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Blackout

Published Date: 10th February 2016

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EBook
9781910633472
£5.99
30 June 2016
Paperback
9781910633465
£8.99
15 July 2016
Hardback
9781910633489
£14.99
15 June 2016 EXCLUSIVE to Goldsboro Books
Audiobook
B01INI3DQS
£14.99
15th August 2016

Description

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.

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‘A classic crime story seen through a uniquely Icelandic lens … first rate and highly recommended’ Lee Child

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‘Jonasson’s books have breathed new life into Nordic noir’ Express

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‘British aficionados of Nordic Noir are familiar with two excellent Icelandic writers, Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. Here’s a third: Ragnar Jónasson … the darkness and cold are palpable’

Marcel Berlins, The Times

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‘Traditional and beautifully finessed… morally more equivocal than most traditional whodunnits, and it offers alluring glimpses of darker, infinitely more threatening horizons’ Independent

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‘A distinctive blend of Nordic Noir and Golden Age detective fiction … economical and evocative prose, as well as some masterful prestidigitation’ Laura Wilson, Guardian

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‘Bitingly contemporary in setting and tone’ Telegraph

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‘A modern take on an Agatha Christie-style mystery, as twisty as any slalom…’ Ian Rankin

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‘Ragnar Jónasson writes with a chilling, poetic beauty – a must-read addition to the growing canon of Iceland Noir’ Peter James

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‘Ragnar Jonasson does claustrophobia beautifully’ Ann Cleeves

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‘A tense and convincing thriller; Jónasson is a welcome addition to the roster of Scandi authors…’ Susan Moody

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‘Ragnar Jónasson’s Snowblind is as dazzling a novel as its title implies and the wonderful Ari Thór is a welcome addition to the pantheon of Scandinavian detectives. I can’t wait until the sequel!’ William Ryan

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‘A truly chilling debut, perfect for fans of Karin Fossum and Henning Mankell’ Eva Dolan

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‘An isolated community, subtle clueing, clever mis-direction and more than a few surprises combine to give a modern day Golden Age whodunnit. Well Done! I look forward to the next in the series’ Dr John Curran

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‘Snowblind brings you the chill of a snowbound Icelandic fishing village cut off from the outside world, and the warmth of a really well-crafted and translated murder mystery’ Michael Ridpath

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‘In Ari Thór Arason, Nordic Noir has a new hero as compelling and interesting as the Northern Icelandic setting’ Nick Quantrill

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‘If a Golden Age crime novel was to emerge from a literary deep freeze then you’d hope it would read like this. Jónasson cleverly squeezes this small, isolated town in northern Iceland until it is hard to breathe, ensuring the setting is as claustrophobic as any locked room. If you call your book “Snowblind” then you better make sure it’s chilling. He does.’ Craig Robertson

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‘If Arnaldur is the King and Yrsa the Queen of Icelandic crime fiction, then Ragnar is surely the Crown Prince … more please!’ Karen Meek, EuroCrime

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‘Ragnar Jónasson brilliantly evokes the claustrophobia of small-town Iceland in this intriguing murder mystery. Let’s hope this is the first of many translations by Quentin Bates’ Zoë Sharp

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‘The best part is the brittle, agonising relationship between Arason and his girlfriend, Kristín: here the temperature really falls to zero’ Spectator

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‘Icelandic Noir at its finest – a modern take on a golden age style mystery, with an extra touch of darkness and an Icelandic twist’ Crime Thriller Girl

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‘Jónasson’s writing is a masterful reinvention of the Golden Age classic style, both contemporary and timeless … enclosed by the poetic beauty of the location’ Crime Review

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‘A stunning murder mystery by one of the country’s finest crime writers’ Yrsa Sigurardóttir

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‘Snowblind is a beautifully written thriller, as tense as it is terrifying – Jónasson is a writer with a big future’ Luca Veste.

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“Ragnar Jónasson is simply brilliant at planting a hook and using the magic of a dark Icelandic winter to reel in the story. Snowblind screams isolation and darkness in an exploration of the basic Icelandic nature with all its attendant contrasts and extremes, amid a plot filled with twists, turns, and one surprise after another’ Jeffrey Siger

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‘A chilling, thrilling slice of Icelandic Noir’ Thomas Enger

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‘Snowblind is a brilliantly crafted crime story that gradually unravels old secrets in a small Icelandic town … an excellent debut from a talented Icelandic author. I can’t wait to read more’ Sarah Ward

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‘Is King Arnaldur Indriðason looking to his laurels? There is a young pretender beavering away, his eye on the crown: Ragnar Jónasson…’ Barry Forshaw

Author

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teacher copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the International crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller, Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015n with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout and Rupture following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.
Visit him on Twitter @ragnarjo or at ragnarjonasson.com

Translator

Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language a new profession as a seaman and a family, before decamping en masse for England. He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism, largely by accident. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, Cold Comfort and Thin Ice which have been published worldwide. He has translated all of Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.

