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Nightblind

Published Date: 2nd November 2015

Available in

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EBook
9781910633120
£5.99
December 2015
Paperback
9781910633113
£8.99
January 2016
Hardback
9781910633267 (Exclusive to Goldsboro Books)
£14.99
December 2015
Audiobook
B019H5G5FC
£14.99
January 2016

Description

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.

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Exclusive, limited edition hardback – 500 signed and numbered copies – available from Goldsboro Books. Book of the month for December! Order here

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‘Jónasson plays fair with the reader – his clues are traditional and beautifully finessed – and he keeps you turning the pages. Snowblind is morally more equivocal than most traditional whodunnits, and it offers alluring glimpses of darker, and infinitely more threatening horizons’ Independent

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A tiny, segregated town is a superb setting for a crime novel, and Jonasson exploits it well. He builds a layered mystery featuring a series of unhealthy secrets, and past crimes buried deep in the sheltered, almost claustrophobic recesses of family life, which Ari Thor will pay a high price for unravelling’ Crime Thriller Journal

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‘Bitingly contemporary in setting and tone’ Express

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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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‘Seductive …  Ragnar does claustrophobia beautifully’ Ann Cleeves

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‘A challenging investigation that uncovers local secrets and Scandi-noir meets oldfashioned murder mystery in an atmospheric whodunnit’ Charlotte Heathcote

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‘If you like your thrillers dark and literary with an interesting setting, I would certainly recommend giving this one a go’ Jane Isaac

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Shortlisted for Captivating Crime in Translation at the 2016 Dead Good Read Awards

Author

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavik in 1976, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavik 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 14 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 Reykjavik, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir, selected by the Guardian as one of the ‘best crime-writing festivals around the world’. Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, and he is currently working on his sixth. He lives in Reykjavik with his wife and two daughters. Ragnar’s debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015. Blackout will be published by Orenda Books in 2016.

Website: www.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 has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as one novel (Gudlaugur Arason’s Bowline). He’s currently working on translating the next title in Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series: Blackout.

Website: www.graskeggur.com

Online Reviews

‘The Crown Prince of Icelandic Noir is back with his follow up to his excellent debut book Snowblind with his latest breath taking thriller Nightblind. Ragnar Jónasson brings together in Nightblind the best of Scandinavian noir with the tradition of good old fashioned murder mystery, with the twists of a Christie whodunit’ Atticus Finch

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‘The enormity of following up a highly praised bestselling debut cannot be underestimated and Ragnar Jónasson has delivered to spectacular effect . In so many ways this was so much more of an achievement than Snowblind and ensures the Dark Iceland series will continue to draw acclaim and accolades aplenty. Ragnar Jónasson is in a class of his own and this breathtakingly perfect follow up to Snowblind deserves to be feted. This is Nordic Noir done to perfection! Once again, Quentin Bates provides a flawless translation which makes for a wonderfully natural and fluid read.’ Rachel Hall 

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A first look at Nightblind at Crime Fiction Lover

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‘For me Nightblind is the lovechild of Agatha Christie and Icelandic Noir. There is a strong sleuth-feel to the book as Ari Thor navigates his way around a pool of potential suspects, uncovering additional and unexpected crimes in the process. There are twists and cover-ups like you wouldn’t believe in this book and, for me, it really does give a clear nod to the finer days of detective fiction. Jonasson hooks the reader from the opening sentence and he does so with relatively simple crimes – there are no gory tricks hidden in the prose, thankfully – and marvellous characters. Nothing more, nothing less.  A marvellous addition to any crime lover’s bookshelf, Nightblind is definitely a worthy read!’ Madhatter Books

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‘The subdued nature of the story is offset by Jónasson’s superb writing style, bringing alive characters who see each suffering in their own way. Nightblind is also a stunning lesson in Icelandic geography. Jónasson has a wonderful way of painting pictures with words and each sentence adds an extra dimension to scenery. This book has been worth the wait, without a doubt. The Dark Iceland series is fast earning a place on my favourites of all time list. The elegant prose, coupled with the chilling, almost sleepy location, make for an utterly enthralling read.

