The Island is the second book in Ragnar Jonasson’s Hidden Iceland series. The first book, The Darkness was one of my favourite books last year so I was very much looking forward to the next instalment in the series.
The Hidden Iceland series follows the career of detective Hulda Hermannsdottir and it is actually written in reverse chronological order. Where The Darkness introduced us to a detective approaching the end of her career, The Island provides a glimpse into her career at its peak. From the prologue taking place in the late 1980’s there is a sense of unease, with the first part of the book dealing with a crime which took place in 1987. From here the timeline jumps by ten years, where we meet a group of friends who are going on a trip to mark the anniversary of their friend’s death. The trip sees the friends visiting Ellioaey, an isolated island off the Icelandic coast. This was a perfect setting for a chilling crime thriller, with the unforgiving, harsh climate making it an easy place to become lost. So when it transpires that one of the friends has not made it home, Hulda is called upon to get to the truth, and to uncover the secrets that are hidden on the island.
I have long been a fan of Jonasson’s writing having previously enjoyed reading his Dark Iceland series in addition to this series and this was another book that had me gripped really quickly. The combination of the cold, harsh landscape and the perfect pacing made for an atmospheric read which kept me guessing. And as Hulda delves deeper into the mystery surrounding the tragic events unfolding on the island, connections are made between the present and the past, with similarities coming to light between the current case and one that was closed a decade previously. It is clear that a lot has taken place in the preceding 10 years, not just in terms of the case but in Hulda’s own life, as we see her circumstances have changed dramatically. We see Hulda try to come to terms with her own past trauma, as she works to uncover the secrets from others past. I thought that this was a well written story which was perfectly plotted, and it was one I finished in only a couple of sittings as I read on with interest as the truth begins to creep to the surface.
The Island is a gripping and entertaining thriller with plenty of intrigue as the chilling events of the past become interwoven with those in the present. I am looking forward to the next instalment in the series, and the prospect of uncovering the next chapter in Hulda Hermannsdottir’s career.