Blog Tour: Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson

Today, I’m pleased to be hosting the next stop on the blog tour for Whiteout, written by Ragnar Jonasson, translated by Quentin Bates and published by Orenda Books.

The Blurb:

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Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. 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 Thor Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…

This is the last instalment in the Dark Icelandic series which for me is bitter-sweet as I’ve adored each and every one of this books.

This novel again features the lovable hero Ari Thor, who is pulled into investigate with his old-partner Tomas in the very north of the Island. But with Christmas merely days away and the imminent birth of his first child, can Ari discover the truth behind the ‘supposed’ suicides in time?

What I say:

 I loved this novel and thought this final instalment was the author’s best story yet. The novel is broken up into three parts: A Prelude to a Death, Lies and Innocence which I thought was a clever device. I don’t want to give the story away but I really enjoyed the passages with Asta, in A Prelude to a Death, who is later found at the bottom of the cliffs as it really set up a brilliant mystery and immediately captured my attention.

Ari Thor is back in this story (yey!) and this time he brings along his pregnant girlfriend, Kristen with him on a journey to the north as he tries to uncover a killer. It was really good to see more of this relationship, especially since Kirsten is pregnant and their relationship is at the heart of Ari’s life and the series as a whole.

This story is a slow burner, very much your classic golden crime novel which slowly builds in tension and slowly draws you deeper into the story which I thought was reminiscent of classic crime story telling.

Again, the author’s ability to bring such an atmospheric and harsh climate really came to life in this book along with a brilliant mystery. The Icelandic landscape, the author’s beautiful descriptions and brilliant way he draws you into a captivating tale really sets this series apart. If you haven’t read the others yet, I would encourage you to do so – as soon as you can!

About the Author:

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Ragnar Jonasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Big thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books, and Anne Cater for my ARC.

You can purchase Whiteout from Amazon here or Waterstones here

To find out more about Ragnar Jonasson follow him on Twitter at @ragnarjo.

Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on this blog tour!

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Blog Tour: Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson

Today I’m pleased to host a stop on the Rupture blog tour by Ragnar Jonasson. Rupture is the fourth novel in the Dark Iceland series published by Orenda Books and translated by Quentin Bates. The action of Rupture follows on from Blackout but before the events of Nightblind.

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Now for the blurb:

1955.

Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…
In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

In the quaint town of Siglufjörður, the inhabitants are forced to keep themselves locked behind doors as a deadly strain of a virus hits which has everyone in a panic, and the whole town trapped in a quarantine.With no-one to seemingly ‘police’ Ari Thor is left with a lot of time on his hands. So when someone brings in an old photograph which provokes him to look into an very old case, Ari uncovers more than he bargains for. Running parrallel to this is Isrun, a news reporter who is concealing her own health issues who is forced to unpick a dangerous mystery of her own.

What can I say about this novel without giving anything away? 

I loved revisiting Ari Thor and his world, as he struggles to face yet another mystery which seems just out of his grasp, forcing him to rely on his own initiative – which gets him into lots of trouble!

There are a few different point of view characters in this novel each with their own story line which blend seamlessly into one narrative, which I thoroughly enjoyed and just demonstrates the amazing writing skill of this author.

At the end of each chapter the author raises yet more questions which kept me on my toes with its subtle mysteries and mini-cliffhangers – I just couldn’t put this book down!

I have always enjoyed the descriptions in the Dark Iceland series and this one didn’t disappoint! The author showcases yet more of the beautiful but terrifying landscape of Iceland in this novel which built into yet another atmospheric but chilling read.

I thought this was another brilliant novel from Ragnar which has all the ingredients of a fantastic golden age mystery novel with hard-hitting themes and a flawless writing style which lulled me into a false sense of security.

If you haven’t read any of the Dark Iceland series it is a must! And Rupture is definitely my favourite novel of the series so far.

With thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy of Rupture.

To buy this book from Amazon just click here.

About the author:

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Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching 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 2015, with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout 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, and had rights sold in fourteen countries. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.

To find out more about Ragnar Jónasson follow him on Twitter @ragnarjo or visit his website here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops on the tour as well!

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Blackout Blog Tour

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop on Ragnar Jonasson’s Blackout blog tour. Blackout is the third instalment in the fabulous Dark Iceland series which picks up from where Ragnar’s debut novel Snowblind left off. As part of the blog tour I thought I would share with you part of the opening from Blackout.

Blackout Front VisBlurb:  On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer’s night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person’s life hangs in the balance. Ari Thor Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjordur struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies… 

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson

Part 1: Day 1 Summer

‘How do you like Iceland?’ ‘If for nothing else, he had come to Iceland to avoid that kind of question. The day began well, as the find June morning dawned. Not that there was any clear difference between morning and evening at this time of year, when the sun stayed bright around the clock, casting blinding light wherever he looked.

Evan Fein had long anticipated visiting this island at the edge of the habitable world. And now here this Ohio art history student was, on his first visit to Iceland. Nature had pooled its energies, as if to add woes of the financial crash, by presenting Icelanders with two volcanic eruptions, one right after the other. The volcanic activity appeared to have subsided for the moment though, and Evan had just missed the events.

He had already spent a few days in Iceland, starting by taking in the sights of Reykjavik and the tourist spots around the city. Then he had hired a car and set off for the north. After a night at a campsite at Blönduós he had made an early start, setting out for Skagafjörður. He had purchased a CD of old-fashioned Icelandic ballads and now slotted it into the car’s player, enjoying the music without understanding a word of the lyrics, proud to be something of a travel nerd, immersing himself in the culture of the countries he visited.

He took the winding Thverárfjall road, turning off before he got as far as the town of Sauðarkrókur  on the far side of the peninsula. He wanted to take a look at Grettir’s pool, the ancient stone-flagged hot bath he knew had to be somewhere nearby, not far from the shore. It was a slow drive along the rutted track to the pool, and he wondered if trying to find it was a waste of time. But the thought of relaxing for a while in the steaming water and taking in both the beauty of his surroundings and the tranquillity of the morning was a tempting one. He drove at a snail’s pace, lambs scattering from the sides of the road as he passed, but the pool stubbornly refused to be found. Evan started to wonder if he had missed the turning, and slowed down at every farm gate, trying to work out if the entrance to the pool might be hidden away – across a farmer’s land, or down a side turning, a country lane. Had he driven too far?

Finally he saw a handsome house, which on closer inspection, looked to be half built. It stood not far from the road with a small grey van parked in front of it. Evan pulled his car to the side of the road and stopped. And then started with surprise…’

If you want to know what happens next you’ll just have to buy your very own copy of Blackout which I would thoroughly recommend!

Blackout is published by Orenda Books and is out to buy now.

To buy this book on Amazon click here.

To buy this book on Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Ragnar Jonasson follow him on Twitter @ragnarjo or check out his website here.