Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.
Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.
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 the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.
Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.
In the last few months I’ve become a real fan of Scandi Noir, or in this case Icelandic Noir, both in books and on TV in series like The Bridge and The Valhalla Murders. The latter, like Winterkill, is set in Iceland. Being an island there is something very claustrophobic about it. There is nowhere to go, it’s cold and dark for much of the year. The climate is like one of the characters – villainous, chilling and foreboding.
Of course Iceland is also a popular tourist destination, where people go to see the Northern Lights, together with the volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. But this is not what we are seeing here. We are seeing the dark underbelly of this beautiful country. It’s hard to imagine such a small island would have any crime, but it obviously does.
Winterkill is the sixth novel in The Dark Iceland series, in which we met Ari Thór Arason, now a Police Inspector and separated from girlfriend Kristin and their young son. At no time are we given the impression that they might get back together, so we are ultimately not disappointed. In fact Ari Thór is contemplating rekindling the relationship he once had with Ugla who works at the nursing home that is embroiled in the investigation, but is there actually a connection?
Winterkill is atmospheric, full of intrigue and suspenseful. What starts as a seemingly simple investigation into a teenage suicide turns into something far more complicated. Did she jump or was she pushed. No-one knows but Ari Thór will not give up until he discovers the truth. And his search uncovers far more than he expected. An excellent read.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.
About the Author
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, Rupture and Whiteout 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. Winterkill is the sixth in the series. Ragnar lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.