But jobs were scarce so when an offer came from up north, he jumped. Crime in the area is usually of the petty variety so Ari is more than a little surprised when he’s told a tourist has stumbled It’s the summer of 2010 & Iceland is just getting back to normal after the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that spring. In Siglufjödur, Ari Thór Arason is settling into life as a small town cop. Two years ago, he was living in Reyljavík with girlfriend Kristín when he qualified as a police officer. But jobs were scarce so when an offer came from up north, he jumped. Crime in the area is usually of the petty variety so Ari is more than a little surprised when he’s told a tourist has stumbled over a body. There’s no question it was murder & the victim is soon identified as Elías Freysson, a sub-contractor working on the new tunnel. Freysson divided his time between Siglufjödur & Akureyri (to the southeast), giving Ari & boss Tómas lots of ground to cover as they start to pick apart his life. In alternate chapters we meet a TV news reporter named Ísrún based in Reykjavík. It’s a high stress, cutthroat environment & she’s slowly dying of boredom from covering the puff pieces assigned by a competitive boss. When news of the murder trickles south, she sees her chance & manages to get sent to Akureyri as a second stringer. There are several side stories that accompany the murder & each is told through the eyes of the character involved. As chapters alternate & time lines shift, we gradually learn what each has been up to for the year preceding Freysson’s death. There are some ugly truths & hidden connections waiting to emerge that gradually weave the story lines together. The title comes from a description of the 1947 eruption of Hekla but proves an apt metaphor for the dark burdens some of these characters carry. This is not a shoot ‘em up thriller. The author takes time building the characters, making you privy to their thoughts & complicit with their actions. The fact we know more than Ari lends the story a sense of urgency as we follow his investigation, wondering how he’s going to uncover what we already know in time to save a life. The author does a good job of showing the grunt work most cops endure until one casually tossed out comment spins the case into focus. All the while we’re surrounded by one of the most important characters, the setting. Gusty winds, summer sun tarnished by ash & looming mountains that silently bear witness. The isolation that sneaks up on you within minutes of passing the last house in town. This is a location that shapes people’s thoughts & actions. The pace ramps up for the final quarter as some big pieces fall into place. The last few pages make it clear there are some changes ahead for Ari & ensure fans will be scrambling to get their hands on the next one. Shout out to the those responsible for cover design in this series. Each has a clean, striking graphic that somehow manages to send a little chill up your spine. Just a note to all those who have been waiting to devour the english translations of this series. The original books were not written or published in chronological order. If you want to follow Ari Thór’s journey as it happens, the order is as follows: Snowblind, Blackout, Rupture, Nightblind. There are 2 other books I have not found translations for yet: Fölsk Nóta (this is the very first book that precedes Snowblind) & Andköf (will be called Whiteout, takes place between Rupture & Nightblind in terms of the MC’s timeline).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to Netgalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date: August 28th, 2018 A discovered body, a determined journalist, a love stricken cop, and a human trafficking scandal all set in Iceland. This was a fairly straightforward plot with many characters in the spotlight, but I never really felt immersed in the story or particularly shocked by any of the stories twists. It's akin to watching a season finale and having no idea what the characters have gone through to Thanks to Netgalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Publication Date: August 28th, 2018 A discovered body, a determined journalist, a love stricken cop, and a human trafficking scandal all set in Iceland. This was a fairly straightforward plot with many characters in the spotlight, but I never really felt immersed in the story or particularly shocked by any of the stories twists. It's akin to watching a season finale and having no idea what the characters have gone through to get to this point. But I LOVE the cover and have no quibbles about the translation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jill Mackin

