Book Reviews

Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1)

Author: Ragnar Jonasson
Publish Date: January 31, 2017 in the U.S. by Minotaur Books
Genre: Crime Thriller
Hardcover: 302 pages
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Find it on Amazon

“A classic whodunit with a vividly drawn protagonist and an intriguing, claustrophobic setting, ‘Snowbind’ dazzles like sunlight on snow, chills like ice and confirms the growing influence of Scandinavian crime fiction.” – Richmond Dispatch, Virginia

Snowblind is the first in a 5-book series set in Siglufjordur, a quiet fishing village on the northern coast of Iceland, an area north of where the author is from. This book introduces us to Ari Thor Arason, a rookie policeman who accepts a job in this remote location fresh out of police training. This is a town where there is only one access road into the town via a tunnel; a town where everyone knows everyone, and nobody locks their doors. That is until a young woman is found laying in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and an esteemed writer falls to his death under mysterious circumstances during one of the stage rehearsals of the town’s Dramatic Society. Are the two related? As a newcomer, who can Ari Thor trust?

The author, Ragnar Jonasson used to translate Agatha Christie novels in his early years and you can’t help but see the similarities in the locked room strategy that Agatha Christie perfected and Jonasson uses here. When the only road leading in or out of town is blocked by an avalanche, the number of suspects is limited to those people presently trapped in this small town, and the weather and blinding snow storm become an additional character.

As for characters and suspects of the human kind, you have just about everyone involved in the play. The director who never saw eye to eye with the deceased who is also the chairman and decision maker of the Dramatic Society. Leifur, the off kilter handyman who is always the understudy, but never the led. Nina Arnardottir, who runs the front office and has a secret crush. Anna Einarsdottir, who has a small part in the play, but is also carrying on an affair with the play’s male lead, who also happens to be the boyfriend of the woman found unconscious in the snow. As you can see, for a first job, Ari Thor has his work cut out for him. It is a joy to get to know this mismatched set of characters, and there is a satisfying conclusion to wrap everything up nicely!

The town of Siglufjordur. Photo © Sigurður Ægisson

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