Ragnar Jonasson


""The Dark Iceland series is one of the best.""


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

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 a violent blizzard closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjordur, Police Inspector Ari Thor Arason must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth – one that will leave no one unscathed.

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Jónasson is a wonderfully subtle writer. The books aren't hefty, weighty tomes, but he manages to pack so much drama and energy into a little over two hundred pages. He is a natural storyteller and each novel in this series is fresh, original and perfectly written. This final novel in the Dark Iceland series, sees the protagonist, Ari Thor, in a dilemma. He's questioning his role within the small Icelandic town and wondering whether it is time to move on. He is estranged from his wife and child and he's troubled by trying to reclaim the past or seek a possible new romance and look to the future. We also see Iceland through Ari Thor's eyes and the changes over the years. The tourists had descended, local businesses have grown and changed to accommodate them and it's no longer the community hub Siglurfjordur used to be but a haunt for skiers around the globe. Is this what Iceland wants to become? Does Ari Thor have a place in this kind of world? They are the questions he is struggling to answer and his ending, while left open, is a satisfying one. The plot of Winterkill surrounds the tragic death of a local teenager and the fallout among her family as accident, suicide and murder are all considered. The truth is far darker, and it is sensitively handled. The story could have come out of a Christie novel, but that's where Jonasson's talents lie. He's adept at channelling the golden era of crime fiction, giving the reader the best of the genre while adding his own personality to provide quality fiction of the highest order. No character is wasted and they're all deeply complex and wonderfully drawn. The Dark Iceland series is one of the best. Six novels, all of which are superbly written and will stand the test of time. Whatever Jonasson turns his creative mind to next I know will be worth reading, and I'll be at the front of the queue on publication day. I just hope Ari Thor keeps coming back to the front of his mind and he gives us a new outing in the future.

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