Book Review: Rupture (Dark Iceland #4) by Ragnar Jónasson #BlogTour #Rupture

It goes without saying that I am over the moon to be joining #Rupture Blog Tour today with my review for this latest addition to the Dark Iceland series (which I simply adore!). Thanks so much for stopping by 😀

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date:

24th December 2016 [Kindle]

15th January 2017 [Paperback]

rupture-my-review

rupture-by-ragnar-jonassonRagnar Jónasson is the most excellent wordsmith, committed to painting the most perfectly atmospheric scenes with a quiet composure. I have developed a fondness for this unassuming style, where a rare and tragic event is the only thing on earth that can taint the purity of the location.

Nestled in the most wondrous and often challenging of landscapes, what can the isolated beauty of a fjord hide? How can an old family photograph shed light on a mystery that was forgotten along with the people that passed on? A peaceful solitude can be shattered as the truth emerges. And Ari Thór Arason? He remains a human puzzle where all of the pieces are still trying to fit together, much like the underlying sequence of events we run into in Rupture.

Feeling restless, yet still emanating an air of calm, Ari Thór is struggling to police the streets as there is no one on them! During Siglufjörður’s quarantine period from a particularly nasty strain of virus everyone has isolated themselves indoors hoping to avoid infection leaving him with more time on his hands than he’s used to. Still, it gives him time to pursue an archived investigation that has a curious question mark hanging over it.

With the long distance assistance of the instantly recognisable reporter Ísrún from Reykjavik, bravely concealing her own health and parental concerns while chasing several delicious scoops, Ari Thor looks into a local historical case of alleged poisoning recorded as accidental according to police reports.

As he unravels this flawlessly crafted mystery, a kidnapping, a hit-and-run incident, and political scandal brews – plus Ari Thór’s summing up speech would rival any master detective’s performance. 

What truly gives Dark Iceland its exceptional charisma is the respect that applies not only to the volatile environment and times of hardship, but for maintaining particular customs and a common courtesy missing from most fiction. The reliably cryptic intrigue, coupled with the characters’ subtle peculiarities and life developments, never ceases to enthral.

I hereby declare THIS my favourite in the series so far!

Rating:  5/5

(I received a copy of this title from the publisher with my thanks and it is my pleasure to provide an unbiased review.)

My other reviews for books in the Dark Iceland series:

Snowblind     Nightblind     Blackout

rupture-book-summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…

In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.

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rupture-author-profile

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

ragnar-jonasson-author-photographRagnar Jónasson (www.ragnarjonasson.com) is the Icelandic writer of the Dark Iceland crime series set in Northern Iceland. Snowblind (2015) is the first book in the Dark Iceland series.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, and works as a lawyer in Reykjavik. He is also a teacher at Reykjavik University Law School and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen of Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.

Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir and has appeared on panels at Crimefest in Bristol, Left Coast Crime in the USA, Bloody Scotland in Stirling and Iceland Noir in Iceland. Ragnar’s short story Death of a Sunflower was published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine January 2014 issue, the first story in the magazine by an Icelandic author. His second Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine story, A Letter to Santa, was published in the January 2015 issue. Ragnar’s short story Party of Two was published in the Crime Writers’ Association 2014 anthology Guilty Parties, edited by Martin Edwards.

Ragnar lives in Reykjavik with his wife and daughters.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE

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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-my-review

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

black-out-book-summary

(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.

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black-out-author-profile

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

ragnar-jonasson-author-photograph

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.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE

Book Review: Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1) by Ragnar Jónasson

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th June 2015 [Paperback]

Source:  My own purchased copy

snow-blind-my-review

snowblind-by-ragnar-jonassonSnowblind is our introduction to the authentic and changeable atmosphere of the Dark Iceland series with chief characters you can’t help but warm to, despite the extreme weather conditions and their colossal indiscretions.

So here we are. Siglufjörður, Iceland, in 2008. A single tunnel leading in and out may isolate the town but fails to protect it from the unseen jeopardies that lie ahead.

Ari Thór Arason is a new police officer from Reykjavik who accepts a position at the small police station in Siglufjörður, much to the surprise of his long term girlfriend Kristin as he didn’t discuss the move with her first. She remains in the South, he moves north until the frostiness of their relationship feels right at home during the dark days and oppressive nights of an Icelandic winter that seeks to smother Ari Thór with despair. With both of them possessing frustrating stubborn streaks it threatens to cancel out rare opportunities to resolve matters between them.

