The penultimate day of Mandie’s Dark Iceland journey sees her share her thoughts on WhiteOut by Ragnar Jónasson. You can check out my review of Whiteout here. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
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 abandoned 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 its 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.
Ari Thór is getting ready to enjoy Christmas with his pregnant girlfriend Kristin when he gets a call in from his former boss Tómas asks for his help investigating the death of a young girl in Kálfshamarvík. On the surface it looks like it may either be a case of suicide or just an accident but as but the girl’s mother and sister both died in the same spot years ago there may be more to this than first appears.
There is definitely something not quite right about what happened at the lighthouse and the more that Ari Thór digs the more he is sure that everyone his hiding something. On the surface they all seem to want to help with the investigation, yet they are also quick to lay the blame at each other’s door. When another person dies he has to decide if this was from natural causes or if someone had a hand in it.
This is a mystery that has links to the past and in order to understand what has happened in the present then the truth about what happened to Ásta’s family 25 years before. As more and more is revealed we also see the similarities between Ari Thór and Ásta, something that is not lost on him and you can see him struggle with this but also how it fires his determination to get to the bottom of what happened. What he finds is shocking, touching on a theme that is unfortunately still prevalent in society but is dealt with in the book with care, so it does not appear sensationalised.
The setting of Whiteout adds to the isolation and tension as it is remote and wild with very few inhabitants. I think that the remoteness of it all that draws me in to this story the most. The characters have qualities that make them seem real and some of the situations they have found themselves in will certainly have you empathising with them to a point. Ultimately though there is something there that will have you feeling that they all have to take some responsibility for the events that have taken place both in the past and the present.
With everything that happens there is light to this dark tale as Ari Thór welcomes his son into the world and at least on a personal level for now his world is coming together. Knowing that there is only one more book in the series has me happy and sad in equal measure although like many before me I am not quite sure I am ready to say goodbye to this somewhat moody policeman (or Iceland).
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