Review: Nightblind – Ragnar Jónasson

About the bookNight Blind

Published: January 2016 (Orenda Books) – Translated by Quentin Bates

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.

Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him.

The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.

My Review

Nightblind is actually the fifth book in the Dark Iceland series however it is the second one to be translated in to English. Blackout, which was published in July 2016 and 2 other books will fill in the gap between the Snowblind and Nightblind.

Nightblind takes place approximately 5 years after Snowblind so a lot has changed; Ari Thór has been reunited with Kristín and they are new parents to baby Stefnir. However, somethings haven’t changed; Ari Thór is still seen as the new boy despite being there now for 5 years and remains as a police officer, overlooked for promotion to Inspector when Tómas left for Reykjavik.

Ari Thór’s new Inspector is Herjólfur, however we are not given much opportunity to get to know him as he is murdered whilst checking out an abandoned home in the middle of the night – tragically Herjólfur shouldn’t have been on duty however he was covering for Ari Thór who was recovering from the flu.

Upon the attack and subsequent death of Herjólfur, Ari Thór and Tómas are reunited to investigate why he was visiting that house in the first place and find out who the perpetrator of the point blank shooting was. This is quite a complex investigation with various strands that need looking into, all adding to the suspense. Once again we are thrown into the harsh Icelandic winter and the politics and secrets of this little fishing village.

Alongside the present day investigation, we are also privy to snippets from an unknown individual’s diary about their time incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital in 1982. This throws in a different story and voice into the mix.

Once again, Jónasson’s writing is wonderful – beautifully describing the cliquey community that is Siglufjörður which is shrouded in secrets as well and the natural landscape of the little fishing village and northern Iceland. The book is well thought out and written in such a way to keep you guessing throughout.

Also I need to highlight the fantastic translation by Quentin Bates because the narrative flows beautifully and, once again, it’s easy to forget that this wasn’t actually written in English!

About the author:

RagnarRagnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Snowblind was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015 in the UK. Books in the Dark Iceland series have been published in the UK, Germany, Poland and Iceland, and rights have also been sold to the USA, France and Italy.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and recently set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA, in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar has also had short stories published internationally, including in the distinguished Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in the US, the first stories by an Icelandic author in that magazine. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

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5 thoughts on “Review: Nightblind – Ragnar Jónasson

  1. Pingback: July’s Round Up

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