Category Archives: Ragnar Jonasson
Blackout (Dark Iceland 3)– Ragnar Jónasson
The Last Word Review
The Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson is back with Blackout the third book in the Dark Iceland series. Anyone who has read Snowblind and Nightblind will know of his leading character the detective Ari Thor. Well fans can rejoice as he is back. One thing to note here that Blackout is actually the second of the three books. But this in no way detracts from the plots.
I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Icelandic writing and with Jónasson he creates a setting that only the best nordic crime writer can. The setting the bleakness and cold of the Icelandic winters makes for a dramatic plot. But in Blackout the setting is the Icelandic summer, albeit a short summer. Set against the backdrop of the volcanic eruptions that are darkening the summer skyline. Now setting into life based in the remote town of Siglufjörður. Life can be lonely for Ari Thor his girlfriend reluctant to relocate so at times he comes across as moody and dark.
As the Volcanic action darkens the skies and the mood this creates in turn quite a dark chilling atmosphere even in the summer months and also for the plot. Ari Thor has now been drafted in to investigate a brutal murder after a body was discovered by an American tourist. The great thing about Blackout is the style of writing and the rich variety of characters the reader gets introduced to. Somewhere in here could lie the key suspect? There are many twists and turns in this story that is so rich that it manages to hook the reader from the start and remember this is actually the second book of the three and that is quite an accomplishment. There is something so unique as a thriller based within a small community Ireland like Iceland that can deliver a classic crime novel.
Lookout for an interesting female reporter who gives quite a performance in Blackout and somewhat different in her approach than Ari. I thought this gave quite a balance to the investigation as a whole.
If you are new to Ragnar Jónasson’s writing my advice is go out and treat yourself to all three in the series and get to know a writer that has quite a following and is also award winning. You will be gripped by all three books and many will be booking trips to visit Iceland and the places made famous in Snowblind, Nightblind and now Blackout.
Thank you to Karen at Orenda Books for the review copy.
Blackout by Ragnar Jónasson is published by Orenda Books and is available through Waterstones and all good bookshops.
Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson
The Last Word Review
Ragnar Jónasson is back with Nightblind. As chilling as an Icelandic winter’s night. This will grip you and not let go
Following on from the success of Snowbind Ragnar Jónasson returns with Nightblind and sure to be just as successful and his first.
With Nightblind set a few years after Snowblind we are in the remote quiet fishing village of Siglufjörður which is situated at the very tip of northern Iceland and not the easiest of places to get to only via a tunnel in the mountains. Here Ari Thór Arason the local policeman, continues his difficult relationship with the villagers. If you read Snowblind you will have come to know Ari well and his let’s say you got to know all about his past fast forward a few years now.
Now the village is having to deal with the murder of a policeman, who is shot at point-blank in a deserted house. Now a cold blooded killer is out there on the loose and the long dark winter days are fast approaching. Now the local policeman Ari Thór has to catch the killer before he kills again. Is this a revenge killing or the start of something more sinister? So who is the killer of policeman Herjólfur?
Add in a strange woman who comes to town, who is she, well she is running away from something that is for sure, but what? When you add in local politics that is sure to make things difficult for Ari, the local mayor is compromised what is this all about and then Ari decides he needs help and calls upon the assistance of his old colleague Tomás to help. We discover a psychiatric ward in the capital Reykjavik ward where someone is being held against their will.
What Ragnar Jónasson gives us in Nighblind is a complex crime thriller written against a backdrop of the Wintery Icelandic scenery that Jónasson weaves into the storyline and is nothing short of breath-taking and just adds to the drama that is unfolding.
One of the reasons I so enjoy reading Ragnar Jónasson’s Icelandic crime novels is that to me there is an air of the old ‘who done it’ may be it has something to do with Jónasson who translated a number of Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic when he was 17 years-old.
There are plenty of clues along the way to help the reader to try and see if they can find the killer. Plenty of twists and turns to keep you up late at night.
I have said it before some authors can suffer from second book syndrome but I am so delighted that this is not in the case of Ragnar Jónasson.