Ari Thór is convinced he has to take this rare career opportunity, as the current financial crisis doesn’t present that many. He is welcomed by the inspector, Tómas, and gets to know the locals, or rather the locals single out newcomers on sight and irritatingly refer to him as The Reverend, a reference to his abandoned theological studies before joining the police.

“Ah, we don’t lock our doors here,” the inspector bellows at the new recruit. That throw away comment would seem rather quaint if a semi-naked woman hadn’t been discovered in a pool of blood, there was trouble at the local drama group where someone fell to their death, and a break-in threatens to undermine the close community feel Ari Thór was led to believe existed in these parts. It leaves him pondering what he’s let himself in for.

As an outsider, Ari Thór has no previous connection to the victim or the witnesses and can remain impartial during his questioning. In stark contrast Tómas is either related to someone and knows everybody. Ari Thór doesn’t want to embark on character assassination but history is clouding the investigation but he has to watch his step with his boss. Tómas’s mantra of “try not to upset the locals, it’s a small town” doesn’t mean these people aren’t capable of being merciless and simply keep it under their thermal hats.

The graceful word skill in Snowblind is exceptionally soothing, it’s as though you’re listening to an interesting stranger recounting a story of cosy Icelandic life that’s been tainted by some rather dreadful occurrences. Everyday realism is performed on a majestic stage with the most striking backdrop, allowing interludes of drama to disturb the tranquillity when the cast least expect it.

Rating: 5/5

snow-blind-book-profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.

An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose. Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic Noir to soaring new heights.

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snow-blind-author-profile

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

ragnar-jonasson-author-photographRagnar 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.

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE

Book Review: Nightblind (Dark Iceland #2) by Ragnar Jonasson ~ #Nightblind Blog Tour, Day 3

Publisher:  Orenda Books

Publication date: Kindle – 1st December 2015  /  Paperback – 22nd January 2016

NIGHTBLING - MY REVIEW

Nightblind Kindle CoverA shooting on a dark and treacherous night, the intermittent ramblings of a psychiatric patient, and me, perched on the edge of my seat – in these early days of 2016 I truly believe I’ve discovered a new favourite crime series: YES. I’M IN AWE OF ARI THOR.

As a subtle menace worms its way into a close knit Icelandic community, Ari Thor must rouse himself from his sick bed and shake the grip of Influenza to investigate the good people of Siglufjordur.  They are a close community indeed, where someone is a cold-blooded killer.

The poor bloke is not in the most ideal position to root out a bad egg threatening their peaceful existence. Circumstances are not ideal for our Ari. After being passed over for promotion as police inspector and treating his superior with less respect than he should have, in light of recent events Ari is riddled with guilt. His personal life doesn’t fair much better either, as he’s left considering the distance that Kristen, his girlfriend and mother of his ten month old son, is putting between them. The isolation of this landscape could cause major issues for an intriguing loner like Ari, but occasionally his character shows a surprising contemplative side.

Endeavour he must. A shooting in this part of the world is a rare occurrence and quickly makes the headlines. It must be dealt with swiftly to prevent ripples of fear creeping into the minds of the residents and farther afield. Ari’s enquiries see him partnered with his old boss, Tomas, who has been recalled from a move to Reykjavik to head up the investigation. Although Ari is initially irked by the decision to bring someone else in to supervise the case, Tomas is also an old friend and Ari knows that petty grievances could get in the way of the truth.

The two of them must tread carefully to not rock the boat that’s being steered toward political waters. A turn in the wrong direction could easily see your career nosedive and that would be regrettable.

A silent threat tiptoes throughout the book to quietly reveal the secrets of good people, nice people. Some of them hoping the snow will muffle the trouble that goes on behind closed doors.

Nightblind is a thriller of distinction. It possesses a majestic quality and reigns supreme. With its superb blend of moody environment, undercurrent of unease, and pitch-perfect pace, right now I’m thinking I’ll be hard-pressed to find another book to rival it.

Oh, in case you were wondering, although this is the second book in the Dark Iceland series it can be read as a stand alone with absolutely no worries.

MY RATING: 5/5, AND THEN SOME.

(THANK YOU so much to Karen at Orenda Books for providing a hard copy of Nightblind for review, and to the wonderful Liz Barnsley for saving a seat for me on the tour bus.)

NIGHTBLIND - BOOK SUMMARY

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. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.

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NIGHTBLIND - AUTHOR BIO

Ragnar Jonasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1976, 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 recently set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA, in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik 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. Blackout will be published by Orenda Books in 2016.

Connect with the author:

TWITTER   |   WEBSITE

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