Hard to get excited about this translated Icelandic novel as it's hard to imagine a literary category (Icelandic Noir) for a country of 360,000 people or to imagine that they have three good writers from that small pool. It's OK but hardly good enough for me to be interested in reading the other two books in the series.
Ari Thór Arason is a local policeman who has an uneasy relationship with the villagers in an idyllically quiet fishing village in northern Iceland – where no one locks their doors. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by a murder. One of the closest friends of the colleagues of Ari is gunned downed at point-blank range in the dead of the night in a deserted house.
With a killer on the loose and the dark Arctic waters closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves a new mayor and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik.
It becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.
(Description slightly edited from the book jacket inner flap.)
I don't think Nightblind, which is the second book in this series, is as good a book as the first book in the series, Snowblind. I think the translation is not that good, which I thought I complained about in Snowblind. I still intend to read the third book in this series, Blackout, which will be published in the States in October of this year.According to the information provided in Nightblind, the events in Nightblind takes place approximately five years after Snowblind. Blackout, in turn, picks up the story again directly after the events in Snowblind, with the following two books set to complete the events linking Snowblind and Nightblind. This sequence seems kind of odd to me.
This was the first book i've read of his - not knowing that the story follows thru on each of them, tho i don't think it mattered much.
I finished it in two days, not because it was thrilling but because it is such an easy read.
The entire country of Iceland is shocked by the shooting of Inspector Herjólfur in the small town of Siglufjörður. The inspector has been shot down outside an abandoned house with a violent history.
Ari Thór Arason , the policeman, who missed out on the promotion to inspector that went to Herjólfur, is home sick with the flu when he gets the call-out by the inspector's wife who has not been able to contact him.
It comes as a great shock when Ari Thór realzes if it hadn't been for the flu he might have been the one shot since Herjólfur was covering his shift.
Ari Thór old boss, Tómas, is brought back to head the investigation into the shooting. They quickly fall into their old rhythm, although Ari Thór finds himself thinking more independently, a surprising change for him.
As with any book set in Iceland, the landscape becomes a major player in the story, setting a dark atmosphere of claustrophobia and isolation in this small northern town.
The pace is slow as the investigators slowly build their case despite the red herrings, one of which has consequences to Ari Thór's home life where he is settled into a happy life with his girlfriend and new son.
The story is interwoven with the journal of a new patient in a psychiatric ward. It's not until the end that we are given the the patient's name and the main reason he has been committed.
The story follows the lines of a classic mystery. Other than our access to the journal we know no more than the detectives. We are swept up in their investigation as they methodically investigate all leads, even those that lead to powerful politicians.
Plot and story is key with Ragnar Jónasson. His characters are well delineated, but don't take center stage, nor do their personal stories, but neither are they ignored. As mentioned, setting is important, but not overwhelming.
A very satisfying read, with fans hoping for translations of the other books in the series.
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