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Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson
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This is the 4th installment of Jonasson’s Icelandic crime series, set in a small fishing community in northwest Iceland and featuring the police detective, Ari Thor Arason. Well, perhaps Ari Thor doesn’t have the detective title so familiar in other crime novels, but he's one of a few officers whose responsibilities encompass the whole range of police work. Serving in the “sidekick” position, at least for the story’s purposes, is Isrun, a veteran Reykjavik news reporter. A lot is going on in this short novel: the community is under quarantine because of a highly infectious disease, a man thinks someone is repeatedly lurking outside, perhaps, even has been inside his house, another man is killed in a hit and run accident, and a mysterious photo has surfaced related to an old suicide or accidental death case.

One of the reasons I enjoy these books is the small community setting in the north where people tend to know each other and the landscape is another character in the story. And no where in the book is that better illustrated than in the storyline about the mysterious 1950s death of a woman in a remote, nearly uninhabited region, where just two couples lived. The woman mistakenly put rat poison in her coffee: suicide, accidental death or something more sinister?. The other storylines resolve themselves over the book, but this particular one haunts and intrigues (so much so that I wonder if the rest of the book wasn’t written around it).

*And there are maps and guides to pronunciation in this edition! Woot!
*However, the 10 and half pages of blurbs for the series at the beginning of the book is annoying.
*Fascinating photo on the cover. Does it not look like icicles hanging? Actually, it's an image of an isolated house on the coast, with the water inlets reaching into the dark shoreline. ( )
  avaland | Mar 31, 2018 |
Returning to crime fiction is my reading "comfort blanket" - sometimes I need to read knowing the author has it all held tightly and under control for me. This is Jónasson's third book in the Icelandic series and if you like crime with interesting themes and a strong attachment to the landscape this is a winner. Siglufjördur, a small town in the northernmost tip of Iceland, long past its Herring era heyday, is a central character in the book - controlling the light, the cold and the claustrophobic tensions needed to bring this drama home. ( )
  Mitch1 | Mar 25, 2018 |
A really enjoyable read if you have read the earlier books in the series, set in contemporary Iceland in both Siglufjordur (northern Iceland) and Reykjavik, and are interested in how the characters develop as well as the mystery itself.
The isolation of the close knitted Siglufjordur community is well evoked, as well as the tensions with modern developments, such as the tunnels making access easier, so that Reykjavik residents might now buy houses as holiday homes. Reykjavik comes across as just another city, albeit small, but provides the contrast the rural Siglufjordur setting.

For me, the books are also literary tourism, as we visited the Siglufjordur region in 2014, staying at Dalvik, and we stopped in Hedinsfjordur, as it is such a narrow valley between two road tunnels.
I also enjoyed references to snow buntings (although we never saw flocks in July) and pancakes, with jam and cream. The fact that it is usually rhubarb jam that is provided, which I found surprising until I though about what would grow during the short Icelandic summers, is omitted! ( )
  CarltonC | May 21, 2017 |
4.5 stars

Another gorgeous cover, another great read. A couple of years ago, I was browsing in the bookstore at Keflavik airport when “Snowblind” from Orenda Books caught my eye (and wallet). I hadn’t heard of it, the author or the publisher. How times have changed.

Most of the series is now translated so I recently spent a few days back in Iceland (from my sofa) by binge reading the next 3 instalments. This is book #4 & I think it just might be my favourite.

Ari Thór is having trouble finding something to do. After a tourist died from a highly infectious bug, Siglufjördur was put under quarantine. No one is allowed in or out & the streets are empty as residents hunker down inside. So it’s the perfect time to dig into an old mystery.

Ari is contacted by an elderly gent named Hédinn with a photo that recently came into his possession. It was taken on an isolated farm where the man was born. In 1955, 2 couples from Reykjavik moved to the remote area. Less than 2 years later, one was dead & the others fled back to the city with a newborn in tow. Hédinn wants to know if Ari can find the answer to one question: who is the stranger in the photo?

Ari soon finds connections In Reykjavik but can’t travel due to the quarantine. He enlists the help of Isrún, a reporter he met on a previous case. She agrees if he’ll give her the scoop on the situation in Siglufjördur which is gaining national attention.

There are several additional side stories that develop as the book progresses. The fun part is watching as the characters pick away at their investigations & uncover a few surprising twists along the way.

If you’ve read any of these books, you know you’re in for intricate mysteries & great characters you become attached to. Their personal stories continue to develop & Ari in particular is a young man still struggling to finding his feet (if you’re keeping score, he & Kristin are back together). He’s more accepted by the town’s residents but will always be an outsider & his feelings of isolation are perfectly mirrored by the stark setting. The quarantine serves to heighten the claustrophobic atmosphere as Siglufjördur becomes a ghost town. The silence, chill winds, & looming mountains provide a backdrop for the rising tension as Ari gradually discovers what happened to Hédinn’s family .

There are no car chases or shoot-outs here, just a smart, character driven mystery that gives your brain a workout. It’s one of those books that leaves you a bit disoriented when you eventually look up & find yourself on the sofa, reaching for a sweater.

Well, the binge-fest is over. I’m left waiting for “Whiteout” & plotting a return trip to Iceland that just might include dropping by a certain town up north. ( )
1 vote RowingRabbit | Mar 19, 2017 |
This book has been discussed wildly on social media, alongside comments that it is as brilliant as Ragnar Jonasson's previous deliveries. Well, this is the first of this author's novels I have read and the fact that other reviews are right, it is brilliant, gives a good indication his others will be too.

This is one of those books that makes you feel like there is not quite enough oxygen in the room. Jonasson creates a deeply atmospheric, almost claustrophobic environment for his characters. For Ari Thor, our protagonist, he is living in a town under the threat of a highly contagious killer virus, which is landed it in quarantine. This means as the local police officer, he has time on his hands and decides to use it to look into an old case of a mysterious death on an isolated fjord. The case Ari Thor realises, presents itself in similar surroundings to his current one. Its location is remote, unfriendly, unwelcoming to visitors, a little spooky. The inhabitants are alone, isolated and fighting a relentless and bitter winter.

Then we have a second main character and concurrent storyline in Isrun, investigative television journalist, who has her own chilling cases in the present day on the go. Even so, she still finds time to assist Ari Thor, always wanting to keep police contacts on side and both storylines ultimately hold the same moral point.

Jonasson's vivid imagery of Iceland and his ability to convey this through engaging all of your senses through his flawless, easy and elegant writing is one of the best parts about this book for me.

Another brilliantly translated Nordic Noir offering from a very clever author. ( )
  LynseySummers | Feb 2, 2017 |
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1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjorour. 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..… (more)

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