    Dark Iceland series, book #3. I've really enjoyed the previous Dark Iceland books. Great nordic noir! Ari Thor is an interesting character. Love the Icelandic atmosphere conveyed throughout the story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Icelandic noir author Jonasson delivers another police procedural featuring Ari Thor Arason. The skies of Reykjavik are still filled with ash following the 2010 spring eruption of Eyjafjallojokull, “the sky was unusually dark, the sun hidden behind the thick mineral haze, even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.” The skies are clearer in Siglufjordur, but the menace is greater. A murdered body has been found in nearby Skagafjordur. And then Ari Thor finds a duffle bag full of money in the Icelandic noir author Jonasson delivers another police procedural featuring Ari Thor Arason. The skies of Reykjavik are still filled with ash following the 2010 spring eruption of Eyjafjallojokull, “the sky was unusually dark, the sun hidden behind the thick mineral haze, even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.” The skies are clearer in Siglufjordur, but the menace is greater. A murdered body has been found in nearby Skagafjordur. And then Ari Thor finds a duffle bag full of money in the victim Elias Freysson’s apartment. Drugs? Or something more nefarious? Isrun, the psychologist turned TV journalist hears of the body and heads north from Reykjavik. She pursues her own investigation. And where is officer Heynur Isaksson? His mind seems to be preoccupied by the past—barely registering that his fellow officers are investigating a murder. What’s up with that? Recommend.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Oh yes Ari Thor is back in Nightblind. I could not be more thrilled! This is the third in the Dark Iceland series published by Orenda Books. Chronologically, it takes place after Snowblind and before Nightblind. Blackout takes us back to small town Iceland, where murder shocks the claustrophobic small community and Ari Thor is on hand to investigate. The time frame is 2010, when the ash clouds were looming over Europe. I remember that well. This is a tale of a police investigation into a violent Oh yes Ari Thor is back in Nightblind. I could not be more thrilled! This is the third in the Dark Iceland series published by Orenda Books. Chronologically, it takes place after Snowblind and before Nightblind. Blackout takes us back to small town Iceland, where murder shocks the claustrophobic small community and Ari Thor is on hand to investigate. The time frame is 2010, when the ash clouds were looming over Europe. I remember that well. This is a tale of a police investigation into a violent murder. Ari Thor and his colleagues are looking into the death of Elias, a local contractor and charity worker found murdered. Who was he? Ari Thor is a little distracted by the breakdown of his relationship with Kristin. There is also more on Ari Thor’s colleague, Hylnur. We see how the events in Nightblind will play out for him. Simultaneously a young journalist Isrun is doing her own private investigation into Elias. What are her motives? As usual with Jonasson, there is a huge sense of an oppressive atmosphere in the small community. The clouds of ash just add to this. They are drowning out the daylight and making it even more tough for the town’s inhabitants. Slowly we follow the investigation from both sides, wondering whodunnit. Isrun seems that little bit more determined than Ari Thor to find answers. When we find get to the truth, there is a poignancy about the level of human depravity. I would like to give a shout out to the translator, Quentin Bates. He truly makes this an incredible and beautiful crime read. Sometimes it is hard to imagine this was written in Icelandic. Thank you! If you have not heard of this series or have just been considering them, give them a go! Do not be put off by the Icelandic names. They are a modern day crime classic, with a great detective in Ari Thor! Add my name to the growing legion of Ari Thor fans.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura Rash

    I'm confused as to the reading order of this series bc this book continues right after Snowblind but you're supposed to read it after Nightblind. But Nightblind recaps what happened in Blackout. So I'm a little let down bc one huge aspect of this story was known to me from the beginning. Other than that I enjoy these books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    A dead body is discovered by an American tourist, badly beaten and barely recognizable. The body is identified as Elías Freysson, a subcontractor working on a local tunnel project, who is renovating a house in the country, and is also involved with a charitable organization. The local police station consisting of three officers investigates, but each has their battles: Ari Thór continues to lament his break up with the love of his life, Kristín; Tómas abandoned by his wife’s decision to go to A dead body is discovered by an American tourist, badly beaten and barely recognizable. The body is identified as Elías Freysson, a subcontractor working on a local tunnel project, who is renovating a house in the country, and is also involved with a charitable organization. The local police station consisting of three officers investigates, but each has their battles: Ari Thór continues to lament his break up with the love of his life, Kristín; Tómas abandoned by his wife’s decision to go to college in Reykjavík; and Hlynur, who is wracked with guilt and shame for his actions in the past. The investigation takes a back seat to their lives and problems, and an aggressive television reporter from Reykjavík (Ísrún), who actualy solves the crime, ferreting out the reason for Freysson's mysterious trip to Nepal. Even her backstory of workplace treachery, physical scarring and the after effects of being a crime victim overshadow the murder and investigation. This is a weaker novel than the other two already published in the U.S.: it lacks a strong central plotline, the motive of the killer is obvious but is out of sync with the entire story, and the tranquil beauty of Iceland has disappeared, replaced by the specter of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption, fouling the air and darkening the skies with ash.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tazkatie

