Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life. An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose.
Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson
Publication Date: June 15, 2015 by Orenda Books
While I prefer stand alone books to series, I kept seeing such strong reviews for Ragnar Jónasson’s work that it seemed fitting to read Snowblind in February during our one and only major snow storm of the season.
Snowblind is equal parts psychological thriller and police procedure and while I finished the book quickly because I became so absorbed in the story, Jónasson slowly builds up tension right up to the finale. Snowblind is more about plot complexities and character building and I appreciated how Jonasson didn’t look to rush towards the conclusion since it only added to the intensity as the plot moved along.
Jónasson uses the environment to add to the fear factor of the story – not knowing who the killer is despite being in a small town, the claustrophobia of being trapped in by snow and having nowhere else to go, and the isolation of both the location and the weather. I was continually reminded as to why The Shining is so terrifying and Jonasson knew just how to play on similar fears.
While I’ve begun reading more crime fiction by Norwegian authors, this is my first experience with an Icelandic author and it’s easy to see why people are raving about Jónasson! Fans of slow-paced, psychological crime thrillers will love Snowblind – the comparisons to Agatha Christie are totally accurate, but Jónasson’s style is unique enough to stand on its own. I’m excited to jump into the second novel in this series – Nightblind.