Book Reviews

Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson

nightblind

Having enjoyed Snowblind earlier in the year I eagerly awaited the release of Nightblind this month, the second in Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series. Set around five years after the events in Snowblind we catch up with Ari Thor Arason, a police officer in the small town of Siglufjordur.

‘There was something unsettling about that ancient, broken-down house.’

In this second instalment in the series Ari Thor is forced to investigate an attack on fellow police officer Herjolfur who is critically injured when dealing with a tip-off whilst Ari Thor was off through illness. With police resources in the small town of Siglufjordur already stretched Ari Thors’s boss, Tomas, is sent from Reykjavik to assist with the investigation. Before long the shock of an attack on a police officer unsettles the town who look to Ari Thor to crack the case and keep the residents safe. This puts Ari Thor under even more pressure to get to the truth.

‘Some things are so grey and cold that no amount of colour on a page could ever bring them to life.’

As the investigation begins to unfold and Herjolfur fights for life we start to uncover who is potentially responsible for the attack – and why. Alongside this the novel is woven with chilling diary entries from an unknown patient in a psychiatric ward. This makes the mystery all the more interesting as you try to draw clues from the diary, who has written it and how they are connected. This was also a chilling glimpse into the mind of a troubled individual, an individual who could prove to be a danger to themselves and others.

“Maybe it’s time to blow the dust off a few old secrets.”

I love the way that Jonasson writes and he does an excellent job of creating an atmosphere and building the image of this quiet, cold town and its fascinating inhabitants. Siglufjordur is a small, idyllic place but there is a sense of unease, of secrets hiding beneath the surface. This makes Nightblind a gripping read as you never know who or what is going to be uncovered, and not everyone is what they appear to be.

“There are no secrets in a little town like this.”

Aside from the investigation Nightblind is more than just a crime novel. It was also interesting to see how Ari Thor’s relationship with partner Kristin has developed since the events in Snowblind. Ari Thor is now a father so I was intrigued to find out how the arrival of his son had impacted his character and that of Kristin, who may have secrets of her own. The fact that the story is set in a small location puts the emphasis on the people and how they are connected, the claustrophobic nature of their relationships

‘In little Iceland people were quick to forgive and quick to forget.’

I loved Nightblind. It is a wonderfully written, well paced story that is enhanced by the chilling backdrop of the Icelandic town. I am now looking forward to reading Blackout, the next in the series, when it is published next year!

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