    Brilliant... Love love love this series

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Black Out – A Bright Light in the Dark Ragnar Jónasson is back with the third in his Black Iceland series with Black Out, which is truly a masterpiece of Icelandic Noir, which is distinctive from its Nordic cousin. Once again with a nod to the golden age of the detective fiction, Jónasson has written a really distinctive and evocative and thoroughly modern crime novel. Even if it seems like it is an old fashioned whodunit there are more twists and turns to keep you guessing. Black Out is set Black Out – A Bright Light in the Dark Ragnar Jónasson is back with the third in his Black Iceland series with Black Out, which is truly a masterpiece of Icelandic Noir, which is distinctive from its Nordic cousin. Once again with a nod to the golden age of the detective fiction, Jónasson has written a really distinctive and evocative and thoroughly modern crime novel. Even if it seems like it is an old fashioned whodunit there are more twists and turns to keep you guessing. Black Out is set during the volcanic eruptions of 2010 when the ash clouds kept much of Europe out of the air, Reykjavík rather than have its summertime 24-hour sunlight, the clouds are bringing darkness and choking to the City and the south of Iceland. It is from here that a TV reporter is able to escape and chase a story in the north of the country, unaware that a life of an innocent girl is in the balance, and she can final face her personal hell. Ari Thór Arason and his colleague and Inspector Tomas have been drafted in to investigate a murder while leaving Hlynur Ísaksson to man the police station and deal with the problems of the small town of Siglufjörður. Ari and Tomas have noticed that Hlynur is not himself and do not know what he is taking his mind away from what he should be doing. Ragnar Jónasson has given us quite a complex and enjoyable plot, where there are plenty of twists and turns, so nothing is predictable, which adds to the enjoyment. He has given us a powerfully evocative plot, a modern plot with issues that are feared across western Europe. Once again you feel the claustrophobia and the smallness of Iceland, while being contemporary and yet timeless. Ragnar Jónasson is the award winning, Crown Prince of Icelandic Noir whose work has been excellently translated by Quentin Bates delivering a piece of work that is second to none. He brings together the best of Nordic Noir with the classic whodunit and has delivered a masterpiece. There are more twists and turns than twister, that will leave you breathless, but deeply engrossed in the story. Ragnar Jónasson is a bright light in the dark, who is getting better with every novel he creates, is a work of stark beauty.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I love the bleakness and stark setting of Nordic noir and have become a great fan of the Dark Iceland series for exactly those reasons, as well as a fondness for detective Ari Thor Arason, who finds himself marooned in the small fishing village of Siglufjörður in the remote North of the country for his first police placement. Whilst the first book in the series saw the village engulfed in winter and virtually cut off from its surroundings, we now get to see it in summer, and the 24-hour daylight I love the bleakness and stark setting of Nordic noir and have become a great fan of the Dark Iceland series for exactly those reasons, as well as a fondness for detective Ari Thor Arason, who finds himself marooned in the small fishing village of Siglufjörður in the remote North of the country for his first police placement. Whilst the first book in the series saw the village engulfed in winter and virtually cut off from its surroundings, we now get to see it in summer, and the 24-hour daylight that can be as strange as the winter darkness. The rest of Iceland is engulfed in smoke and ash from two volcanic eruptions, which adds the somewhat foreboding atmosphere that is so characteristic of Jonasson’s writing. Ari Thor takes a bit of a backward step in Blackout, as we are introduced to young journalist Isrun, who is investigating the same crime as Ari Thor – the brutal murder of a man in the neighbouring town of Skagafjörður. Ari Thor’s superior Tomas and his colleague Hylnur also make a repeat appearance, as does Kristin, his ex-girlfriend, who has met a new man after her split with Ari Thor. I really liked Isrun and enjoyed the different angle her investigation added to the case. Like every other character in the book, Isrun comes with a troubled past that added extra depth to the story. But as usual, it is the setting that adds the richest character of all, shaping people’s thoughts and actions and drawing the reader deeply into this wild and remote place. Perhaps it is the armchair travel that has me so utterly addicted to the series, but I emerged from the pages slightly dazed as if I had awoken in a different world completely alien to my own. Such is Jonasson’s skill that the atmosphere perpetrates deeply into the reader’s psyche, until it almost seems like reality. I will not go into the plot of this whodunit, other than to say that it is a classical police procedural with the added angle from Isrun’s rogue investigation, and all the strings tie together very satisfactorily in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest instalment in the Dark Iceland series and have already purchased Nightblind, which is the 2nd book in the series but chronologically takes place a few years after this one – and I look forward to see what life is holding for Ari Thor five years on! In summary, if you like Nordic noir and haven’t discovered this series yet, I urge you to do so! Jonasson’s writing is atmospheric and will transport you to a wild and remote place, where murder has that extra chill factor that characterises the genre. 3.5 stars Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    For me this was a 2.5 star read. I only rounded it up for the placement feel for those long light days in various Icelandic locations because the locale feel is exact and intense throughout the book. But in other ways, I felt in my reading- an inherent unevenness. It was mainly in the plot but also within the way the characters were introduced. So many and in constant switching to context for their "placement" within any set of issues, the crime of homicide, or the off and on again "love and For me this was a 2.5 star read. I only rounded it up for the placement feel for those long light days in various Icelandic locations because the locale feel is exact and intense throughout the book. But in other ways, I felt in my reading- an inherent unevenness. It was mainly in the plot but also within the way the characters were introduced. So many and in constant switching to context for their "placement" within any set of issues, the crime of homicide, or the off and on again "love and relationship" narration "thoughts". For me they just didn't connect with such cold, detached or depressive or guilty or other states of "unhappy" characters to make the entire thing gel. It didn't seem a whole progression, but almost random musings. The ending with that future "illness" suggestion and reveal aftermath? This made me consider a 2 star. I don't think Ragnar Jonasson is my cup of tea. And I doubt I would read another. Too much detachment and "he said, she said" switching of characters and storylines in this one, for my taste.