A Year of Orenda – Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson trns David Warriner

Awww. Mandie’s last Dark Iceland review. This time it is Ragnar Jónasson’s Winterkill. I loved catching back up with Ari Thór in this swansong novel and you can find my thoughts here. Read on to see what Mandie thought and find out more about the book:

Source: Amazon
Release Date: 21 January 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death….

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Winterkill takes us back to the present in the life of Ari Thór Arason. He is now the Police Inspector in Siglufjörður. Having split from his girlfriend and she is living in Sweden with their 3 yr old son. Just as they are about to visit a local girl falls to her death in the main street and he is drawn into the investigation in what should have been his down time. With no apparent signs of anything untoward it looks like the girl has committed suicide but the reasons for this are not known. Her parents are convinced that their daughter would not willingly take her own life, so Ari Thór finds himself digging deeper into the young student’s life to try to keep his promise to find out exactly what happened and why. When a resident of a local nursing home repeatedly writes “she was murdered” on his wall, the investigation takes a confusing turn as he tries to work out if this is just the ramblings of a confused mind or if it has something to do with his case.

This latest outing is no less complex than any of the previous books, but what I do like about it is that despite the caseload and dealing with his rookie assistant who seems to have little regard for authority or procedures Ari Thór seems to be taking a little more time for his personal life. Whilst he knows that there is no going back for him and Kristin, he is determined not to be an absent father to his son and makes time for him at every opportunity. There is also a rekindling of a friendship that started out in Snowblind that shows promise of becoming something more.

It somehow seems quite fitting that the final book in the series is centred around Siglufjörður rather than the outlying villages. In a place where everyone seems to know everyone it is clear that there are still secrets to be unearthed that someone will go to great lengths to ensure they are kept buried. When the truth is finally discovered you have to feel sorry for those left behind wondering if they could have done more. The slower pace within this book seems to fit the story perfectly as things are revealed bit by bit. That is not to say there are not some lighter moments especially when Ari Thór is with his son, and you can really see his determination to not be like his own father.

I am definitely going to miss my visits to this wintery landscape but even though I have never actually visited Iceland, thanks to Ragnar Jónasson’s wonderful descriptions I do feel that I know this place just a little bit more.

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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