17 August 2022

Review: WINTERKILL, Ragnar Jonasson

  • This edition made available as an e-book on Libby by my local library
  • ISBN: 9781913193447
  • ISBN-10: 1913193446
  • #6 in Dark Iceland series
  • Number Of Pages: 276
  • Published: 1st March 2021
  • translated into English from French by David Warriner

Synopsis (publisher)

When the body of a 19-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjordur, Police Inspector Ari Thor battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer . . . The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjordur, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes. 

Ari Thor 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 19-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 her death . . . 

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjordur, Ari Thor 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 Jonasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction. 

My Take

Easter is approaching when a girl's body is found near a house in the main street. At first she seems to have fallen from a first floor balcony but there are no witnesses. And then the balcony has only her fingerprints, and the owner is away in Reyjavik, and the conclusion is that the girl must have jumped. Her mother is understandably distraught and her father flies in from America. Both seem convinced that she was pushed, and they in turn push Ari Thor to investigate the incident thoroughly. 

His girlfriend and young son arrive from Sweden for the weekend, and Ari Thor is determined to give them as much time as he can. He gives them his house and stays in the local hotel. There are aspects of this case that are unsettling and on closer attention he unearths some disturbing ideas. 

In the long run Ari Thor discovers another murder, one that others had accepted as a natural death.

I find it hard to put a finger on what is different about Icelandic writing. I think Jonasson's style is deceptively simple, and it is not just the effect of the text having been translated. 

My rating: 4.5 

I've also read

Dark Iceland
   1. Snowblind (2015)
   2. Nightblind (2015)
   3. Blackout (2016)
   4. Rupture (2016)
   5. Whiteout (2017)
   6. Winterkill (2020)

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