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    June 2010. Reykjavik is still recovering from the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull the previous month, the atmosphere somewhat tainted. Reporter Ísrún fears that this will be just another routine day for her, knowing that her boss, Ívar, will assign her yet another mundane report, anything to prevent her from challenging him for promotion. And yet when she hears of a dead body found in the north of the island, in the town of Skagafjörður, Ísrún is determined to be the one to look into it. Leaving June 2010. Reykjavik is still recovering from the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull the previous month, the atmosphere somewhat tainted. Reporter Ísrún fears that this will be just another routine day for her, knowing that her boss, Ívar, will assign her yet another mundane report, anything to prevent her from challenging him for promotion. And yet when she hears of a dead body found in the north of the island, in the town of Skagafjörður, Ísrún is determined to be the one to look into it. Leaving Reykjavik to investigate a new angle on her own, Ísrún has her own reasons for wanting to look into the murder, little knowing that it is an investigation which will lead to a surprising discovery and a heart breaking admission. Ari Thór is still working as a cop in the northern Icelandic town of Siglufjörður. Two years out of police college, his relationship with both Kristin and Ugla are over, and his focus is purely on his career. When Tómas, is called in to assist on the investigation into the murdered man found in Skagafjörður, and with his other junior officer Hlynur currently losing his edge on the job, he turns to Ari Thór for help. In truth, all three officers are distracted. Tómas by his wife’s absence, having moved to Reykjavik to study; Ari Thór by his desire to win Kristin back and his obsession with her possible relationship with someone in Akureyri; and Hlynur with a guilty secret from his past which has come back to haunt him. In an increasingly frustrating investigation, neither man can possibly know what a dark turn this case will take. With key witnesses in the investigation hiding truths from the police, and the victim himself having a seemingly murky past, nothing is quite as it seems. And yet, unknown to them all, an innocent victim’s life hangs in the balance. As the ash clouds darken the sky over once Siglufjörður more, every minute they waste brings them one step closer to having more blood on their hands. ‘Black Out’ is the third instalment in Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series. Set two years after the first story, ‘Snow Blind’, this starts to bridge the gap in Ari Thór’s story. We catch up with Ari Thór when all of his personal life seems to be falling apart. Separated from Kristin after having confessed to his fling with Ugla, and being ignored by Ugla after finally admitting to having had a girlfriend, Ari Thór is at a personal low. Work is all he has. And what a case he is faced with. This is a complex story, so many threads weaving together to make what is a real who-dunnit of a mystery. The story is darker than the previous two novels, the themes involved very topical and sensitive in nature. I won’t say too much as it may spoil the plot but there is an element of abuse running throughout, although more implied than gratuitously described, and also of one of the most common and enduring criminal plagues of modern times, human trafficking. As always, Jónasson has created a claustrophobic, almost suffocating sense of atmosphere, not simply because of its timing among the volcanic eruptions of 2010. I remember that time well. It almost stopped my trip to Vietnam. Even on the tail end of it travel wise, I can only imagine what the impact was like in Iceland itself, the threat of a potential second, more devastating eruption from neighbouring Katla always in the mind of those who live there. Through ‘Black Out’ you do get a sense of this, the way in which the darkness envelopes everyone and everything in spite of what should have been a hot summer of long days and short nights, adding an extra level of menace to an already dark story. And creating the perfect, oppressive setting, while still giving the reader a sense of the beauty that makes up the Icelandic landscape, is what Jónasson does so well. This story is no different. We learn a little more of Hlynur in this story too. He has a chequered past, one which he would rather forget but one which someone, somewhere, is determined that he cannot escape from. It is somewhat of a surprise, but then perhaps explains his motivations and actions in ‘Snow Blind’ where he always sought to expose the bad and protect those who he felt were innocent or abused in some way. It is hard to know exactly how I felt about Hlynur by the end of the novel, sympathetic or apathetic, but at least, I understood him. The narrative moves from past to present, each aside informing the action more and building a gradual understanding and tension. When the true consequences of the murder become clear at the start of part two, the sense of urgency for the reader picks up, although the investigation remains frustratingly slow for the police who know nothing of what the reader is privy to. This is a brilliant twist, bringing the reader into an exclusive club, understanding what is at stake but unable to do anything other than will someone to stand up and tell the truth for once. And then Ari Thór’s actions towards the end, leaving the investigation when it is so close to resolution and running Kristin instead, stand to surprise you once again, and to make you wonder if this is another loose thread which will be tied off in the remaining novels. I am thoroughly enjoying the Dark Iceland series. Stunning setting and imagery, tight and twisting plotting, and absolutely engaging, if somewhat moody characters, in truly gripping stories told by someone who has a clear passion and love of his characters and his country. Yet another brilliant translation by Quentin Bates, and the third book I have listened to on audiobook, it has made long journeys to Scotland and back simply fly by. I absolutely cannot wait for the final books in the series, and yet I say that with a certain amount of trepidation as, when they get here, this fabulous journey will end. I’m not sure I’m ready to think about that just yet. A chilling, dark and atmospheric 5 stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate~Bibliophile Book Club

