Thanks to Ann Cater of Random Things Tours for organising this blog tour and to Simone Buchholz and Orenda Books for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
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Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the
northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic
Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his
girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is
planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an
unsettling chill in the air.
Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from
the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary
suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local
nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his
room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of
As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access
to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible
truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.
Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion
to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar
Jónasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.
Winterkill is book #6 in the Dark Iceland series with Ari Thor Arason. I haven’t read the previous novels and this worked really well as a stand alone however, I do feel reading the series in order would have given me a better insight into Ari Thor’s character development and career arc.
The atmospheric setting brings a chill to the bone that’s beyond just a snowy town. Despite being a busy town, the silence resonates from each page and what should be a picturesque and magical winter wonderland (I know it’s set around Easter) has a deep sinister feel throughout. I feel Ari Thor’s solitude and lonely existence is reflected by this perspective of Siglufjörður that the reader experiences. I find mysteries set in small towns fascinating too. I love how the community know, or know of each other. I find that the more invested I become in a small town, the harder it is when the truth begins to come to light and secrets are revealed. I always feel as though I’ve been personally fooled or wronged.
The character of Ari has obviously been well developed throughout this series. In the public eye, he is liked but often appears standoffish and to the point. In his mind we see a much deeper thinker. He is a man contemplating his life’s choices, who struggled to find his place in Siglufjörður and still doesn’t feel he fits but on the other hand – he feels compelled to stay and part of him has taken roots. Despite being estranged from his partner and living away from his soon, Ari Thor still has a small flicker of hope that things will improve and be good again. He’s a fascinating character who seems simple on the surface but so complicated underneath.
The plot isn’t overly complicated or difficult to follow and flows really well. The translation is brilliant and clear. This story doesn’t beat around the bush but it does take the reader on a clever and twisted journey full of intrigue and some shocking revelations.
Winterkill is a very entertaining and atmospheric detective thriller and I am definitely going back to the beginning of Ari Thor’s journey to catch up.
Author Bio – Ragnar Jonasson
Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as
a lawyer, while teacher copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the
past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic
National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar
translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short
stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up
the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and
is co-founder of the International crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut
thriller, Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in
June 2015n with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating
Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout, Rupture and Whiteout following
soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland
series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner. He lives in Reykjavík with
his wife and two daughters.