Online Reviews.

‘This truly is a crime novel to tamper with your thoughts and send them skittering off in all directions. ‘Blackout’ takes place in June 2010, following on from Snowblind, the first in the Dark Iceland series……Ragnar Jonasson writes with a bitingly sparse, to the point style, and Quentin Bates has translated his words skilfully, ensuring the story flows. The first part of the novel sews confusion and encourages questions, it almost feels as though two or three jigsaws of information have been thrown into the air to land in one jumbled pile. With several menacing stories, creeping and melding into one, ‘Blackout’ is a wonderfully gripping and gritty novel.’ LoveReading

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‘I’m a huge fan of Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series. And there’s no doubt that Blackout is his darkest book yet….The plot of Blackout is far more complex than that of the previous Dark Iceland books, with various different strands that at first seemed unrelated. The suspense and intrigue built up gradually with many surprises along the way. And as the jigsaw pieces slotted into place, there were several breath-holding final chapters. I couldn’t wait to read Blackout, so bought it soon after the ebook release. The only drawback now is that I have to wait until Spring 2017 to read the next book, Rupture. Looks like I may have to read all three of the current books again to tide me over until then.’ off-the shelf books

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‘Reykjavik is under a volcanic ash cloud, and this use of location and pathetic fallacy is just one way Jónasson tells a gripping story. It’s a classic whodunit, but the suspense doesn’t stop there. As with any good crime drama, it’s the why that’s the most thrilling. Blackout is an excellent addition to the already fantastic Dark Iceland series. Wonderfully translated by the talented Quentin Bates, Jónasson manages to capture the rugged beauty of Iceland, the safest place in the world; and drags you into the dark underbelly.’ Bandwagon

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‘What I absolutely love about this author’s books is the mesmorising setting, it is actually quite breath taking…. The actual story line is yet another web of mystery and suspense. I think I’ve mentioned it in one of my other reviews but the authors books have a feel of the classic Agatha Christie novels, with the pretty scenic settings and the classic who dunnit feel. It certainly makes for an extremely intriguing read. Blackout is another wonderfully atmospheric read that is very different from your usual crime books. It’s Icelandic Noir at it’s best.’Bytheletterbookreviews

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Reviewed in BookTime Magazine

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‘I really enjoyed Blackout, once again it is a gripping, atmospheric mystery packed with fascinating, complex characters with plenty of secrets to uncover. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Rupture, when it is published next year!’ The Low on the Book Shelf

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‘The writing jumps around in time and place offering many threads which coalesce as the denouement approaches. There are significant events from dark pasts to recount, the isolation and austerity of the land seeming to seep into its resident’s psyches. The style of the prose reflects this. It is succinct and spartan, atmospheric with elements of stark beauty. This is another enjoyable installment in an excellent crime fiction series which is gripping but never formulaic. I am already looking forward to reading his next adventure when Rupture is released early next year.’ Never Imitate

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‘Nightblind used the geographic isolation of the village to fantastic effect to heighten tension, as heavy snows cut the village off completely. Blackout repeats this claustrophobic atmosphere, as a nearby volcanic eruption provided the “blackout” of the title, leading to properly scary results. The evocative setting, paired with poetic writing and an author who knows how to use misdirection to really run rings around the reader, make this yet another triumph from one of Iceland’s finest crime writers. Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is sure to follow it’s prequels to the top of the charts.’ Turnaround Blog

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‘I enjoyed reading it and was sorry when I came to the end. Normally, when reading crime fiction, I enjoy puzzling out who the perpetrator was, why they did it, and love the twists and turns of the plot. With Black Out this didn’t happen, but I did enjoy finding out about the characters. Overall this was an extremely enjoyable read with many sub-plots that start to tie in with each other towards the end of the book.’ Nudge Book

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‘Whenever a new book by Ragnar Jónasson is released I drop everything to read it. I know I’m going to get a gripping and atmospheric novel written with such style and grace that I will feel as if I am in Iceland living through the story myself … Jónasson’s powerful narrative transports you into his rich and dangerous world. Nordic Noir is incredibly popular in Britain. Now, a new name can be added to that list: Ragnar Jónasson. In three novels he has shown himself to be a confident and intelligent storyteller. ‘Blackout’ is a story as dark as an Icelandic winter but as beautifully written as its landscape.’ Crime Squad

