A Year of Orenda – Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson trns Quentin Bates

Back to Mandie who continues her Icelandic journey with a review of Ragnar Jónasson’s Nightblind. It’s the perfect time to be thinking about Christmas too so why not give some thought to treating yourself or someone else to the series as a Jolabokafloð gift? You can read my thoughts here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Amazon
Release Date: 15 January 2016
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

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.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Nightblind sees the reader reunited with Ari Thór who is still a policeman in Siglufjörður. Set five years after Snowblind Ari Thór has a new boss and if he is honest with himself he is just a little bit resentful of this fact as he had applied for the position himself. When his boss Herjólfur is found shot outside an abandoned house Ari Thór feels partly guilty as it should have been him on duty that night, but he had been in bed with a bad case of flu. Due to the severity of the crime his old boss Tómas is called in to lead the investigation.

I am starting to love this series and the setting of the remote village adds an extra dimension to the story especially when such a violent crime is committed. So much has changed since Snowblind, yet it is still familiar. Ari Thór still has issues with communicating with others and is not one to show his emotions very well unless it is in anger. This book seems just that little bit darker especially with the diary entries of someone who is clearly in an asylum that are dotted throughout the book. We don’t know who this person is until very near the end and no matter how many guesses you have I think the actual revelation will surprise you. Added in to all this is the mystery that surrounds the house where the crime takes place, and it is something that distracts Ari Thór from his job. He is not one to let things go unresolved and whilst this is a good thing in a police officer you do also have to wonder if he takes on these side investigations as a way of distracting himself from things that are going on in his personal life. The busier he is the less he has to confront them and deal with them.

Despite there being a lot going on in the book it does not feel rushed but seems to reflect a slower pace giving the reader time to enjoy and devour the story that is being told. I love the side stories that are woven into the book as it gives a little bit more dimension to the village and the characters that live there. Despite the book only being 280 pages at no time did I feel that I was missing out on something and am looking forward to reading the remaining 4 books in the series.

About the 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, Rupture and Whiteout 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.

Books by Ragnar Jónasson

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