Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson. (translated by Quentin Bates)
Karen Sullivan of Orenda Publishing (a new independent publisher) very kindly sent me this book to read. I loved it. I can’t wait for it to come out in the shops. I read it from start to finish and only stopped to grab a couple of cups of tea. My husband had to make his own dinner – he wasn’t happy, but he is used to it!
“ This has all the ingredients, a young policeman, a girlfriend left behind, murders both old and new for solving together with the intertwining of relationships within a small community as it goes through a snowbound dark winter. An absorbing read and one I didn’t put down. I hope there is another soon!”
This is the first in a series and I am so pleased, because I really want to know what happens to the main character and without giving any spoilers, one of the others. Well, several of the others actually. The novel is set in Iceland, in a small village in the North, that gets cut off by an avalanche of snow which blocks the only tunnel in and out. Our lead character is a policeman, who has already abandoned both a Philosophy and a Theology degree and who leaves his medical student girlfriend in Rejyavik when he accepts a post in Siglufjordur having applied for it without telling her.
The new man in town is beset by the problems of being the new man in a very small town, and of the existing policemen at times forgetting that he doesn’t know how things work in such a place, or who people are. A death occurs, unexpectedly, and while the regular team of police assume it is an unfortunate accident our hero digs a little deeper to discover that it may not have been a simple fall after all. Battling against colleagues who are set in their ways, and with mixed feelings about the girlfriend he left behind and with feelings stirring for a girl he meets while taking piano lessons, the snows of winter begin to fall and the landscape gradually changes as does Ari Thor’s sense of being trapped. A historical murder is described in flashback chapters and at first I didn’t understand the need for this, but when another body is found, then it begins to become clearer. The surroundings of this story are so beautifully described that I now have Iceland very firmly on my list of places to visit and the town of Siglufjordur is also on that list. I hope I am not disappointed, but I feel I won’t be! The descriptions of the claustrophobic feel of endless snow made me want to curl up on the sofa and look out of the window – hoping for the sort of snow we have in Britain, not the sort of snow they get in Iceland!
At the end of this book the main cases are wrapped up but the main characters in the story are left with many exciting loose ends. My first question to Karen was – When is the next part out, because I really to know if Ari Thor and Karl meet up again and how Ari reacts when he discovers what his girlfriend has done! The series has started with a bang, and is beautifully crafted, with twists and turns as we learn more about Ari Thor’s past.
I don’t give marks, or stars, or things like that for books. I give an honest opinion. I loved it. I couldn’t put it down, I was left excited for the next instalment (I really wanted it then and there!) and for me that is an indicator of a gripping story, well told. I have already recommended it to friends to read, and can think of no higher endorsement than that. I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.
This is published as an e-book on 20th April 2015 and will be published in paperback on 15th June 2015.