    Couldn't love Ragnar's books any more if I tried. Let's be honest, I'm an unapologetic fangirl for the Dark Iceland series and Blackout is no different. Set after Snowblind, but before Nightblind, the events of Blackout are different to anything so far. An old fashioned whodunnit, and a lot of whydunnit makes it a very interesting read. There is murder, intrigue, and more than a little suspense as the story unfolds piece by piece and page by page. There are many characters to follow throughout Couldn't love Ragnar's books any more if I tried. Let's be honest, I'm an unapologetic fangirl for the Dark Iceland series and Blackout is no different. Set after Snowblind, but before Nightblind, the events of Blackout are different to anything so far. An old fashioned whodunnit, and a lot of whydunnit makes it a very interesting read. There is murder, intrigue, and more than a little suspense as the story unfolds piece by piece and page by page. There are many characters to follow throughout Blackout, but this book is character-rich, and with the introduction of Isrún I think the author has a wonderful addition to the series. An adept reporter, with a past coming back to haunt her make for an excellent story running alongside the events in Blackout. With Blackout being set in the midst of a volcanic ash cloud, this makes the atmosphere much more menacing and dark. I've always sung Ragnar's praises with regards to his use of location and descriptive atmospheric passages in setting the scene for his novels, and this one is no different. I read this book slower than the previous two, partly because life got in the way, but partly because I wanted to immerse myself in the cold dark wilds of Iceland and transport myself there alongside the characters. I also now want to go and re-read Snowblind and Nightblind again because my mind is still in Siglufjörður. Reading these books, catching up with Ari Thor and returning to Iceland feels like catching up with an old friend. Though the subject matter is dark, VERY dark in Blackout, it's still comforting to get lost between the pages of a Ragnar Jónasson novel. I cannot recommend these books highly enough! I loved Blackout, got thoroughly immersed in the story, and I didn't want it to end. All the stars. Always.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Crime by the Book

    This might be Ragnar's best book yet. BLACKOUT has all the atmosphere and tension of his previous Dark Iceland books, but this story's central crime was the most compelling to me!! This story follows not only Ari Thor, but also a young female journalist who's investigating the same crime as Ari Thor. The two characters approach the same story from very different angles, giving the reader a circumspect view of a crime that's so much larger than either individual could imagine. This book is just This might be Ragnar's best book yet. BLACKOUT has all the atmosphere and tension of his previous Dark Iceland books, but this story's central crime was the most compelling to me!! This story follows not only Ari Thor, but also a young female journalist who's investigating the same crime as Ari Thor. The two characters approach the same story from very different angles, giving the reader a circumspect view of a crime that's so much larger than either individual could imagine. This book is just fantastic. It has all the gloom and moody atmosphere of a Scandinavian crime read, with Ragnar's trademark subtlety and flair for character development. Highly, highly recommend this series!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A man is found beaten to death on the shore in Iceland. The plot has Ari Thor, a policeman, and a young reporter working on solving the murder. They are not aware of each other. The book was as much about the young reporter as Ari Thor who is the young policeman in the Iceland series. This is a very atmospheric series. It moves along like a peeling of an onion-layer by layer where the reader learns a little more about the characters as the book progresses. There are surprises along the way. I A man is found beaten to death on the shore in Iceland. The plot has Ari Thor, a policeman, and a young reporter working on solving the murder. They are not aware of each other. The book was as much about the young reporter as Ari Thor who is the young policeman in the Iceland series. This is a very atmospheric series. It moves along like a peeling of an onion-layer by layer where the reader learns a little more about the characters as the book progresses. There are surprises along the way. I felt the first half of the book to be somewhat slow but once it passed that part it was hard to put down. I have purchased the next two books to read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    BookwormDH

