Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
The book I’m featuring this week is Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson, one of my TBRs.
The red stain was like a scream in the silence.
Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.
These are the rules:
- Grab a book, any book.
- Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
- Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
- Post it.
- Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.
Ari Thor picked up the book he had bought, in spite of the promise he’d made to himself to save it until after dinner. He was eking out his small pleasures to keep the boredom at bay. Only a few pages into the book, he realised that he hadn’t taken anything in.
Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.
Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.
An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?
Nordic Noir – dark, chilling and utterly gripping
Penguin UK Michael Joseph|4 April 2019|313 pages|Review copy|5*
I was delighted to receive a review copy of The Island by Ragnar Jónasson from the publishers.
This is my first book by Ragnar Jónasson. I discovered after I’d read it that it’s the second in his Hidden Iceland series – but I had no difficulty reading it as a standalone novel. It begins with a Prologue that indicates that the main story has elements of horror as well as mystery. It’s unsettling and sinister.
Four friends visit the isolated island of Elliðaey off the coast of Iceland, ten years after the murder of a fifth friend, Katla, but only three of them return. One of them, Klara, fell to her death from a cliff – but did she jump or was she pushed? Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to investigate. She realises that there are similarities with the death of Katla. A suspect had been charged, but had committed suicide before the verdict was announced and the case had been closed. But are the two murders connected, even though they are ten years apart?
Hulda is an interesting character, with a back story that is only partly revealed in this book. Her name means ‘hidden woman‘. The first book in the series dealt with her later life, with this second book going back in time to her earlier life. In The Island she lives alone, her mother having recently died and there is a mystery about her father. She only knows that he was an American soldier and part of the novel records her search for him. It’s a police procedural, so Hulda’s somewhat fractious relationships with her colleagues also form part of the story.
The narrative also switches between the deaths of the two young women ten years apart, told from the various characters’ perspectives. They present an intricate mystery that Hulda gradually unravels, sifting through the lies that the suspects tell her. It’s not a fast-paced novel, but it is full of suspense and foreboding, set against the beautiful and dramatic Icelandic landscape. One by one I suspected each character, unsure who to believe. I loved it!
My thanks to the publishers, Penguin UK Michael Joseph for my review copy via NetGalley.