Bibliophile Book Club

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‘Using the setting to maximum effect, Jónasson’s NIGHTBLIND plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the approaching Icelandic winter. The small-town community is more open to Ari Thór’s presence, although he is still considered an outsider even after five years of living there, and the history of its residents and the long held secrets kept within the families there are difficult for him to uncover. This adds to the claustrophobic feeling evoked by this isolated village location, and raises the stakes for Ari Thór as he perseveres with lines of enquiry in the face of opposition. Beautifully written, Nightblind is 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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‘As with Snowblind, this novel grabbed my attention straight away. It switches seamlessly between the descriptive passages and its many twists and turns, and kept me intrigued right until the end. The author’s use of language is stunning and transports you into the heart of Iceland’ Off the Shelf Books

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‘Despite this strong and powerful thread, which also touches upon the way that the state cares for people with mental health issues, this is a very entertaining read and an excellent addition to the Dark Iceland series’ Live Many Lives

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It was a book I didn’t want to end. I could read about life in Siglufjörður for days, Jonasson makes the town come to life around me as I curl up with his books. Ragnar Jónasson (courtesy of the beautiful translation by Quentin Bates) has delivered another literary delight – I cannot heap enough praise upon Nightblind’ Grab This Book

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Nightblind is a dark read which had me gripped through out. The story certainly has a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. For a small village, the residents certainly seem to have some pretty big secrets lurking in their closets and it certainly makes for some surprising reading’ By the Letter Reviews

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‘The mystery unravels in a gentle, cleverly distinct style – shades of Christie here for sure, compelling and often surprising  – a past/present collision that will keep you turning those pages avidly. All night. Then you’ll be stumbling to work in a bit of a fog still with one foot half in Siglufjordur. What just me? Oh I don’t think it will be you know…’ Liz Loves Books

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‘This is a polished and compelling work of crime fiction. The plot is edgy and fast moving with plenty of twists and thought provoking reveals. The denouement works well to bring the case to a satisfying conclusion. Ari Thór remains a believable character who the reader cannot help but root for despite his flaws’ Never Imitate

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‘Nightblind is a thriller of distinction … with its superb blend of moody environment, undercurrent of unease, and pitch-perfect pace, right now I’m thinking I’ll be hard-pressed to find another book to rival it. 5/5 and then some!’ Little Bookness Lane

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Aside from the investigation Nightblind is more than just a crime novel … A wonderfully written, well-paced story that is enhanced by the chilling backdrop of the Icelandic town. I am now looking forward to reading Blackout, the next in the series, when it is published next year!’ The Owl on the Bookshelf

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What Ragnar Jónasson gives us in Nightblind is a complex crime thriller written against a backdrop of the Wintery Icelandic scenery that Jónasson weaves into the storyline and is nothing short of breath-taking and just adds to the drama that is unfolding’ The Last Word

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‘There is something very special about Ragnar Jonasson’s writing, his words are beautifully put together, his plot is clever and tight and compels from the first page. Quentin Bates has masterfully translated this story from the Icelandic and between them they have delivered a mystery story that chills the spine, and baffles the reader in its complexity … This is a story that is driven by many many pasts. Each of the characters, from lead man Ari Thor, to the elderly lady living in the village has their own story, and those stories shape this novel’

Random Things through my Letterbox

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‘Nightblind is a quietly chilling crime thriller, relying on description and atmosphere rather than hard core action to drive the story forward. However don’t be misled, Nightblind has enough twists and intrigue to keep you turning the pages.   This may be a fairly short(ish) novel of just over 200 pages but there is so much quality both in terms of writing and the plot contained within.’ My Reading Corner

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‘The mystery contained with Nightblind is an excellent one. It involves themes that are forever important, no matter where we live. But the fact that these are set within this most atmospheric and beautiful of winter settings adds another level of pleasure for the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed Nightblind. Well-written and beautifully atmospheric, it has an excellent translator in Quentin Bates. It’s an immersive read and suits well one or two sittings, curled up, warm and cosy, with winter safely kept at bay and just out of reach.’ For Winter Nights

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‘He also sketches believable characters: the petty crook, the small town mayor on the make who wants, of course, to come up smelling of roses, the woman who has lived decades with a dark secret (apologies if you think I’m overusing the word “dark” in this review – it applies to this book in so many different ways)’ Blue Book Balloon

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‘The publicity says “dark, chilling and complex”, and I can’t argue with that. When I was a teenager, I obsessively read everything Agatha Christie ever wrote (I have had my crime moments…), and reading this book took me right back. It’s almost old fashioned in style, yet at the same time really different – and that difference is brought about by the vividly described setting.’ Being Anne

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‘This is a fantastically written intelligent thriller with emotional depth.  The small town community of Siglufjordur  is vividly described and reminds me of the claustrophobic atmosphere of St Mary Mead  in the Marple stories by Agatha Christie.  I love how the mountains and the snow are so beautifully described that they almost become a character in themselves.  The author takes us into Ari Thor’s complicated and intriguing inner life which is usually at odds with his investigation’ Louise Wykes on Shaz’s Book Blog

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‘I regret I’ve never been to Iceland – other than to pass through Reykjavík airport! – but the people of Siglufjörður and the far north, their doubts and fears, the places they live in, the landscapes and the weather that both enchant and isolate them, are all so deftly described in such perfect detail that the dark and the cold and the loneliness of this sub-Arctic region enveloped me from the very start. This is a story that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down’ Max Easterman, European Literature Network

On translating Nightblind, by Quentin Bates

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‘As in Snowblind, with his insider’s knowledge and experience of this particular region, Jonasson flawlessly captures the claustrophobic intensity of this small coastal community and its inhabitants, and although there is once again a finite group of characters for the guilty party to conceal themselves amongst, I was hoodwinked a couple of times, with the investigation building to a highly satisfying conclusion’ Raven Crime Reads

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‘There’s also a great set-piece between one character trying to escape another intent on killing them, showing Ragnar can write action scenes as well as his cerebral crime puzzles, influenced by books from the Golden Age.’

