Blackout – Ragnar Jonasson


Blackout was published on 30 June 2016 by Orenda Books and is available to buy here

On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer’s night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person’s life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjörður struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it’s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies… Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s finest crime writers.

Previous books in the Dark Iceland series: Snowblind and Nightblind

My thoughts

Oh yes Ari Thor is back in Nightblind. I could not be more thrilled!

This is the third in the Dark Iceland series published by Orenda Books. Chronologically, it takes place after Snowblind and before Nightblind. Blackout takes us back to small town Iceland, where murder shocks the claustrophobic small community and Ari Thor is on hand to investigate. The time frame is 2010, when the ash clouds were looming over Europe. I remember that well.

This is a tale of a police investigation into a violent murder. Ari Thor and his colleagues are looking into the death of Elias, a local contractor and charity worker found murdered. Who was he? Ari Thor is a little distracted by the breakdown of his relationship with Kristin. There is also more on Ari Thor’s colleague, Hylnur. We see how the events in Nightblind will play out for him. Simultaneously a young journalist Isrun is doing her own private investigation into Elias. What are her motives?

As usual with Jonasson, there is a huge sense of an oppressive atmosphere in the small community. The clouds of ash just add to this. They are drowning out the daylight and making it even more tough for the town’s inhabitants. Slowly we follow the investigation from both sides, wondering whodunnit. Isrun seems that little bit more determined than Ari Thor to find answers. When we find get to the truth, there is a poignancy about the level of human depravity.

I would like to give a shout out to the translator, Quentin Bates. He truly makes this an incredible and beautiful crime read. Sometimes it is hard to imagine this was written in Icelandic. Thank you!

If you have not heard of this series or have just been considering them, give them a go! Do not be put off by the Icelandic names. They are a modern day crime classic, with a great detective in Ari Thor! Add my name to the growing legion of Ari Thor fans.





About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Blackout – Ragnar Jonasson

  1. Pingback: Top 12 Crime Books of 2016 | #northern #crime

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