    On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykjavik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thor Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjordur struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykjavik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. Ari Thor Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjordur struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, its a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies It's always a pleasure to return to Siglufjordur. The quiet, close-knitted and claustrophobic small town situated in Northern Iceland. After reading Snowblind and Nighblind, Ragnar's previous UK releases, which are superb, classic crime whodunit style books, this book takes a darker and more complexed read. Plenty of unexpected twists with an exceptional plot and storyline. Once again the characters are very strong and Ragnar's sublime writing style delivers a tense and chilling outing. And all the jigsaw pieces come together perfectly towards the end. This is one of my favourite series at the moment. Just an essence you get from these books make them quite unique in this genre. I always want to go and visit the place after reading these books! Once again, expertly translated by, Quentin Bates - something I find quite amazing!! Overall, Highly recommended and a huge pleasure to read. Thank you, Karen - Orenda Books for the opportunity to review. Solid 4.5* - Read & Enjoy!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I loved the first book of this series that I read. Turns out the first was the second. As these things go, it doesn't usually matter. Last book,I'd sort of come.to an understanding with Ari-Thor. But this book I couldn't find what it was about Ari that I understood to begin with. Truthfully. These books are a boor. The scenery is what makes it so fascinating. Months of light? Yeah, I get how some folk would like that. For me? Months of darkness. I love the dark. I tried to find someone, I loved the first book of this series that I read. Turns out the first was the second. As these things go, it doesn't usually matter. Last book,I'd sort of come.to an understanding with Ari-Thor. But this book I couldn't find what it was about Ari that I understood to begin with. Truthfully. These books are a boor. The scenery is what makes it so fascinating. Months of light? Yeah, I get how some folk would like that. For me? Months of darkness. I love the dark. I tried to find someone, something that I could hold onto and like..personality wise. I couldn't and still can't find anyone to like. Honestly? I'd love to visit Iceland in the darkest months, but that's my kink...I guess. I've lived in very small towns up by the Canadian border, but Mr. Jonassons Iceland? They are some weird and strange people. He really doesn't give a good impression of his country. That's great if you're trying to scare us away. Hey, it worked! I would still all my ex husbands left or right nut to visit! Good story, I guess in all, but after 2 book's, I've come to the realization that for me these stories are fair. That's it. Fair. Which is really a waste of time. You spend 2/3 of the book on build up, then blah de blah de blah. Life's too short.

  25. 4 out of 5

    K.

