The Darkness – Ragnar Jónasson

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A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach. The Darkness cover

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . . And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

The Darkness was published on the 15th March 2018 by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Books. Many thanks to the publisher for having me on this blog tour and for my copy of the book. 

My Review

I’m a massive fan of Ragnar Jónasson’s books from the internationally bestselling Dark Iceland series (Snowblind, Nightblind, Blackout, Rupture and Whiteout) so I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of the first book in a new series, The Darkness.

The Darkness is the first book in the Hidden Iceland series, it will be followed by The Island and The Mist. Interestingly this series is to be told in reverse order with The Darkness taking place in 2012 and the next books decades earlier.

In this first instalment, we are introduced to Detective Inspector, Hulda Hermannsdóttir who is on the brink of her retirement – in order to get her out sooner and quietly, her boss Magnús tells her she can investigate any cold case of her choice. Hulda doesn’t have to think of the options, she immediately knows which case she is going to investigate further as it’s result has never sat well with her. The body of Elena, an asylum seeker from Russia, was found in a rocky cove of  a thinly populated area 30 kilometres from Reykjavík – the death was recorded as unexplained but Hulda wanted to find answers for the young woman.

As with the Dark Iceland series, the author’s ability to interweave the Icelandic landscape into the narrative of the investigation is fabulous. Jónasson’s choice and descriptions of the places is the perfect match to the overall storyline, it shows just how remote and dark some of the locations can be.

I loved the character of Ari Thor in the previous series therefore I was apprehensive as to whether I would warm to any other character in the same way (I was very sad to say goodbye to Ari Thor!) but Hulda is a great character. She’s a bit standoffish, set in her ways and has her own way of doing things. However she is also feeling very vulnerable and lonely, having been widowed at a relatively young age and now on the verge of retirement when the police force has been her life. She has been overlooked for promotion in the police force for her male counterparts however she has never lost her integrity – she is determined that she will go out with a bang with this investigation but sometimes things don’t go quite according to plan!

As with Jónasson’s previous work, this is a classic whodunit with a slower pace but it is still thrilling and a complete page turner! A fabulous beginning to a new series, which I believe has subtly introduced some of the subjects covered in the next books given that this series will be going in reverse.

Highly recommended and I look forward to The Island.

About the Author

Ragnar

Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 15 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as 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 set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

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