Winterkill (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson
|Winterkill (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The final book in this six-book series provides an intriguing mystery and a good read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: December 2020|
|Publisher: Orenda Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Ari Thor Arason is the police inspector in Siglufjordur and he's still living in the house on Eyrargata which he shared with his wife Kristin and son Stefnir before Kristin left to go to Sweden to do a Masters degree, taking three-year-old Stefnir with her. They were supposed to spend Christmas together but Kristin cancelled. It's now the Thursday of Holy Week and his family is due to arrive in Siglufjordur that afternoon. Ari Thor is having trouble sleeping but when he finally managed to get to sleep the phone rings: the body of a young woman has been found on Adalgata, the main street of the town.
The finding of the body was reported by Gudjon Helgason, an artist who's staying in the town on a retreat. Ari Thor isn't entirely happy about Helgason's responses: why would anyone be walking about in the middle of a bitterly cold night? He maintains that he didn't know the girl, nineteen-year-old Unnur Svavardottir, but Ari Thor has his doubts about the man. Unnur's mother, Salvor, hadn't even realised that her daughter was out of the house: she's shocked and devastated.
Ari Thor is not quite struggling but he's missing his old boss, Tomas, who has moved to Reykjavik: he has no one to talk things over with. His new assistant, Ogmundur, is fresh out of training school and perhaps just a little bit too cocky and informal for Ari Thor. Unnur had obviously fallen - or been pushed - from a great height and this can only have been the balcony on the building behind where she landed. Johann and Jonina live in one of the apartments and Ari Thor is certain that they're hiding something. Bjarki, who lives in another apartment, was away in Reykjavik when Unnur died.
I didn't warm to Ari Thor - he's too uncertain in relationships for my taste - but he's got a basic sense of justice which drives him and he won't be cowed. I'd have liked more depth to Ari Thor and other characters but this might be the problem of joining a series in the last book out of a series of six. There's obviously a lot of background which I don't know: if you've read earlier books in the series I suspect that this final instalment will be a lot more satisfying.
Having said that, it was a good read - so good that I read it in one sitting and found the solution to be satisfying and not at all as I expected. It was helped by the vivid evocation of the north-west of Iceland and the description of the time of year - when the days are beginning to stretch almost interminably but were still bitterly cold with the possibility of snow.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Suggested further reading:
Where the Shadows Lie (Fire and Ice) by Michael Ridpath for another strong evocation of Iceland.
Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason which is set in the capital, Reykjavik.
I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir - a five-star story set in the west of Iceland.
Frozen Out by Quentin Bates is set in the south-west of Iceland and is the first book is a good series.
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