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Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson
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Snowblind (2010)

by Ragnar Jonasson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dark Iceland (1), Dark Iceland by timeline (1)

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3462246,411 (3.61)96
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» See also 96 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Best for: People who enjoy an interesting mystery set in a different country (unless you’re from Iceland, in which case, people who enjoy an interesting mystery).

In a nutshell: Ari Thór is about to finish police school and has been offered a posting in a very small, very northern town in Iceland, starting right before winter arrives. Someone has died, and he suspects murder. But the rest of the town isn’t so sure.

Worth quoting:
“She was a prisoner of her own prosperity, here in this spacious detached house in a quiet neighbourhood, where people paid to cut themselves off from the world’s problems.”

Why I chose it: I visited Iceland this summer (it was amazing and I can’t wait to go back), and of course had to buy a book while I was there.

Review:
I read this book in a day and then immediately went online and ordered the other four books in the series. So, there’s that.

I enjoy a good mystery — I’ve just never really known where to go to find one. A couple of years ago I got into Stephen King, but I’m not big on supernatural components, and wasn’t sure when it was going to pop up in his writing, so I’ve mostly stopped. I used to read John Grisham books (more thriller than mystery, I guess) when I was younger, but haven’t picked one of his up in years (is he still writing?).

For me, this is a good mystery. There are a lot of characters, but not so many that I can’t keep up with them. There are some red herrings, but they aren’t ridiculous. However, I’m not sure if there is enough there that one could actually figure out exactly what really happened, so while the reveal is satisfying for sure, there is a very little bit that one might suggest comes out of left field. Regardless, it was an enjoyable read for me.

As I’ve made clear (https://cannonballread.com/2018/08/im-annoyed-you-all-made-me-read-this/), I don’t read nearly as much fiction as non-fiction (I just checked, and I’ve read 100 fiction books since starting with Cannonball Read 5, and 297 non-fiction books), and generally I don’t pick books with male protagonists. I also am leery of male writers, as the women they write (if they include them at all) are often superfluous to the story, or outright offensively stereotypical.

Mr. Jónasson’s writing didn’t fall into that category for me, thankfully. While his main character is a young man, there are women who feature prominently in the book. They don’t all exist just to satisfy or move forward the men in the book. Because of Jónasson’s writing choices, many of the women get at least one point-of-view chapter, and I think he does a good job of creating an interesting community of characters that I wanted to learn about. ( )
  ASKelmore | Sep 8, 2018 |
my mind keeps going back to this - cosy feeling remains - memories of violent bloodshed distant ( )
  Overgaard | Jul 29, 2018 |
This first book in the Dark Iceland series introduces Ari Thór, a brand-new policeman who’s just gotten his first job in Siglufjördur, a tiny town on the north coast of Iceland. Moving to Siglufjördur from Reykjavik proves challenging for Ari; not only does he leave the city and a serious girlfriend behind him, but now he finds himself an outsider in a tight-knit community. He also has to adjust to the weather, which in December consists of constant snowfall and almost 24-hour darkness. But the seemingly sleepy town takes on a more menacing aspect when a woman is stabbed and an old man falls to his death — or was he pushed? As Ari works on both cases, he uncovers multiple secrets that certain locals would rather keep buried.

Although I love a good mystery, I tend to shy away from Nordic crime novels because they all sound relentlessly depressing. But I quite liked this book, despite the slightly claustrophobic setting. It’s a little slow to get going, and I wasn’t a fan of the multiple narratives at the outset — the book bounces to different perspectives and time periods, and it was a bit confusing at first. I don’t like that device in general because it doesn’t allow you to really get into any one story; just when you start getting interested, the narrative jumps to something else. But I did like Ari Thór (although he clearly has some growing up to do) and would enjoy reading more books about him, as well as the other residents of Siglufjördur. I also liked the resolutions to both mysteries. So overall, I’d recommend this book to mystery lovers. Thanks to Dejah_Thoris, Crazymamie, and rabbitprincess for the book bullet!
1 vote christina_reads | Jan 16, 2018 |
Book Jacket:
Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, and which is 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 theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and where 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. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Nov 29, 2017 |
This was reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery if, say, the sleuth was very wet behind the ears. Meet Ari Thór Arason, who is in his early twenties and finishing up at the police academy in Reykjavik, Iceland. He is offered a job in the northern town of Siglufjördour, which he accepts, not understanding just how isolated the small town is, especially in the winter when avalanches make leaving the town an impossibility. Ari Thór's new boss tells him that its a quiet town, that nothing much ever happens there. *cue the dead bodies*

I liked that Ari Thór was an outsider because the reader gets to discover the town with him and because he doesn't make assumptions about people, not having grown up there. However, the seasoned mystery reader in me was slightly frustrated at how slowly he picked up on certain clues and his inability to gain the upper hand with suspects - his questioning technique needs a lot of work. "No, not like that, and please stop and think before you go jumping in again," I yelled at him, but to no avail. Hercule Poirot knew the importance of waiting for the right moment, of studying every truth from multiple angles before acting. Still, Ari Thór has his good points - he is not stupid, just young, and because he is unseasoned he also does not have to carry the baggage that the usual police detective does - the addictions, the poor life choices, the broken marriages.

This book has been billed as a sort of Scandinavian noir type of mystery, but I don't think so - it doesn't have the violence and darkness needed for the typical Scandicrime novel. Instead it is a gentler, kinder type of noir - you get the dark isolated setting and the suspense, but with a locked room mystery feel. The fact that the town is cut off by an avalanche makes the whole town the locked room, which was brilliant. After finishing the book, I learned that the author had translated many Agatha Christie books into Icelandic before writing his own mystery - not surprising, as he has captured the feel of her books perfectly here. The reader has all the clues before them until the very end when suddenly the last few pieces falling into place for the detective are withheld. Then the big reveal, but it doesn't go the way that Agatha would have played it because Ari Thór is no Hercule Poirot. But he could be. Some day. The potential is there, so I will be following along with the next books in this series to see if he can pull it off. ( )
3 vote Crazymamie | Nov 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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Jonasson, Ragnarprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bates, QuentinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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amazon ca :Taut and terrifying, a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic Noir to soaring new heights

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, and which is 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 theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and where 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.
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"Siglufj?or?ur: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors--accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thor 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 theater, 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. 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"--… (more)

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