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Nightblind by Ragnar Jónasson
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Ragnar J_nasson's "Nightblind," translated from the Icelandic by Quentin Bates (good job by Bates, but the editor missed some obvious typos), is set in Siglufj̦rdur, a small town in the north of Iceland. As darkness and foul weather descend on the area, we meet men and women who face troubling personal and professional challenges. One is Ari ThÌ_r Arason, a police officer who is disappointed at being passed over for promotion. The job went to his superior, Inspector HerjÌ_lfur, who is civil but cool and aloof. When an unidentified perpetrator shoots a police officer, Ari ThÌ_r's former boss, TÌ_mas, temporarily leaves his post in Reykjavik to assist in the investigation.

This crime prompts increased media attention and public discussion about gun ownership, and brings into question Iceland's reputation as a peaceful place. In addition, detectives will scrutinize the activities of prominent government officials who had dealings with HerjÌ_lfur. Adding to Ari ThÌ_r's woes, his girlfriend, KristÌ_n, has been remote of late. Although both cherish their ten-month-old son, Stefnir, neither parent is completely happy. KristÌ_n is fed up with Ari ThÌ_r's long hours at work, and she is attracted to a fellow doctor who seems to reciprocate her interest. Furthermore, in italicized chapters, a psychiatric patient expresses his angst, but we have no idea who he is or why he is so miserable.

The author's sharp and spare writing style is perfect for this fast-paced novel of psychological suspense. In addition, Iceland's wild landscape, with its hard-driving rain and chill winds, adds to the story's bleak atmosphere. Although some of the characters are self-serving and deceitful at times, we can understand their all-too-human frailties. This is a compelling Scandinavian whodunit that deals with domestic abuse, the war on drugs, and the difficulty of keeping a romance fresh and vibrant. JÌ_nasson's implies that people who are cruel and self-serving may seem to prevail, but they often end up paying a steep price for their misdeeds. ( )
  booklover915 | Oct 9, 2018 |
The second in the Dark Iceland mystery series, which takes place in Siglufjörður, a small fishing village and the northernmost town on the Icelandic mainland, about 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The novice policeman Ari Thor Arason is has make a home for himself despite being an outsider, and he and his old boss investigate the murder of his new boss, who's gunned down one night in a case that shocks the country, where the violent death of a policeman is unheard of. A really well thought-out plot and interesting characters make for a big improvement over the first in the series. Very enjoyable. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Sep 1, 2018 |
The second in the Dark Iceland series to appear in English, this book picks up five years after the events of Snowblind. There are several threads running through the story, including one told via a diary kept in the 1980s. This was a page-turner for me that I finished easily in a day. It was a solid read, and I will continue with the other books in the series. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Apr 15, 2018 |
Okay, so I was hoping this one would be better than the previous installment, and I liked that one; I just wanted more. This one is set five years after the events in Snowblind, and so I was expecting more character growth - at the very least in the relationship department, but Ari Thór let me down. This one has too many red herrings and not enough setting. One of the things I really loved about the first book was that the setting was like a character, and it added to the tension and the atmosphere - I mean, it's Iceland for Pete's sake. But here it barely gets a mention, and the new tunnel makes getting snowed in a no go. I am tempted to try the third book just to see it it's any better - books three and four go back and fill in the gaps between books one and two. I thought this was such a clever premise for a series, but you have to be able to carry it off. So maybe if book three is a Kindle deal at some point or our library system gets it, I might give it a whirl. Otherwise, I think not. ( )
  Crazymamie | Jan 30, 2018 |
It has been five years since Ari Thor has come to Siglufjordur, and he now feels more comfortable in the village and his job as a policeman. His personal life has changed as well, but lately that has been a bit bumpy. He is out with the flu, when his superior is shot at the site of an old house, that has a storied past. Crime happens rarely in this small fishing village and Ari is well aware of the fact that had he not been out sick, the man fighting for his life, could well have been him.

I love the atmosphere in this series. The Arctic winter is closing in, the extreme cold, and since it has been below zero with single digits here, I can relate, surrounds one. One gets a very good sense of this village, and the people that live within. It is a slower paced procedural with many different avenues investigated before the truth is known. Ari Thor, is a pondering sort of man, he is always thinking, trying to make connections, working things out in his own mind. Doesn't just accept another's word for something, even Tomas, who brought Ari to this village. He is tenacious, and follows every lead, talks to everyone involved, even those who may not lead him to an answer. Eventually he will get there.

In between chapters, there are writing from a journal, penned by someone who is in as psychiatric ward in Reykjavik. Who this is and what it has to do with tshooting is not revealed to hear the end. Added to the overall mystery and the atmosphere as well.

A very good , solid story, with an interesting, well described setting. I enjoy this series, but I know there are five books so far, this the second the only other one at my library so far. Hopefully, as they are translated we will acquire them. ( )
  Beamis12 | Dec 30, 2017 |
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Siglufjordur: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thor 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 Thor 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.… (more)

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