Author: Ragnar Jónasson, translated by Victoria Cribb
Publication Date: April 30th 2020
Genre: Crime Thriller, Nordic Noir / Scandinavian Lit
Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads
1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.
The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.
The couple should never have let him in. But they did.
An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever.From Goodreads
TLDR; an entertaining dark and snowy Icelandic thriller where three tragic stories intertwine
This Icelandic thriller was the perfect thing to cozy up and read on freshly chill nights with the windows cracked open. Scenic remote farmland coated in a thick blanket of snow is the tranquil setting that muffles the terrible events which take place there. Out of reach from most visitors during wintery months a couple lives peacefully, one of them quietly discontent but making due for the sake of the relationship. On the days leading up to Christmas they receive an unexpected visitor that sets their entire world off kilter. We dip back and forth between their story and that of the detective investigating their case, who has a tragic backstory all her own.
Perhaps one of the most tragic parts of the story is that the farmhouse is so remote they’re complete cut off from the nearest village during the winter months. The wife must make due with her special arrangement of 15 books with extended checkout duration from the local library, but often finishes them too soon and is stuck re-reading. 😥 Ouch my poor bibliophile heart.
Jokes aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book but found the twists to be a mixed bag. I foresaw the devastating punchline on the detective’s side within the second chapter on her story, but the large twist at the end of the book caught me by surprise. It was well worth the read. At the resolution the final wrap up is appropriately foreboding and puts a dark satisfying bow on the stories. I’d highly recommend this one and have already gone to pick up some of Ragnar Jónasson‘s other books. However when I next re-read this (which I definitely anticipate doing) or when you pick this up, I’d recommend reading it closer to Christmas given that’s when it takes place.
See below for trigger warnings, mildly spoiler.
TW – abuse, murder, mental health
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