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Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson

25067569Though I haven’t read the first book the Dark Iceland series, it wasn’t difficult to pick up the plot of characters in Snowblind, the second book. Set in a quiet fishing village in northern Iceland, the novel centres on the arrival of a new policeman, Ari, who is new in every sense of the word. A recent police academy graduate, this remote posting is also Ari’s very first. Leaving behind the big city and his girlfriend, Ari views the job in this sleepy outpost where no-one locks their doors and everyone knows your business, as a stepping stone to better job prospects in the future. Winter has arrived and with the village being plunged into darkness and snow bound for months, Ari is certain it’s just a matter of passing time and revaluating his life and relationship.

When a prominent author is found dead and it’s assumed he fell in what was a tragic accident in the local theatre, and on the eve of a production, the regular police seem prepared to accept that verdict. When Ari and his colleagues start to interview those present, their stories, the relationships shared and denied as well as the alibis given, don’t always add up.

The more Ari plunges into the investigation, the more history and connections he uncovers. As snowstorms wreak havoc over the town, closing it off from the wider world and darkness reigns, Ari starts to feel trapped. This is a small place where not only are secrets and lies currency, but there’s a murderer on the loose as well.

Well written and featuring every thing I love about Nordic noir: atmosphere, remoteness, cold and a complex investigation, this book didn’t quite grab me the way other writers in this genre have. I found the plot a bit pedestrian and some “ah ha” moments too contrived. I also thought the characters were a little two-dimensional at times even the lead, Ari. I also think the author tried to do too much. Nonetheless, I am glad I read it and will likely track down the rest of the series.

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