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Weaving together all the sub-plots of such a multifaceted story could prove challenging yet Ragnar Jónasson makes it seem effortless – while his history of translating Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic means he’s no stranger to mystery writing, it’s his own voice and skill that makes Black Out and the Dark Iceland series one of the most compelling and rewarding additions to the thriller genre. Each instalment delivers more and leaves the reader in eager anticipation for the next. The first snippet of the next instalment (included at the end of Black Out) had me checking the door was properly locked and bolted. Not something I’ve done since I read The Snowman. A series and author well deserving of the highest praise. Very much looking forward to more. Mumbling About Music

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‘Cor blimey! What a novel. I’m trying to contain my excitement (just a tad) but I really, like really, enjoyed reading Blackout for a few reasons … I underestimate Jónasson’s ability at creating such a clever crime novel. I was pleasantly surprised and what unfolded and I can only praise this novel, for it’s brilliance. This is one book you won’t be disappointed by. It’s short but packs the most powerful punch! It’s official, Jónasson has written himself into my heart and onto my list of great crime writers.’ This Crime Book

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‘Many strands and many timelines are interwoven in the book. The stories can seem a bit disconnected, but you have to have faith that all will be revealed in the exciting denouement – which it absolutely is (and in some style). One of Ragnar’s great talents is bringing together disparate strands into a convincing and thrilling finale.’ Trip Fiction

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‘Blackout is an extremely welcome addition to the successful Dark Iceland series. An excellent and exciting read. This is a very welcome and much longed for third book in the Dark Iceland series. It’s set between the first two books which makes it a unique thrilling part of the timeline … It still reads like a classic crime story – an Icelandic twist on the very darkest Agatha Christie – and I think the author even takes this a few steps further in this one. I read this in my own kind of blackout – with just one lamp on and it was stepping inside a cinematic experience. The ghostly outline of Book 4 is on the top of my TBR unless I can learn Icelandic first…’ The Book Trail

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‘Black Out is an expertly wrought crime thriller. Every suspect has a secret, and Jónasson carefully lays a multitude of clues, many leading up blind alleys. The plot is tight and pacey, the terror building palpably as the novel progresses, culminating in a heart-stopping, race against time finale … With two of the five dark Iceland novels already garnering huge acclaim in the UK,  Ragnar Jónasson has delivered what is sure to be another spectacular triumph, and I look forward to the arrival of Rupture, also by Orenda Books, which is due to be published in 2017.’ Hard Book Habit

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‘I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Icelandic writing and with Jónasson he creates a setting that only the best nordic crime writer can … The great thing about Blackout is the style of writing and the rich variety of characters the reader gets introduced to. Somewhere in here could lie the key suspect? There are many twists and turns in this story that is so rich that it manages to hook the reader from the start and remember this is actually the second book of the three and that is quite an accomplishment. ‘ The Last Word Book Review

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It’s a mark of the quality of the writing – expertly translated by Quentin Bates – that the publication of the Dark Iceland series out of sequence isn’t too much of an issue: sure, we know how Ari Thór and others resolve some of their differences because we’ve read Nightblind, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth observing their journey.’      Café Thinking

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‘Blackout is a tense, fast moving narrative with some grim secrets at the heart. The story does perhaps dot around a bit, with separate flashbacks for different characters, so you have to keep focussed – it’s probably a book to read in one or two goes. Definitely a worthy followup to Snow Blind and Night Blind – and I’m looking forward to the remaining books in the sequence: the darkness is definitely gathering.’ Blue Book Balloon

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‘Ragnar Jónasson has given us quite a complex and enjoyable plot … He brings together the best of Nordic Noir with the classic whodunit and has delivered a masterpiece. There are more twists and turns than twister, that will leave you breathless, but deeply engrossed in the story. Ragnar Jónasson is a bright light in the dark, who is getting better with every novel he creates, is a work of stark beauty.’Library Thing

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‘Blackout has more depth and complexity than the previous two books, with the myriad of threads and characters weaving together as the book progresses, all told in Ragnar’s wonderfully sparse style … Ragnar has delivered another superbly convoluted mystery. Nordic Noir, eat your heart out. Icelandic Noir is where it’s at. Express Coco

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‘This story takes a much darker tone, the characters are dealing with harsher events, they seem to have more troubled backgrounds. Even the main players do not appear to be coping so well with daily life. The character angst gives the whole book a more tense and nervous feel which dramatically differentiated it from Snowblind which I still believe had quite a gentle narrative feel. Blackout is translated by Quentin Bates who very much deserves the plaudits too, my enjoyment of the Dark Iceland stories is partly due to the fact that they are so very readable.’      Grab This Book

