A brilliant piece of crime fiction.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.
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.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK
Okay, confession time! This is the first time I am reading Ragnar Jónasson. So, this is the first time I am meeting Ari Thór Arason. However, never for a second did I feel left out for not reading the previous books in the series. Winterkill, the finale to the Dark Iceland series, works very well as a standalone novel.
Winterkill is not a fast-paced thriller. It is a slow-burning police procedural that hooked my attention from the start and kept it till the end. It is a complex, multi-layered mystery that Ari Thór unravels bit by bit through his relentless investigation.
I could not stop reading Winterkill and would have finished it sooner if life did not get in the way. Ari Thór questions all possible suspects, sifts through the evidence, and does not hesitate in asking for help.
Ari Thór’s domestic life is as fascinating to read as the murder investigation. Like any modern separated couple, Ari and Kristin are also struggling to find the right balance between family and work. Ari desperately wants to spend time with his family. He was happy to let his subordinate take over the case thinking it to be a suicide. However, the old man’s writing on the wall (in the local nursing home) hints at a possible new angle. Thus, Ari is now torn between his duty as a cop and his longing to spend more time with his son. This emphasizes Ari’s vulnerability.
This book is thankfully free of the grisliness that accompanies most of the mysteries and thrillers. Being a small-town cop, Ari Thór (and the reader) has been spared from the macabre cases that usually befall a cop from a larger town or city.
“Ari Thór had come to realise that the only way to survive in the northernmost town in Iceland was to embrace all the seasons and resign yourself to your fate. You had to learn to love the bitterly cold winter nights as much as the never-ending summer days, when darkness is nothing, but a distant memory and the sun floods the land with warmth and light. And understand how nourishing the cold can be for the body and the soul.”quoted from Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson
This is what Winterkill proved to be – a nourishing read for my soul. Contrary to many readers, I did not experience a sense of claustrophobia at all while reading the novel, rather I read this brilliant piece of crime fiction with bated breath. There is nothing grisly here, except human nature itself.
Moreover, Jónasson lovingly describes the beauty and whimsical nature of Siglufjörður, a small town in northern Iceland where the crime takes place. This town is nothing short of a character here. Jónasson conjures a vivid image of Siglufjörður, its panoramic view of surrounding mountains and fjord, and the vicious blizzard that engulfs the small town on Easter weekend.
Further, I found the writing to be effortless which shows how gifted Jónasson is.
If you love Nordic noir, look no further than Winterkill. Enjoy the cold.
Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense || Pages: 240 || Published on 10th December 2020 by Orenda Books
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Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.
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Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teacher 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. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.