    So this is the third book in this series to be published in English. But I read it second. Why? Because the first book to be published in English was the second in Icelandic. The second to be published in English was the SIXTH in Icelandic. And this one was the third in both series. So to me, it made perfect sense to read this one before reading Nightblind. But to each their own. I enjoyed this one far more than Snowblind. I'm not sure if it's because I knew what to expect from the writing style So this is the third book in this series to be published in English. But I read it second. Why? Because the first book to be published in English was the second in Icelandic. The second to be published in English was the SIXTH in Icelandic. And this one was the third in both series. So to me, it made perfect sense to read this one before reading Nightblind. But to each their own. I enjoyed this one far more than Snowblind. I'm not sure if it's because I knew what to expect from the writing style or if it's just that I found the story more interesting and less confined than Snowblind. I found it compelling, and all the different narratives that flowed through the story seemed to have far more purpose than they did in the first one. It's a fairly short book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to now moving onto Nightblind in something resembling the right order!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    June 2010: The last few years haven't been kind to the residents of Iceland and the economic malaise has been compounded by two sequential volcanic eruptions, the ash residue of which is spreading across the country. The poisonous atmosphere might not yet have reached the northernmost fishing village of Siglufjörður, but the atmosphere is no less ominous in the tiny police station that serves the area. As the arrival of summer dawns with the blinding sunshine that makes a mockery of the clock, June 2010: The last few years haven't been kind to the residents of Iceland and the economic malaise has been compounded by two sequential volcanic eruptions, the ash residue of which is spreading across the country. The poisonous atmosphere might not yet have reached the northernmost fishing village of Siglufjörður, but the atmosphere is no less ominous in the tiny police station that serves the area. As the arrival of summer dawns with the blinding sunshine that makes a mockery of the clock, the pleasant temperatures aren't raising the spirits of the Siglufjörður force. The sense of foreboding is palpable as the threat of further seismic activity looms over the nation and the feeling that the country is in a state of transition is perfectly replicated by the atmosphere at the station. Tómas is still in charge but in the wake of his wife's departure to study in Reykjavik he is clearly feeling the effects of loneliness and giving the impression that his thirst for the job has been diluted. His dark moods and irascible temper pervade the station. Ari Thór is full of regrets after the ending of his long-term relationship with Kristín, most painfully the knowledge that it is due to his own mistakes. Hlynur meanwhile seems to have faded into an apathetic, disinterested shadow of himself, as he labours with the arrival of some anonymous emails. As things come to a head, the fallout is far more wide reaching and as evidenced in Nightblind the tiny police force cannot remain unchanged. When Siglufjörður are contacted about the brutal murder of a man whose body is discovered beside a partially renovated summerhouse in Skagafjörður it comes to attention that the victim had his legal residence in Siglufjörður, and Ari Thór is tasked with investigating the background on the man. Yet as he goes about his work he is met with conflicting responses to his questions, with the man described by some as a benevolent charity campaigner and others as a rather less scrupulous character. Despite his personal distractions Ari Thór is well aware that Tómas could soon see the appeal of moving south to be with his wife and tenaciously following his instincts can only help his chance of promotion. Ari Thór is not the only one with their future in mind though, as Rejykavik based news reporter Ísrun is seeking the big scoop that will cement her future in TV news. With little to report in the summer downtime, Ísrun pitches an investigation of her own, telling her boss that she has a tip-off from a contact in her former home of Akureyi that the murder victim was involved in a drug-smuggling ring. Travelling north, Ísrun returns to pursue her story, but she clearly has an ulterior motive for her journey and some of her own demons to overcome. The subtle changes to the lead characters in the Siglufjörður force are brilliantly explored, most strikingly with Ari Thór still being very much a "work in progress". Here Ari Thór is still attempting to gain a foothold, often feeling excluded from the insular community that separate the born and bred residents from the out-of-towners. His tendency to appear slightly standoffish and abrupt can rub locals up the wrong way and his interviewing techniques are often a little naïve. The sense that he is still growing into the role allows readers to appreciate the man that emerges in the events of Nightblind and the observation that he can and does make mistakes makes his character all the more realistic. The events of Blackout take place in June 2010, meaning that it sits between the events of Snowblind and Nightblind and there is a very real sense of the past colliding with the future and, as such, this provides a wonderful addition to the series. Ragnar Jónasson both explores his central characters in greater depth and answers the questions which remained at the end of Snowblind but critically delivers another intricately plotted web of deceit to keep readers hooked. Whilst Snowblind and Nightblind are both much more centred on the village of Siglufjörður and Ari Thor, Blackout allows readers to stand back and take a big picture view of the changes in the country and how this tiny fishing village fits into the wider context of the nation. Blackout adds another remarkable dimension to the series, indeed the term "dark Iceland" has never been so apt! Darker and more menacing in tone, this is once again a first class mystery. Blackout combines several strands of enquiry to muddy the waters as it builds up to the denouement, surprising and delivering several stings in the tail. Ragnar Jónasson has, once again, delivered a mystery where the importance of the motives overrides the violence, and leaves readers with plenty of food for thought. The overriding theme of Blackout is past events coming full circle and refusing to stay hidden; regrets, revenge and retribution all come to a head and the sense is very much of two worlds colliding, mirroring the personal burdens of Ari Thór and his colleagues. As a web of lies and long held secrets are revealed, Blackout is a novel where the seeds of the damage were sown earlier but the repercussions are to this day still being felt on the lives they have scarred. Ragnar Jónasson delivers his trademark incisive prose, and it is this simplicity and directness which make his novels so powerful; his pared back narrative cuts to the chase and encapsulates the perfect simplicity of the region. Whilst all of the individual novels which comprise the Dark Iceland series can be read as standalones, reading all of the individual entries allows readers to fully appreciate the journey of a rookie cop facing the challenges of a remote posting and trying to make a life for himself. Once again, Quentin Bates provides a flawless translation which makes for a wonderfully natural and fluid read. Bates has translated the Dark Iceland series since its inception and his familiarity with Jónasson's work, his characters and his setting is second to none.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deb Jones

    Blackout is actually Dark Iceland #2, not #3 as Goodreads has it listed. I read it out of order, which was fine for the most part, but having read NightBlind out of order in the series did provide spoilers to some of the plot line in Blackout. Ari Thor has now been in his job as policeman in small town Iceland long enough to have built up his confidence in his abilities, as well as having grown fond of the small town itself. His investigative abilities are put to the test after a man has been Blackout is actually Dark Iceland #2, not #3 as Goodreads has it listed. I read it out of order, which was fine for the most part, but having read NightBlind out of order in the series did provide spoilers to some of the plot line in Blackout. Ari Thor has now been in his job as policeman in small town Iceland long enough to have built up his confidence in his abilities, as well as having grown fond of the small town itself. His investigative abilities are put to the test after a man has been found bludgeoned to death. Tomas, the police chief, puts Ari Thor in charge of the investigation to test the younger man's mettle. Tomas is sorely missing his wife and considering taking a leave of absence from the police force in order to reunite with her. Will Ari Thor prove himself to be the person who can take over should Tomas leave?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)

