One of my favorite Scandinavian authors, Ragnor Jonasson, announced a new series with a kick-off book, which looks amazing! (Plus the cover quote is from another amazing Icelandic author.)
I can’t wait to see this one! Check it out!
About the Book (from Dead Good Books)
Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik Police is 64 when we meet her in The Darkness. On the verge of retirement, Hulda isn’t looking forward to whatever lies on the other side. Her job is her life. But at least she has time to prepare for the unknown.
What she doesn’t expect is for her boss to unceremoniously tell her to clear her desk one day. A young man is coming in to take her place. A rising star. After giving her life to the job, she is no longer needed.
Hulda is dismissively told that she can pick a cold case to work on for two more weeks, and she knows just the one. A young woman who was found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysuströnd, a woman who no one really cared that much about because she was Russian, waiting to be granted asylum. An outsider. Unneeded. Her death was ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation.
But when Hulda starts to ask questions she soon realises that there was something more to this case – something darker and more bloody. This was not the only young Russian woman to disappear from the hostel where they waited for asylum. And when her own force tries to put the brakes on an investigation that she is determined to finish, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. No matter how many lines she has to cross to get it.
The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you’re looking for a book to creep you the heck out – look no further. You’ve found it. This book has two interlaced storylines and both are enough to make you pull the covers around you a little tighter and jump at stray noises.
In modern day Reykjavik, Odinn is handed a new project just as his personal life is in turmoil. His ex-wife was in an accident, leaving the care of their 11-year-old daughter to him. The project relates to an old care home for delinquent boys, which was shut down after a bizarre accident in the 1970s, and whether the boys were mistreated and could be entitled to compensation. Then bizarre things start happening and Odinn begins questioning his sanity the further he gets into his investigation. The second storyline – which follows a young woman hired to clean at the home – reveals the bizarre events leading up to the accident. The past and present collide in a huge climax which will leave you with goosebumps.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir is an Icelandic author who specializes in horror novels, and while this isn’t necessarily horror, it’s a thriller at its best. There are some hints about what the ultimate conclusion will be, but it’s still shocking and spooky when it happens.
I did guess at least part of the “modern” storyline “secret,” but the past story had me stumped. And I was not disappointed in either story even having guessed a little bit of what was happening. The author keeps you second-guessing everything you think you know about the characters and their motivations. There’s definitely a creeping, pervasive feeling of dread that really culminates when your theories are finally confirmed. It’s really good.
The author does a great job of creating an air of suspense where you’re not sure what the heck is going to happen next. As Odinn’s investigation creeps forward and as Aldis’ time at the home goes on, everything just builds and builds to its conclusion – by the time I got to about 60 percent through the book I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what was going on – in both stories! That’s really an incredible thing: to create to stories in one that are just that good.
I am so glad I got a chance to read this book and am so thrilled to have discovered Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up when it is released (Feb. 14).
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Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fans of old-fashioned detective novels will love this Scandinavian thriller which pulls readers into a small Icelandic community, buried in snow as it confronts two gruesome episodes.
The main character is Ari Thor, a young police officer who leaves Reykjavik for a small northern town, where everyone knows everything about everyone. Things get interesting when the town’s most famous resident dies under strange circumstances, followed shortly after by a violent attack on a young woman. All of this as the town is enveloped in heavy snow, which, at a point, literally traps the residents in town.
This book isn’t a Dan Brown or Harlan Coben-style fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller. It’s a classic whodunnit, with pieces slowly falling into place. I enjoyed that you got to slowly see everything fall into place. By the end of the novel, I was really flipping pages to see how it all unfolded.
There’s a lot of background on every character, and this causes the book to run slow in the first quarter. But it’s worth sticking with, for sure. The devil in this story is in the details, and it all comes together beautifully, if a little bit frustrating (I don’t want to give spoilers here, but yeah).
Also, some of the interpersonal storylines were not resolved, which leads me to believe that this is a series which will continue. It was a little bit frustrating because I wanted to know how it all ended (there’s a love triangle), but I guess that’s part of reading a series of books.
Overall, I’d definitely pick up the next in the series.
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