Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator)

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Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator)

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Buy Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator) at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A solid, but eventually unremarkable, entry to an on-going series of stand-alone Icelandic creepy crime works.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 276 Date: January 2017
Publisher: Orenda
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781910633571

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Strange things are happening, as they are most wont to do, in rural Iceland. In a very remote fjordside community in the NW a passing visitor has left the legacy of a dangerous African virus, which has claimed two lives. It's becoming national news, to the extent that a TV journalist is in touch for updates. The community only has two policemen, trying to man their station round the clock between them to make sure instant responses are possible. But one of them has also been asked to look into a mysterious cold case from the 1950s, when a lady died from poisoning – and that in a community of only four adults and a baby. – Or was it five and a baby, as a newly-found photograph suggests? Elsewhere, in Reykjavik, a young couple are troubled by an intruder – but that won't have any connection to the other cases, surely?

That, if you like, is the slow-build rise to the top of the rollercoaster, but in all honesty the first section of this book didn't really hit freefall. The way the characters are brought to us is succinct, but at the same time I found the convivial way the text made it so blatant that events and circumstances had been discovered in prior books made it a bit too evident I was reading a book four of a series. Part of that feeling, that reading around the edition at hand was needed, is most obviously deliberate, however – a lot of the piece, as is common with this genre, needs the characters to have secret pasts. The TV woman has been in the area before, other characters have things they're not telling (and that our narrator is merely alluding to, for now) and connections across the miles and the generations will have to be made.

And they won't be made for some time, hence all the twisty and turny sections of coaster track on the way there. But I still think, to combine the coastal location and the fairground metaphor, that this was more Margate than Blackpool. Yes, great stretches of momentum are found at times, when things are definitely proceeding. Sharp bends are offered by even more characters, events and deaths turning up, but I did find some of the ups and downs not quite as demanding as they might have been. And, without giving anything away, that slow drift into the station to disembark was just a little too long and obvious.

I certainly did find what I come to this genre for – a look at a rarefied yet friendly society bedevilled by spooky and ghostly (if not ghastly) goings-on. Place, weather and character are all well-defined, but I didn't quite find that missing something that would make me give the prior entries to the series an urgent try. Sure, they may well be highly satisfactory – as pages and pages of testimonial blurbs allude to – but the way things hang together here reminded me too much of a filler episode in a TV series. Proof-reading was also way below the mark.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

To state the completely obvious, Yrsa Sigurdardottir (who in fact championed Jonasson) is one of the go-to people in this genre, with perhaps Why Did You Lie? closest to the book in hand.

Buy Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator) at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rupture (Dark Iceland) by Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates (translator) at Amazon.com.

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