Book Review: The Island

THE ISLAND | Ragnar Jonasson
(Hidden Iceland #2)
05.21.2019 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 5/5 stars


Ten years ago a young woman was murdered in her family’s summer house in the Westfjords. The detective working the case was adamant that the father was her killer, as there were seemingly no other suspects. The father was found guilty and for years the family has mourned the loss of the daughter, as well as the father.

Off the coast of Iceland is an isolated island called Ellidaey. A group of friends have gone there for a reunion. When they wake one morning they realize that one of them has disappeared. Detective Hulda is assigned the case and immediately feels that there is a connection between the events of ten years ago. Is there a killer stalking individuals in desolate areas?


THE ISLAND is Ragnar Jonasson’s second installment in his Hidden Island series. The story has shifted back in time from the conclusion of the first book, THE DARKNESS. Whereas, in book one we met Detective Hulda as the end of her police career, we are now with her in the earlier years in book two. I was very curious after the way things ended in THE DARKNESS how Jonasson would carry on the series. I was definitely not disappointed!

This story launches in 1987 with part one focusing on the murder of a young woman. She was found in a secluded summer house and her father was found guilty of the crime. Immediately Jonasson swept me away to this eerie, desolate location with his atmospheric writing. I was entranced by the crime and those involved. When the book launches ten years into the future with part two I felt like I wasn’t ready to leave 1987, but was once again drawn in to the new scenarios. This time around we are heading to a new isolated location where an equally intriguing and puzzling crime occurs.


The atmospheric quality of Ragnar Jonassson’s writing never fails to amaze me. He has an unbelievable way of making the reader feel isolation in this story, which heightens the reader’s interest in the crimes, as well as the characters. There is also a sense of urgency that comes about from the use of claustrophobic locations. In order to escape the creepiness that they hold, the reader must continue to read. Before you know it you’ve binged several chapters and never want to put this book down!

Central to the success of story in THE ISLAND are the characters that Jonasson has included. The group of friends that choose to travel to the island of Ellidaey together are clearly all hiding something. Jonassson includes chapters into each of their viewpoints, which honestly only escalated my suspicions for either them or on of the other friends. Stealing the award for best character is Detective Hulda. There is just something so genuine about her. From her personal struggles, to her investigating style, to her outlook on life. She simply draws you as an instant fan!

Ragnar Jonasson’s Hidden Iceland series is one that I would recommend to any long-time fan of Nordic Noir, as well as someone newer to the subgenre. These books should be read in order for plot continuity.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

Disclosure: Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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