Nightblind – Ragnar Jonasson
Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house.
With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will.
Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.
Thanks to Karen at Orenda for my review copy and also the opportunity to join the blog tour.
Last year we met Ari Thór Arason in Snowblind and followed his move to Siglufjörður. He struggled to adapt to being the new cop (and a stranger) in a small town while also dealing with the added distraction of conducting a murder investigation. Snowblind was one of the reading highlights of 2015 and you can read my review here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=854
Nightblind picks up with Ari Thór some five years after the events of Snowblind. The book opens with an explanatory note for the reader outlining the significant events in Ari Thór’s life and explains that his colleague Tomás has moved to Reykjavík. Ari Thór now has a new boss, Herjólfur, but the two do not appear to have bonded – perhaps as Ari Thór applied for promotion but was unsuccessful.
Trouble is not far away for Ari Thór: the murder of his colleague brings tragedy too close to home. He knows not why his colleague visited a deserted house in the middle of the night, why he may have been targeted or even if the killer has remained in town. Ari Thór’s investigations will become political as the local mayor joins the suspect pool and small town grapevine speculation threatens to spill into scandal. A local drug dealer may hold some vital information but their co-operation may come at too high a price for Ari Thór.
Jonasson builds a brilliant narrative as Ari Thór’s investigation progresses. We have a small circle of characters who will play an important part in the story, red herrings, side plots and subtle clues – all the hallmarks we have already come to expect from Ragnar Jonasson. The frequent comparisons of a writing style that is similar to Dame Agatha’s are well merited.
Nightblind is a murder story so to reveal too much about the actual story would require massive spoilers – nothing should be allowed to spoil your enjoyment of Nightblind, it’s magnificent. I felt it pitched slightly darker than Snowblind with one plot thread (not to the detriment of the story) but it was a book I didn’t want to end. I could read about life in Siglufjörður for days, Jonasson makes the town come to life around me as I curl up with his books.
Ragnar Jonasson (courtesy of the beautiful translation by Quentin Bates) has delivered another literary delight – I cannot heap enough praise upon Nightblind.
Nightblind is published by Orenda Books and is available now in digital format and in paperback from 15th January 2016.
The blog tour continues and I urge you to check out as many of the hosts as you can – the full schedule is included below.