Book Review: Blackout

BLACKOUT | Ragnar Jonasson
(Dark Iceland #3)
07.15.2016 | Orenda Books
Rating: 5/5 stars


The body of a man, Elias, who has been brutally beaten to death is found on the quiet shores of Iceland. With very few clues to go on, Ari Thor and Tomas, begin investigating the man’s coworkers and close friends in Siglufjordur. A young reporter learns of Elias’ death and immediately sets off to investigate the story on her own. Unbeknownst to all there is another life at stake.

Who was Elias and why would anyone want him dead? A man who on the outside looks like a philanthropist and loyal friend appears to have held many secrets close to his chest. With volcanic ash blanketing parts of Iceland in darkness, those investigating the murder must work to find the light and a break in this case. Will Ari Thor catch a killer before someone else loses their life?

Next time I’ll teach you how to die.

WOW! What a book! BLACKOUT is the the third installment in Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series and by far my favorite. Over the course of the previous two books I have built up a relationship with several characters in this series and opening the pages of BLACKOUT was like being back with old friends. Characters like Ari Thor and Tomas are captivating and Jonasson writes them in a way that the reader truly becomes invested in the events happening in their lives. The third book continues on after the events of SNOWBLIND (book #1) with about a year or so between the books. This gap in time has allowed for several important personal life events to occur in the lives of Ari Thor and Tomas, one of which will be important to this storyline.

Aside from wonderfully written recurring characters, Jonasson always creates a new cast associated the with case at hand, who are easy to become invested in. They may not be exceedingly likeable characters that you want to hang out with in your real life, but they are definitely characters with many layers that you’ll want to peel away. For example, the journalist, Isrun, who is investigating the case in parallel to Ari Thor and Tomas ended up having so much more to her story than I ever anticipated. I don’t want to give away too many details because that would spoil the experience, but just know there is much more to Isrun than what lies on the surface.

I always feel that there’s something sinister on the prowl – something that keeps itself hidden when it’s light. But when the darkness falls…

And that’s when the word always comes to mind, “blackout”.

With every review I write about Jonasson’s work I find myself raving about how atmospheric his writing is and BLACKOUT is no different. The title stems from a volcano that has erupted in the neighboring town of Reykjavik causing massive amounts of volcanic ash to be in the air. Not only has this happened, but it’s also happened during a time when Iceland’s temperatures are at their peak and days are almost filled with 24 hours of daylight. The sky has completely darkened over, but the heat has not abided. Jonasson writes about the impact of the volcanic explosion and weather in a way that you can almost feel the ash getting caught in your throat and how miserable the people experiencing this must feel. The mood created by this atmospheric writing sets the stage for the desperation felt by those working to find Elias’ murderer.

BLACKOUT is a fantastic edition to Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series! The characters, the case, and the atmospheric writing all combine to make one exciting ride. Reader be warned: this is not a book you’re going to want to put down once you start!

Please note: This is part of a series and I do highly recommend reading the books in the order that they were published. If you’re interested in picking these up, start with SNOWBLIND.

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