Book Review: Rupture

rupture-vis-4

Rupture, by Ragnar Jónasson (translated by Quentin Bates), is the fourth book in the author’s Dark Iceland series to be published in English. Chronologically it sits between Blackout and Nightblind.

In this instalment Siglufjörður, the small fishing town on the northern coast of Iceland where much of the series is set, has been quarantined due to a deadly virus. Policeman Ari Thór Arason uses the opportunity this creates to look into an old case from the 1950s. Two couples had moved to nearby Héðinsfjörður, an uninhabited and isolated fjord. Whilst there a child was born, Hédinn, and one of the woman apparently committed suicide. A photograph has recently come to light depicting an unknown young man alongside the two couples. Hédinn, who now lives in Siglufjörður, asks Ari Thór to investigate as some believed the death may have been murder.

Further south an aspiring musician is involved in a hit and run. He was estranged from his parents, high ranking politicians forced to step aside from public life due to their son’s drink and drug fuelled behaviour. Ísrún, a young journalist, is tasked with investigating the incident alongside her work reporting on the virus in Siglufjörður. With little new to report on either story she is amenable to assisting Ari Thór in seeking more information on his 1950s case.

Meanwhile another young man is disturbed when he discovers that his home is being targeted by an intruder. A series of events unfolds threatening all he holds dear.

Each thread of the story is enticingly presented offering the reader potential clues that are then woven together. Ari Thór has matured but remains vulnerable to the claustrophobia of his adopted home. The atmospheric darkness of Iceland alongside the isolation and introspection of its people are beautifully evoked.

A crime thriller that uses setting to full effect whilst presenting each character as fully rounded individuals. The writing effortlessly winds the reader in before revealing a satisfying denouement. This whole series is a chilling delight to read. To my mind Rupture is the most skilfully constructed yet.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher.

This review is a stop on the Rupture Blog Tour. Do check out the other posts detailed below.

rupture-blog-tour-1

Rupture is published by Orenda Books and is available to buy now.

image001

Book Review: Snowblind

snowblind

Snowblind, by Ragnar Jónasson (translated by Quentin Bates), is the first in a series of crime thrillers set in Siglufjörður, which is a small fishing town on the northern coast of Iceland. The location is claustrophobic in so many ways and this is admirably evoked in the writing. Due to its isolated position inclement weather can shut the town off for days at a time. In winter the sun stays behind the mountains and snow falls relentlessly adding to the gloom. With just over a thousand residents, many of whom have lived there for most of their lives, it appears that everyone knows everyone else’s business.

The protagonist, Ari Thór Arason, arrives from Reykjavik to take up his first posting as a policeman. He parted from his girlfriend under a cloud as he had not consulted her about his new job so far away from the home they had planned to make. Having been told by his new boss, Tómas, that “Nothing ever happens here” it comes as a shock when, within a couple of months of his arrival, an elderly writer falls to his death and a young woman is found lying half-naked, bleeding and unconscious in the snow.

Ari Thór is dragged into the heart of a community which harbours secrets and treats questions from strangers with suspicion. As tension mounts the young, rookie policeman struggles to cope with the unremitting snowstorms and darkness. Lonely and on edge he makes a life threatening mistake in his attempt to bring a killer to justice.

There is so much about this book which I enjoyed. Ari Thór is a refreshingly believable crime fighter with his youthful errors of judgement, his struggles to fit in and to survive the oppressive environment. The plot twists and turns as the investigation uncovers a plethora of old deceits and current intrigues. Festering wounds are opened spilling secrets as dark as the days, as shocking as the blood on the suffocating snow.

There are two more books promised in this series and I am now eager to read them. Although the denouement wound up this case the characters have a depth which offers more. Ragnar Jónasson has created an original voice for Nordic Noir. I would recommend that readers take a deep breath and immerse themselves in his world.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Orenda Books.