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:

Author: M J Porter, author

I'm a writer of historical fiction (Early England/Viking and the British Isles as a whole before 1066, as well as two 20th century mysteries).

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