Book Review: Snowblind

SNOWBLIND | Ragnar Jonasson
06.15.2015 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Siglufjordur is the opposite of Reykjavik. It’s a small fishing village located in Northern Iceland, where everyone knows each other and no one locks their doors. Ari Thor Arason has just applied for his first posting as a police officer and ends up being sent to Siglufjordur. He has to leave behind his girlfriend and his life in Reykjavik, but doesn’t hesitate to make the change, as this is his chance to launch his career.

Ari Thor finds that Siglufjordur might not just be as quiet as he first thought when he finds himself investigating a case where a young woman’s body has been found lying half-naked, bleeding in the snow. To complicate matters a well-known, elderly author was found to have fallen to his death just prior to this woman being discovered. As a massive snowstorm closes off the one road leading to and from the town, Ari Thor must work to discover the truth behind what happened to these two individuals. Can Ari Thor find a killer or will he be blinded by the snow?

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This peaceful little town was being compressed by the snow, no longer a familiar winter embrace but a threat like never before. The white was no longer pure, but tinged blood red.

SNOWBLIND is the first book in the Dark Iceland series, which focuses on Ari Thor Arason, a rookie cop attempting to start his career. Ari Thor is ambitious and desperately wants to do what is right by the people in the town of Siglufjordur, but he must learn how to navigate being the outsider and the new kid on the block at the same time. Ragnar Jonasson does an exceptional job of making the reader feel the weight of this case on Ari Thor’s shoulders through his atmospheric portrayal of Siglufjordur. Right from the start you get the feeling that these villagers are hiding something, but they are a tight-lipped community who would prefer to gossip about those around them, than outright accuse anyone of wrongdoing. Certainly no one can believe Ari Thor’s suggestion that foul play is at work when the body of a retired writer is found. The man simply fell down the stairs after one too many drinks and met an unfortunate end.

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The red stain was like a scream in the silence.

Jonasson’s character roster is full of interesting people with a not-so-distinct line dividing those the reader can trust and those they cannot. It is clear everyone in this village has some secret they keep closely tucked away and Jonasson plays off of this notion to confuse the reader. I can testify, this method works quite well! If you have ever read an Agatha Christie novel you can feel Jonasson using his real-life interests in her works as a basis for his own ingenuity. I’ve always loved the way Christie seamlessly flips a reader from suspect to suspect and Jonasson has captured this ability in a modern setting. Coupled with the moody, snowy town the story is set in, this becomes a book you can’t help flying through the pages of. I had no doubt I would love this series before I ever held this book in my hand. I was so confident that I bought all of the currently released titles, which means I’m dedicated myself to spending time with Ari Thor once a month! I can’t wait to see how his character evolves and what new cases and crimes Jonasson comes up with!

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