Crime Worm

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‘I cannot help but be completely and utterly charmed by this series. It will have mass appeal and will speak to people on issues such as gun control. I really don’t know how Ragnar Jonasson and his translator, Quentin Bates have done it. It is beautifully crafted and just terribly addictive. I will be begging them both for more. The only thing that irks me is the missing years in between the two books. I am not a fan of reading things in the wrong order’

Northern Crime

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‘This man is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. How he writes so poetically and evokes so much in so few words is just outstanding. The book comes in at just over 200 pages but the world created within it is every bit as perfect as you could imagine.’ The Book Trail

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Feature: 360° translation special – At Mrs Peabody Investigates

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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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‘The final reveal and the connection between the two is, as with Snow Blind, a gob-smacker. The number of times I thought I’d sussed the answer out only to be shut down by the next chapter is too many to count, the reveal catching me so off-guard I had to go back and wonder how I’d missed the breadcrumbs’ Mumbling about Music

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Fabulous interview with Ragnar, and review – ‘Tense and thrilling this second ‘Dark Iceland’ novel trounces its predecessor’ Andy Lawrence, EuroDrama

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Ragnar Jonasson makes a QUIZ on Nordic Noir

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‘… beautifully put together and the uncovering of a shadowy world of secrets is done with fine attention to detail’ JaffaReadsToo

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‘Jónasson’s grip is never less than secure; he knows his characters well now and moves them with precision towards a satisfying, but unsettling, ending. One where many secrets are resolved but others still lurk under the surface, ready to strike again’ Claire Thinking

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‘Jónasson continues to create his characters in every dimension. Not shying away from the light and dark, the good and evil in all of us’ The Bandwagon

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‘The sense of menace of the murder again juxtaposes the sense of a safe haven that the town projects’

From First Page to Last

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‘An updated and somewhat harder Agatha Christie…but absolutely none the worse for that. It is a good story, well told’ Trip Fiction

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Nightblind is simply put a stunning mystery with a real puzzle to solve, more than one actually and Ragnar Jónasson creates real tension, and there’s enough red herrings and twists to make this rather short crime novel actually feel much longer’ Shaun Book Addict

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‘Tensely plotted and perfectly paced, Ragnar Jónasson’s Nightblind is something of a revelation’ Reader Dad

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‘Let’s get this out of the way. Ragnar Jónasson is a talented and expert crime writer. If you thought his first foray into the English language market, Snowblind, was good then you’ll love Nightblind’ Iceland Defrosted

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‘A fantastic novel and a very worthy sequel to SnowblindSegnalibro

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‘Told from several points of view – everyone has their own agenda, whether it’s building empires, escaping from abusive former partners or simply keeping shtoom in order to avoid trouble – this is an atmospheric portrayal of a claustrophobic place where everyone is connected’ Laura Wilson, Guardian

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Wonderful essay by Ragnar Jonasson: How his grandparents inspired the Dark Iceland series – Irish Times

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‘It is an inspired translation by Quentin Bates whose deep understanding of Iceland and its culture, sensitively brings alive the restrained prose and heart-breaking words. Jónasson’s writing is a masterful reinvention of the Golden Age classic style, both contemporary and timeless. However, I find his depiction of human emotions most appealing. Domestic violence and past crimes, hidden from the memory and consciousness, are enclosed by the poetic beauty of the location. There is also unbearable sadness in the ending’ Crime Review

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Nightblind is ace. It has pace and pith, and enough depth in which to sink a ship … Like a good Christie, the information is all there, should you be careful enough to process it. There is no sudden, unexpected and unearned twist. Also like Christie, the language (expertly translated by Quentin Bates) is stripped down: fresh and unflowery. But unlike Christie, you spend your time afterwards thinking not of the plot twists but about the theme of the novel itself. It’s crime with something to say’ Café Thinking

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‘It was so easy to be sucked into this novel; with the brooding character of Ari Thor fraught with insecurities about his own abilities as a policeman, the dark and surprising twists in the investigation and set within the stunning but creepy atmosphere of Iceland makes for a very exciting read’ Chillers, Killers and Thrillers

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‘There are so many things I like about Jónasson’s books – the characters, the sense of place, the way he stays well within the bounds of credibility at all times and, perhaps most of all, the excellent plotting’ Petrona Remembered