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‘There is murder, intrigue, and more than a little suspense as the story unfolds piece by piece and page by page. There are many characters to follow throughout Blackout, but this book is character-rich, and with the introduction of Isrún I think the author has a wonderful addition to the series. An adept reporter, with a past coming back to haunt her makes for an excellent story running alongside the events in Blackout. I’ve always sung Ragnar’s praises with regards to his use of location and descriptive atmospheric passages in setting the scene for his novels, and this one is no different.’ Bibliophile Book Club

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Included in The Times Crime Club

Read a great interview with Ragnar Here

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‘The story concerning Hlyner was quite upsetting and I did have some sympathy for him. The truth concerning Elias was also dark and sadly very believable. I would have liked to know more concerning this storyline, hopefully there will be more revealed in the next novel. The characters who feature in the series are all strong and I love getting to know them. It’s not all about Ari Thor, but more about a close knit community. Some are nice people, some not but all feel real.’ Steph’s Book Blog

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‘As always, Ragnar Jonasson excels in his characterisation, and even though Blackout is a short novel, his characters are fully formed, with entire back stories and insights into their lives and histories. For me, the characters and the setting are the stand-out brilliance in the writing. The plot is excellent, it’s classic crime, with a twist, but the characters and Iceland itself are the stars of the show. An excellent crime story. I’m so looking forward to number four in the series.’ Random Things Through My Letterbox

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‘I loved the intricacy of the story.  Events seemed at times to have no connection to other goings on, only for you to realise as you progress through the book that it’s all intrinsically linked.  There were lots of ‘ah, that’s why…’ moments for me. Would I recommend this book?  I would as it’s a brilliant read with heaps of good old fashioned mystery with a dark and dangerous Icelandic twist.  I look forward to reading more from Ragnar Jónasson.’ Damp Pebbles

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‘Unlike Ragnar’s previous books, Snowblind and Nightblind, the reader spends quite some time inside the head of a TV news reporter, Isrun, who is tied up with the case. This made for a bit of a tangled read at the offset but as the strands of the story develop and the characters grow this device adds to the excitement of the tale. Ragnar skillfully blends topical subjects with an air of old fashioned mystery and just a sprinkling of menace.’ Nordic Noir Blog

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‘I am thoroughly enjoying the Dark Iceland series. Stunning setting and imagery, tight and twisting plotting, and absolutely engaging, if somewhat moody characters, in truly gripping stories told by someone who has a clear passion and love of his characters and his country.’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews

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‘Jonasson does such an incredible job with these characters and their personal stories that it almost does not do BLACKOUT justice to call it “just” a thriller. But despite the literary elements, the construction of the story – not particularly complicated, but with difficult-to-discern pieces – gives you a real sense of need-to-know, whodunnit suspense. If you have not yet started on the Dark Iceland series, pick up SNOWBLIND, and be sure to also pick up this newest edition to the series! BLACKOUT will grip you.’ The Crime Review

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‘Weaving together all the sub-plots of such a multifaceted story could prove challenging yet Ragnar Jónasson makes it seem effortless – while his history of translating Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic means he’s no stranger to mystery writing, it’s his own voice and skill that makes Black Out and the Dark Iceland series one of the most compelling and rewarding additions to the thriller genre.’ Mumbling About

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‘This was a good book and well written. I had a struggle with the many unfamiliar Icelandic names of people and places but once I got around that I enjoyed it very much. It is full of twists and turns and many surprising developments. Also running throughout the story is the threat of the ash cloud drifting further north to Skagafjorour and Siglufjorour where all the action takes place, and it could even trigger the eruption of another volcano closer to the towns. It all adds to the tension, very atmospheric. Most enjoyable and recommended.’ Promoting Crime Fiction

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Blackout was chosen as one of The Guardian’s reader’s books of 2016. The Guardian

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Blackout was chosen as part of Bookvent, one of Jen Med’s top books of 2016.

Jen Med’s Book Reviews

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‘Chronologically it follows Snowblind but is set four years before Nightblind, already published in English, brilliantly translated by Quentin Bates. The novel feels like a slow-burner of a thriller: the narration spans only two days and there is definitely a sense of terror and urgency as everybody involved in the investigation fights against time. The interludes within the main plot slow down the hunt for the killer but are necessary to give psychological background for all characters.’ Crime Review

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‘From the glorious Icelandic place names to the extreme and fascinating geology, everything about this series invites you to sit back and appreciate the winding journey until you reach the final destination – and with Dark Iceland you always travel first class. Can’t wait for the next instalment – Rupture’.

Little Bookness Lane

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‘Books of the year 10/12: BLACK OUT: Literally and figuratively chilling. Jónasson is a dangerous writer to watch.Michael Wood

Reviews