As Ragnar Jónasson’s first novel Snowblind the translation of Nightblind has been completed by Quentin Bates.
My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for supplying a review copy ahead of publication.
To my delight I even get a mention in Nightblind as part of the reviews for Snowblind which came as a rather nice surprise.
If you are looking for the perfect winter crime novel that mixes not only drama but outstanding scenery, then from the land of fire and ice Nightblind is the Icelandic noir crime novel is one book to start the new year.
One day I can see Ragnar Jónasson’s Icelandic crime novels being turned into crime dramas for the small screen they are just perfect for TV.
Nightblind is released in paperback on 15 January 2016 by Orenda Books.
Snowblind (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jónasson
Review Date: 28 September 2015
Author: Ragnar Jónasson
Release Date: 15 June 2015
Publishers: Orenda Books
ISBN –10: 1910633038
ISBN – 13: 978-1910633038
Available in Paperback, Kindle and audio
The Last Word Review
From the lands of fire and ice comes a new name in crime writing one you will hear a lot more from
Ragnar Jónasson is a new name in the crime writing genre and I urge anyone who is a fan of Nordic crime noir to rush out and get yourself a copy of Snowblind this you will want to add to your collection. It is really that good.
Set among the snow covered mountains of Iceland the long dark freezing winter were the sun has set beyond the mountains and the days and nights are long and bitterly cold. In the Northwest of Iceland is a small fishing town of Siglufjördur sadly for this community the highs of the herring days are long gone now the small town has become a close knit community where almost everyone knows each other.
When you add to this town a killer on the loose you know you are going to get a tense gripping crime novel add to this a young and raw police recruit Ari Thór Arason who has moved from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik to this small fishing town and now a murder has landed on his watch.
Ari Thór is a man who has his own personal issues to deal with he lost both parents who he never come to terms with, add to this the fact that he never consulted with Kristin his girlfriend over the job move he is also a failed student, so for Ari Thór life has been somewhat difficult. When he arrives to take up his new post police sergeant Tómas tells him ‘nothing ever happens around here’ I must admit when I read that you just knew something bad was going to happen. Great line. It is not long before he is questioning his motives for moving, he feels along, and an outsider and is missing his girlfriend. But as the days pass for Ari Thór his love life takes on a new twist when he meets Ugla one of the local drama society members, which only adds to his confused state of mind over his girlfriend he left behind.
Then things start to happen as the story starts to takes twists and turns with every chapter. We start to read of a woman who has a brutal intruder in her home, and then another woman is left bleeding to death in the snow and then the local famous elderly writer is found dead at the bottom of his stairs. This all adds up to an incredible thriller that you will struggle to put down and will leave you wanting more.
I loved the setting of Siglufjördur and its dark snow covered mountains, you almost want to read this wrapped up as you can feel the cold through Jónasson’s writing. The lead character of Ari Thór is one of confused young man not only confused with his relationships but not yet come to terms with his past, this is a young police officer I feel we are going to learn more about in forthcoming series of novels. This is laying the groundwork for something even more special soon.
So from the land of fire and ice come Snowblind and I am delighted to recommend this to you, be quick though as the next instalment is due out later this year. And I for one cannot wait. Snowblind is translated into English by Quentin Bates.
Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Book publishers for a review copy in return for an honest review.
Meet the Author
Ragnar Jónasson (www.ragnarjonasson.com) is the Icelandic writer of the Dark Iceland crime series set in Northern Iceland. Snow Blind (2015) is the first book in the Dark Iceland series. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and works as a lawyer in Reykjavik. He is also a teacher at Reykjavik University Law School and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen of Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir, and has appeard on panels at Crimefest in Bristol, Left Coast Crime in the USA, Bloody Scotland in Stirling and Iceland Noir in Iceland. Ragnar’s short story Death of a Sunflower was published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine January 2014 issue, the first story in the magazine by an Icelandic author. His second Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine story, A Letter to Santa, was published in the January 2015 issue. Ragnar’s short story Party of Two was published in the Crime Writers’ Association 2014 anthology Guilty Parties, edited by Martin Edwards. Ragnar lives in Reykjavik with his wife and daughters.