    Before I write anything about the novel, I would like to express my gratitude to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free ARC of Ragnar Jonasson's ''Blackout''. This is the second installment in the exceptional ''Dark Iceland'' crime/thriller series and the third book of the author that I've read till now, the other two being ''Snowblind'' (#1) and ''Rupture'' (#3). In my humble opinion is a weaker novel than the other two that I've already devoured, as it lacks a strong central plotline Before I write anything about the novel, I would like to express my gratitude to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free ARC of Ragnar Jonasson's ''Blackout''. This is the second installment in the exceptional ''Dark Iceland'' crime/thriller series and the third book of the author that I've read till now, the other two being ''Snowblind'' (#1) and ''Rupture'' (#3). In my humble opinion is a weaker novel than the other two that I've already devoured, as it lacks a strong central plotline which would push the novel forward and it also has many -perhaps too many- sub-plots which do not intersect at any point. The story is narrated by multiple POV, a fact that helps the reader to delve into the thoughts of, almost, every character in the novel but after a while, it becomes tedious and confusing and prevents the build-up of a shattering climax that the fans of the genre may be expecting. Ari Thór Arason, nicknamed ''The Reverend'' due to his theology studies, is once more the main protagonist, but in this book, another central character is introduced, named Isrun, a tv journalist from Reykjavik who is on the hunt of the big scoop that will lead to her promotion and starts investigating a brutal homicide, which consists the core mystery in ''Blackout'', in parallel with the police officers of Akureyri and Siglufjörður (Ari Thór and his boss Tomas). There is also an interesting sub-story about the third police officer in Siglufjörður, Hlynur, who is caught up by his past misdeeds and begins gradually a descent into obsession and madness with horrendous consequences for himself. ''Blackout'' is a gloomy crime novel, which is chronologically set a few months after the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption which led to air pollution due to the vast amount of ash produced by the volcanic explosion. Ragnar Jonasson remains faithful to the prose and style that he adopted in the rest of the series books which is simple, dense and atmospheric and, in a way, saves the anemic story but I'm certain that the Icelandic author has a lot more to offer and the mixed impressions left by ''Blackout'' should in no way prevent the readers from exploring the captivating ''Dark Iceland'' series. My rating, on a scale of one to ten, would be between 6,5 and 7.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Hobson

    This was my first novel by Ragnar Jonasson and it certainly won't be my last. This was a brilliantly paced thriller set in Iceland and it deserves all the praise already heaped on it. All the elements for classic Nordic Noir are here. A harsh climate, this time driven by the volcanic eruption that effected the whole world's air traffic, stunning scenery and a murder. Police investigation, journalists and plenty of different agendas among the cast of characters. The only real villain was the dead This was my first novel by Ragnar Jonasson and it certainly won't be my last. This was a brilliantly paced thriller set in Iceland and it deserves all the praise already heaped on it. All the elements for classic Nordic Noir are here. A harsh climate, this time driven by the volcanic eruption that effected the whole world's air traffic, stunning scenery and a murder. Police investigation, journalists and plenty of different agendas among the cast of characters. The only real villain was the dead man, but there are plenty of possible motives and a range of different suspects. Perhaps the main difference to normal thrillers was that for a good while I wasn't too sure who our hero was going to be. Was it the policeman Ari Thor who seems to have messed up his relationship, or was it the female journalist called Isrun? For most of the book they both vie for that central position and both have likeable qualities and problems to overcome. Anyhow none of that spoils a thoroughly good read and a well paced and well plotted thriller.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marina Sofia

    It's summer this time in Iceland, but the atmosphere is still oppressive, as volcano ash has been covering the skies. Ari Thor is settling into his job in the north of Iceland, but still regrets breaking up with his girlfriend. He is not quite at the forefront in this investigation, which seems to be a collaborative effort between different police forces and a journalist determined to make her mark. We are introduce to a variety of people and voices, get to see a diversity of point of views. It's summer this time in Iceland, but the atmosphere is still oppressive, as volcano ash has been covering the skies. Ari Thor is settling into his job in the north of Iceland, but still regrets breaking up with his girlfriend. He is not quite at the forefront in this investigation, which seems to be a collaborative effort between different police forces and a journalist determined to make her mark. We are introduce to a variety of people and voices, get to see a diversity of point of views. Perhaps a few too many.

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