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‘In a way, NIGHTBLIND harkens back to those ‘violent crime in a peaceful setting’ tropes of classic mystery fiction, or television programmes like Murder, She Wrote and Midsomer Murders. Siglufjörður is a small town unused to deadly violence, where connections run deep, known and secret. A less verdant Cabot Cove. But at the same time, there’s a contemporary feel to Jonasson’s storytelling – NIGHTBLIND feels more timeless, rather than old-fashioned’ Craig Sisterson, Crime Watch

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‘This eagerly-awaited sequel to Jónasson’s debut Snowblind doesn’t disappoint … A modern twist on a Christie-style plot, in a vividly atmospheric location, and interesting characters. It works well as a stand-alone, but you might want to start with Snowblind, the first Ari Thór novel’ Lizzie Hayes, The Mystery People

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‘Imagine you could travel back in time, kidnap Agatha Christie, transport her to a remote town in the north of Iceland, pop her in the freezer for a little short of a century then wake her up with a reviving cuppa before pointing her in the direction of the nearest typewriter. The resulting crime drama would not be too far removed from Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series. Yes, it’s that good!’ Hard Book Habit

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Nightblind makes the perfect follow-up to Snowblind. Once again, readers are taken to an unfamiliar and unforgiving landscape – both geographically and metaphorically. Ragnar Jónasson tackles massive topics ranging from domestic violence and mental health policies to gun control and corruption without ever losing sight of the fact that it is the characters that are most important to readers. As dark as the topics underlying the plot are, Jónasson keeps Nightblind very much in the traditional mystery genre: Disturbing, but never graphic. There are several more novels in the “Dark Iceland” series yet to be translated and readers are going to be clamoring to get their hands on them’ Bolo Books

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‘The characterization is solid, the backdrop engrossing – and better than the first novel – and the whole thing is a well crafted package, ably assisted by an excellent translation. Highly recommended’ Raananagamer

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‘As crime fiction goes this is recognisable, though utterly compelling, police procedural drama … hugely readable and dangerously addictive …This is a novel steeped in Icelandic mythology from the isolated and remote settings that capture the wild and other worldly quality of this unique island to the hero detective Ari Thor Arason himself whose name references the hammer wielding Norse god. Jonasson knowingly writes for the domestic audience in Iceland at the same time as appealing to the global market by leveraging Iceland’s idiosyncracies’ Words Shortlist

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‘Ragnar Jonasson seems to capture perfectly the chill atmosphere of Siglufjordur where it’s not just the weather which is cold and unwelcoming. Even after the years he has spent there, Ari Thor still feels like an outsider “a stranger in a place where everyone was connected and nobody could be trusted completely”’Portobello Book Blog

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‘Following what FictionFan has said before, there are plenty of things to like about Ragnar Jónasson’s books, its sense of place, its characterization, its credibility and, perhaps most important, the way in which the plot unfolds. This is a solid police procedural beautifully written, which thanks as well to the excellent translation by Quentin Bates, has been a real joy to read.  I strongly recommend it.’ A Crime is Afoot

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‘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!’ Have Books Will Read

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‘As always, the sense of the community of Siglufjörður is captured beautifully, and you can picture the residents; their shock at the nature of the crime, and yet still carrying on in their day to day lives as though nothing has truly changed; as Jónasson is so brilliant at capturing their spirit on the page … I’m not sure it would work as well with any other pairing – they have been perfect together since the start. A dark, haunting and occasionally disturbing 5 stars from me.’ Jenna Medlicott

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Ragnar Jonasson talks to The Guardian about the successes of Icelandic football helping the economy and the sales of his Dark Iceland Series The Guardian

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Nightblind is a tale as chilling as the snow and ice of  Siglufjörður, the suspense builds gradually as Ari Thor uncovers the horrific truth … Ragnar Jonasson has crafted a superb, contemporary tale, the social issues in the book are a strong and important theme making it a compelling addition to the Icelandic Noir canon. As with the first book, I thoroughly recommend it to anybody who enjoys tense, atmospheric thrillers.’ Hair Past a Freckle

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‘I feel like Nightblind is a big step up from Snowblind, and is a thoroughly fitting second instalment into what is shaping up to be a fantastic series. Jónasson’s books are perfect for the Agatha Christie fanatic; if you like your crime novels to be all about the guesswork and less about the gore, this series is one for you.’ A Reading Corner

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‘I had none of this book figured out and was surprised by every last turn; I couldn’t give this book anything less than 5 stars in good conscience. Those who are fans of the series will be blown away by what the author has crafted in this entry and by where he is taking the characters we have grown attached to … It seems the more I read this series the faster I have to pick up the next book to continue on; I highly recommend the Dark Iceland books to fans of vivd nordic noir.’

The Suspense is Thrilling Me

 

Reviews