Whiteout by Ragnar Jónasson translated by Quentin Bates ** Blog Tour Review**

In January 2017, I was lucky enough to be on the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Rupture, the fourth in Ragnar Jónasson's Dark Iceland series. It is still one of the best books I have read in 2017. Here we are at the end of the year with the fifth novel featuring Ari Thór - will Whiteout blow me away just as much? 

Let's see.

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead
beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and the secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. 

Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

My Thoughts

I'm not sure why I enjoy the Dark Iceland series so much. It's partly because of the central character Ari Thór Arason who has so many layers to his character and I am sure there are plenty more to unwrap. It could also be because of a few other familiar characters who I always enjoy meeting, like Tómas and Kristin. A big reason must be the beautifully devised plots which manage to blindside me to the end. The atmospheric setting is masterly, linked to the suffocating darkness and biting cold. Mainly I think it is because I just adore his writing style which is so precise, uncluttered yet evocative. There is a sophistication in his use of words which doesn't try to be clever. It just is. Whatever the reason, I am never disappointed.

   At its heart, Whiteout is a classic crime novel. There are surprises, red herrings, twists and turns and the final reveal, which did take me unawares. On top of this, there is a modern feel to it. It feels current, as if all the 'rules' of great crime writing are being followed but from a fresh new perspective. I find Iceland itself and in particular the north, is there on every page. The bitter cold and lack of light seem relentless. In Whiteout, the landscape is as dominant as ever and I found the setting of the lighthouse on the edge of the raging sea to add immensely to the story. Whereas the houses are usually havens of warmth and safety, here the lighthouse and Thora and Oskar's old house seem the opposite, concealing secrets and giving little comfort.
    Whiteout did not let me down. I loved it. If it hadn't been for the blog tour, I would have saved it up to read on Christmas Eve, just as I am sure plenty of Icelanders will be doing this year. Maybe I'll read it again anyway- now there's an idea. A wonderful translation from Quentin Bates as ever.

In short: a master class in crime writing.

About the Author

 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 18 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he
continues to work as a lawyer. 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. 

You can follow Ragnar here: Goodreads   |   Website  |  Twitter 
                                             |  Instagram   |  Facebook

Book links:  Amazon UK    |  Amazon US  |  Orenda Books

 Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books  for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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