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The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
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The Darkness

by Ragnar Jónasson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hidden Iceland (book 1)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The Darkness – A Darker Slice of Nordic Noir

Ragnar Jónasson once again has written a brilliant thriller that has all the twists to keep you hooked from beginning to end. The difference with this Jónasson thriller, he has added a darker slice of noir than you would expect. That dark slice of noir just adds that something that moves it from a good thriller to an outstanding thriller.

There is always a bleakness associated with Nordic Noir, and nowhere can be as bleak as Iceland, nowhere as empty, cold or lonely. The way in which he portrays the country, the people and the crimes chills you to the bone, while still keeping you hooked.

Hulda Hermannsdóttir has been told she can retire early even though she still has time to serve, but her boss wants her gone quickly. She is therefore allowed to pick a cold case to investigate as her final case. She picks the case of a Russian asylum seeker, whose body had washed up on the Icelandic shore.

As Hulda digs deeper she finds that there may be another person who has gone missing that is linked to this case. As she digs deeper, the more her colleagues think she should give up on the case, and that it should be closed. What Hulda does discover is that one of her colleagues did not do their job well enough. He was lazy if it came down to it. Will she ever find the killer? Or will her career finish before she finds out what happened?

Some great twists and a real heart of darkness is what makes this thriller outstanding and welcomes in Jonasson’s brand new Icelandic thriller series. He scatters clues throughout the thriller it is up to the reader to spot them first! This is a book that gets you hooked and keeps you there on a rollercoaster ride all the way to the end. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Oct 21, 2018 |
Excitingly subtle Nordic Noir addition!

Ok, I don't quite know what to do with this story. It left things puzzling unfinished, and me hanging in midair. (Hanging on every word and action by the way) Unfinished from the point of view of about to retire Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavík police and her enquiry into the assumed suicide of a young Russian woman found washed up on a deserted shoreline two years before. The more we learn about Hulda, the more we sympathize with her perceptions about her work colleagues, and her inner drive that seems to ignore anything but the goal she's fixated on.
As little by little Hulda's life history is revealed, some of her actions become more understandable, if not sometimes slightly bizarre.
Hulda's enforced retirement notice begs the questions of the last chapter's happenings and her colleagues opinions of her. Where does the truth lie?
Hulda chooses one last case to investigate, and the time allowed becomes shorter as she treads on official's toes and companion's egos. The suicide case sparks attraction from many quarters, most of it unwanted.
The Darkness is the first part a trilogy that appears to have begun with the ending. Maybe!
At first the structure of the series and the interplay of Hulda's past and present annoyed me, however as I read on I was caught. How the storyline is eventually going to play out will have me returning out of sheer curiosity. The forcefulness of Hulda's personality and the stories within stories has well and truly trapped me! I find myself desperately wanting to continue with Hulda's journey, despite its ending. Truly Nordic Noir! I loved it!

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Oct 15, 2018 |
Ragnar Jónasson has rapidly turned into my favorite Nordic crime fiction writer. Iceland comes to life under his pen. Give this man snow and the endless dark days of winter, and he's fully capable of giving readers a severe case of claustrophobia to go along with his well-paced and -plotted mysteries. This newest trilogy opens with a bang. The Darkness is a superb character study of Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir.

The Darkness takes place at the end of May, when Iceland is getting warmer and brighter in advance of July when the sun never sets. These lengthening days are bringing things to light that have been buried in darkness for a long time. Yes, the book title is very symbolic and becomes even moreso the farther one reads.

One of the ways the darkness is dispelled in this novel is by alternating chapters told in different voices. One of the voices is easily identified as that of a young Russian woman, but it takes a few chapters before the reader realizes that Hulda's backstory is slowly unfolding. Be forewarned: this is not a happy book. Hulda has had many harsh things happen to her throughout her life, and as a result she's not Little Miss Mary Sunshine. Having had some of the same things happen to me, I identified with this woman very closely-- even while I was mentally trying to tell her not to do some of the things she did during her investigation.

By the time you come to the end of The Darkness, you will realize that this series does not start out in a conventional manner. Not only that, but the story itself does not advance in a linear fashion. However, I did not find it at all confusing. No, I found it brilliant. The Darkness is marvelous reading for those who find it easier to empathize with characters. Hulda Hermannsdóttir has gotten under my skin, and I can't wait to read the next book in this trilogy. ( )
  cathyskye | Oct 12, 2018 |
The first in a new series, features Hulga, a police detective who at the age of sixty four, will within months be retiring. Yet, she is far from ready for retirement, the though of being alone with nothing to do fills her with dread. When her boss tells her he has already hired someone to take over her cases, that she should clean out her office and start her retirement early, she refuses. To pacify her he tells her to pick out a cold case and she can work on it for a few weeks. The case she chooses is that of a young woman, an asylum seeker, whose death has been classified as a suicide.

I like that author are showing older woman in positions of power, refusing to give in nor give up. There is a poignant back story to Hulgas life, and explains how she came to be alone. My favorite thing this author does is the atmosphere created. One feels the cold, the ice, the gusts of wind, of winter in Iceland. It permeates the story, adding to it by bringing the reader into environment. Three separate threads, give us a personal look into the young life of Hulga, and of a young woman trudging through the snow. These threads connect and build on the story, personally and case wise. A strong start to what I believe will be another fantastic Nordic series.

ARC from Netgalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Sep 13, 2018 |
This mystery is somewhat unusual because the main character is nor very likable, nor is the ending. The setting of Iceland plays an important role in its darkness and cold, reflected by the main character, Hulda, a police detective who is forced to retire before she is ready. Hulda feels she has been mistreated on the police force because she is a woman, and it is hard to tell if her social isolation is self-imposed because of her own defensiveness and acerbic personality. She is given the opportunity to solve one cold case before she retires, and she chooses the death of a Russian woman, whose situation she feels was ignored due to the victim's status as an asylum seeker. Jonasson's writing is masterful and memorable at times (such as comparing time to a concertina), but the pervasive alienation and ending of this book would not encourage me to read more in the series. ( )
  sleahey | Aug 31, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ragnar Jónassonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cribb, VictoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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After being unceremoniously forced into early retirement at the age of 64, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is refusing to go quietly. Hulda is told to pick a cold case to investigate for two more weeks and she knows just the one. A young woman found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysustrond. A woman who had come to Iceland in search of refuge and found only a watery grave. Her death was ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation. But when Hulda starts to ask questions she soon realises that there was something far darker to this case. That this was not the only young woman to disappear from the hostel where the asylum seekers waited for their judgement and that no one is telling the whole story. And that if she uncovers something she shouldn't her own life might be in danger.… (more)

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