Book Review – The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson – mystery/Icelandic Noir

Here’s the blurb;

A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach.

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . . And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

I received a free EArc from Netgalley.

The Darkness is not the first book I’ve read by the author, and as such, it suffers from the same problems. It is very bluntly written, others might think this a reflection of the starkness of Iceland, but I think it’s just the author’s writing style, and while it makes for a ridiculously easy read it is not necessarily a good thing as there is a lack of description other than what the weather is doing and everything feels ‘half-formed’ and also, ‘too easy’. The causality of the book throws up few surprises.

There are three intermingling stories told in this incredibly short tale, and while they all eventually resolve into some sort of coherence, I didn’t find the resolution satisfying or indeed, that convincing.

I always want to enjoy these books set in Iceland, I am drawn to the bleakness of it all, but I am, sadly, often left disappointed, and this is the same for this book. There just needs to be ‘more’ to these stories, and even the unconventional ending is ultimately disappointing while also being bold, a strange this to say, but true all the same.

The Darkness is out today and can be found here:

Book Review – Kin by Snorri Kristjansson – An intriguing idea – Viking murder mystery

This book intrigued me from the beginning – but perhaps the comments I read such as ‘no one does Vikings like this’ were slightly misleading for this particular book by the author. To begin with, I was quite confused by the direction the story was taking.

The characters in the book are intriguing and well thought out – well, most of them are, some of them are just confusing and it does take a while to sort out who everyone is, and it does, I’m afraid to say, start to become much easier to understand once the ‘action’ has started and the number of characters has diminished somewhat. That said, it takes nearly half of the book for this to happen, and the anticipation of ‘who’ will be the victim does start to become more important than why there will be a victim because the why is very clear from early on.

Much of the story is told from one point of view, that of Helga, and that is good. However, every so often, the author does drop in a different point of view, which is a bit jarring and perhaps not needed.

That said the book flows well, and I enjoyed reading it and only spent some of my time wondering about the historical accuracy of it all, and whether certain things would actually have happened.

An intriguing idea.

Kin is released today and you can get a copy from here.