Blackout – Ragnar Jónasson

About the book

Published: 30th June 2016 (Orenda Books) – Translated by Quentin Batesblack-out

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.

My Review

Blackout is set in 2010, approximately 2 years after Snowblind and 3 years before Nightblind.

Ari Thór has now been in Siglufjörður for nearly 2 years and is working alongside Tomas and Hlynur Isaksson. A US tourist is visiting Siglufjörður and finds the body of a local man who has been brutally beaten to death on the shores of a tranquil fjord. This time, we visit Iceland during the summer, which should be 24 hours of light and in complete contrast to the oppressive darkness of the winter however the atmosphere is shrouded by the volcanic ash-cloud – which gives the story line a bit more of a creepy edge to it.

As usual, this is a classic whodunnit with a fabulous scenic setting but Blackout is darker in subject than Snowblind. Jónasson has woven a complex plot full of mystery, ensuring that the reader is second-guessing everything that they are reading. There are 2 streams to the plot of Blackout, alongside the murder investigation, we are introduced to a new character, Isrún, a journalist from Reykjavik and follow her quest to uncover family secrets that have gone to her grandmother’s grave.

It is no secret that I love this series and Icelandic noir – once again Jónasson has a great combination of both old and new well-developed characters and drives the plot through short snappy chapters that encourage ‘just one more chapter’ and before you know it you’ve read half the book!

Another fantastic narrative from Jónasson exceptionally translated by Quentin Bates.

About Ragnar Jónasson

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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3 thoughts on “Blackout – Ragnar Jónasson

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