“Jonasson plays fair with the reader – his clues are traditional and beautifully finessed – and he keeps you turning the pages.”



Ari Thor is back. After his superb debut in Snowblind, it is good to meet him again.

It is now five years down the line and Ari Thor is re-united with his girlfriend and they now have a young son. All to the good: except that it’s not. The relationship has more cracks than a dried up cricket pitch and Ari Thor has been overlooked for the position of police inspector.

However, the new police inspector is also having no luck, he is shot at point blank range whilst investigating a derelict house. This is the only piece of good fortune Ari Thor has; as it would have been him investigating if he had not been sick.

Tomas, Ari Thor’s old colleague, is recalled from Reykjavik to help out with finding the killer. Their partnership works well, one cautious and slightly reserved, the other somewhat brusque and confident. One belonging to the area, the other still something of an outsider.

The hunt for the killer leads them to the local mayor, who is not all that he seems, and his deputy, who also has some dark secrets that she is trying to escape.

Throughout the book are pages of a diary written by someone incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital. These vignettes drip feed the back story of the murderer throughout the book to great effect.

Ari Thor is a wonderfully complex character, struggling to fit into a closed community he carries secrets from his past that affect his personal life. I want to know more.

The real strength in Ragnar Jonasson’s writing is in his creation of atmosphere. He uses the setting of Siglufjordur, an isolated village in Northern Iceland, to create feelings of foreboding. He also uses the weather. The wind and the rain and the encroaching, all-encompassing darkness are as much a part of the book as the characters.

It is an unusual strategy to go five years down the line then backtrack to the intervening years and I am really interested to see how that works. There is a small preview of Blackout, the next book in the series, at the end of Nightblind and I am already hooked.


Reviewed by:

Sandra Foy

Added 20th January 2016

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Sandra Foy