I’m thrilled to be one of the hosts of today’s stop on the blog tour for Whiteout, the latest in Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series. Translated by Quentin Bates, Whiteout is another great crime mystery published by Orenda Books. You can read my review below. (Be sure to check out the review by today’s co-host, Sharon at Shaz’s Book Blog.)
About the Book
Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and the secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.
Format: Paperback (276 pp.) Publisher: Orenda Books
Published: 1st November 2017 Genre: Crime, Mystery
Find Whiteout (Dark Iceland #5) on Goodreads
I’ve not read any of the previous books in the Dark Iceland series and, although there are references to events in earlier books (and some suggestions of possible future storylines), I didn’t consider it affected my enjoyment of Whiteout at all. I felt the translator, Quentin Bates, managed the difficult task of delivering the author’s intention of keeping the reader guessing at certain points: glances toward unidentified persons or possibly significant reactions to conversations. The downside of this, of course, is to remind us that we’re not an actual witness to the scene, only readers of a book with a deliberately obscured view of what is taking place. However, these little ‘tricks’ certainly keep the reader guessing when it comes to working out what might be the solution to the mystery.
There’s nothing revolutionary about the plot of Whiteout or the motives of those involved when finally revealed but it’s certainly a very accomplished mystery with a limited number of suspects. Like this reader, you’ll probably suspect just about each of them at some point and, like detectives Ari Thór Arason and his boss, Tomas, also wonder if perhaps the death of the victim isn’t suicide rather than murder after all. I’m certainly not going to spoil it by telling you anything more…
The author has created an interesting character in Ari Thór Arason and I liked learning about his personal back story and the intriguing hints about events in previous books. Whiteout is set shortly before Christmas and I particularly enjoyed learning about Icelandic traditions and customs such as broadcasting seasonal messages of goodwill to friends and family on the radio and – proving they are indeed a most civilized nation – the exchanging of books on Christmas Eve which, for Icelanders, is the important day of the Christmas period.
Another element I really enjoyed was the authentic sense of place created by the author. The reader really gets a feeling of the cold, the harsh snow-covered landscape and the remoteness of a small community. The perfect location, in fact, for secrets and events from the past to come to light…with devastating consequences.
I received a review copy courtesy of publishers Orenda Books, in return for an honest and unbiased review.
In three words: Atmospheric, mystery, crime
Try something similar…Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl (click here to read my review)
About the Author
Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV.
Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.
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