Review: “Whiteout” (Dark Iceland #5) by Ragnar Jonasson

The little girl stretched out her hands, and then everything happened so quickly that she had no chance to cry.

Whiteout, Prologue opening

Author: Ragnar Jónasson
Publication Date: September 15th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback
Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads

Synopsis

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.

Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers. 

From Goodreads

Review

A sequence of suspicious family deaths take place on a treacherous cliff overlooking the sea in a remote home over the span of 28 years. Asta, a beautiful young woman making a pilgrimage home after the death of her father, is back to resolve some unknown business. Unfortunately, her recent death ends the family line and any chance of easily uncovering her purpose. Ari and Tómas are called in to confirm the apparent suicide, but when they arrive the pair find circumstances may not be all they seem. Our favorite detectives set out to further investigate and give voice to the victim. Ari and Tómas are pressed to close this case and get back to their families before Christmas but those chances grow slimmer by the moment. A knot of long held secrets loosens itself gradually at first then rapidly unravels, culminating in a stark scene hearing stirring confessions in the brisk night air outside a church on Christmas Eve as the choir sings inside. The book concludes on a personal note with Ari’s blooming future abutting his past, setting an ominous tone for book six.

Ragnar’s writing hits a fantastic crescendo at the reveal of this book with a poetic scene far beyond previous books in quality and craftsmanship in my opinion. I enjoyed this book most of the series thus far. The classic isolated murder mystery was well executed and the chill in the weather offset by the warmth of Ari and Tómas’s friendship. In this book we see Ari’s life change drastically towards the end, closing the gap before Nightblind but opening fresh wounds for the next book to prod.

I’d widely recommend this book broadly and freely as I have others in the Ari Thór Dark Iceland series. With the release of Winterkill (#6) it’s never too late to start!

TW: terminal illness, suicide, adultery, sexual assault

Cover background photo by Patrick Wittke on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Review: “Whiteout” (Dark Iceland #5) by Ragnar Jonasson

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