Book Review: Blackout (Dark Iceland #3) by Ragnar Jónasson

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th July 2016 [Paperback]

Source:  My own purchased copy


black-out-by-ragnar-jonasson-coverThe rich storytelling technique of the Dark Iceland Series has a pure brilliance that’s as fresh as a snow flurry. Once again, the ruthless beauty of the Icelandic environment is depicted in such humble, yet striking detail.

The optimism that summer brings is a welcome relief for Ari Thór Arason. Previously weighed down by his label as the out-of-towner, with his theological studies earning him the irritating nickname of ‘The Reverend’, not to mention the never ending melancholy he experienced during an Icelandic winter in Snowblind, our rooky police officer has grown in confidence and is now consulted for his opinion, rather than rebuked for it.

It’s now 2010 and despite a rocky start to his career Ari Thór remains at the Police Station in Siglufjörður. What’s clear in Blackout is that he has earned his role there becoming a more assertive officer, although I noticed he appeared curter when wanting people to get to the point. Has his frosty relationship with his long term girlfriend (ex) Kristin affected his mood, or is he growing tired of the kid glove approach to investigations that the inspector relies on?

See, that’s where Ari Thór and Tómas differ. Being an outsider and socially detached can have its advantages as there is no previous history to cloud his judgment. In contrast, Tómas knows everyone in town either by schooling, working or being related to the residents somehow and bases his instinct on his personal perception of them, which isn’t always correct. For a town that feels so safe it doesn’t lock its doors, it’s often more difficult to accept what’s happening behind them.

This time around, a murder hits the headlines as a construction worker overseeing the new tunnel is found murdered at an isolated property with a blooded plank of wood at his side. Ari Thór, Tómas, and an overly-eager journalist armed with nothing but a suitcase filled with skeletons from her closet all focus their attention on solving the mystery of his death and are surprised to discover the dark motive as they drag some disturbing facts into the open.

As the smothering volcanic ash in Reykjavik enriches the gloom of the economic crisis, the revelations of the Siglufjörður locals and the increasing distance between Ari Thór and Kristin are nurtured to perfection. The clever sub plots are captivating and as their complexities progress, so does the anxiety of officer Hlynur’s personal storyline; already disgruntled by Ari’s success, the threat of his childhood deeds catching up with him creates another darkening avenue of misery to follow.

From the glorious Icelandic place names to the extreme and fascinating geology, everything about this series invites you to sit back and appreciate the winding journey until you reach the final destination – and with Dark Iceland you always travel first class. Can’t wait for the next instalment – Rupture.

Rating:   4/5


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer’s night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person’s life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjörður struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit.

What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies… Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s finest crime writers.



(Courtesy of Amazon UK. Author photograph courtesy of Publisher)


Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind has sold over 3000 copies in advance of publication.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s