Book Review: The Darkness, by Ragnar Jónasson

The Darkness, by Ragnar Jonasson

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

Published by Minotaur Books on October 16, 2018 (expected) (first published October 15th 2015)

Series: Hidden Iceland, #1

Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Ragnar Jonasson burst onto the American scene with Snowblind and Nightblind, the first two novels in the Dark Iceland series, and the praise was overwhelming. Now he launches a new series featuring a completely new sleuth, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police department.

When a young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, is found murdered on the seaweed covered rocks of Iceland, Hulda starts to ask questions. But it isn’t long before she realizes that no one wants her to investigate this murder. She eventually must decide whether solving this case is worth losing her life.

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The first book in a new series by Ragnar Jónasson, The Darkness slowly snuck its way into my head and heart.

The Darkness was an easy read with a fast pace. Set in Iceland, it had a crisp, bleak atmosphere that made me want to read this curled up in a chair with a blanket and hot coffee. It is told from a few different perspectives, each feeding different aspects of the story and coming together in an intriguing way. The writing flowed well with dialogue that was realistic, which I especially appreciated in a translated work.

This detective story features Hulda, a sixty-four year old woman nearing retirement from the Reykjavik police department but not yet ready to retire to a quieter life. The fact that the main character is an older woman with a long career is refreshing in and of itself. But this also delves deeper, exploring the nuances of what it is like to be a woman in such a position in a way that is quite universal.

The murder that Hulda investigates is a cold case of a young woman who was found dead a year prior. While this mystery was also interesting, it didn’t quite keep my attention the way Hulda’s story did. That being said, it did keep me on my toes, and I only deduced the answer pages before it was revealed. And the ending left me gasping, ready for the next book to see where this series could possibly go.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed The Darkness. This may have been the first book I’ve read by Ragnar Jónasson, but it won’t be the last.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Darkness, by Ragnar Jónasson

  1. Great review!
    I like books set in Iceland, kinda hoping i managed to visit soon. Till then, i have the books 🙂
    I bought the first book in this series, but haven’t read it yet. I better hurry up cuz this sounds good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading this right now (will be done tonight) and am really enjoying it! So glad to see that you enjoyed it. I love Hulda-she is just a great character. And the short chapters just keep me turning the pages going “just one more!”. I definitely will be reading more of Jónasson’s books too! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I picked it up after reading two back to back almost 500 page books each with lenghthy chapters, so this was a welcome change (although both books were excellent!). You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

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