‘Haunting, frightening and complex. A dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.’
Rupture is the latest in the Dark Iceland Series from crime writer Ragnar Jónasson. Published by Orenda Books and excellently translated by Quentin Bates, I danced a little jig when it arrived in my post box.
Rupture is rightfully categorized under the genre of Nordic Noir. There is a uniqueness to this style of writing, none of which is lost in the translation.
Read on for my full thoughts…
1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…
In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinsister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.
Ari Thor Arason, local Siglufjordur police officer, has a problem. The town is under quarantine, due to a possibly contagious haemorrhagic fever that arrived with a traveler to the area. Ari & his colleagues are restricted in their movements within the town, as are all the residents, in the hope of containing the spread of the infection.
Straight away, as a reader, you are brought into a world of bleakness and isolation, against the backdrop of the high dark mountains and surrounding snow and ice.
Ari Thor is approached by a local resident interested in unearthing a cold case involving his relatives that reaches back to 1955, to the very lonely and deserted fjord of Hedonsfjordur. As Ari focuses on unearthing the truth, he reconnects with Isrún, a reporter in Reykjavik.
Isrún is involved in solving a particularly brutal case that has raised it’s ugly head in Reykjavik, a case that has huge political implications for many. Isrún, sensitive to the nature of the case, does her best to work within fair parameters, but when a child is kidnapped, Isrún looks into every channel available to her, unearthing past histories and connections that may assist in solving this mystery.
In parallel to the case solving, Ragnar Jónasson, brings the reader into the personal lives of all his main characters, We are taken behind the scenes of the story, where the reasons and actions, both past and present, are portrayed in a very gentle style. All have secrets, all have pasts and all wish to move forward with their lives in the best way possible.
Up to this point, I had not read any novel in the Dark Iceland series.
The genre Noir has always intrigued me, exposing me to a whole new world of writers that have a uniqueness in their perspective and technique.
Ragnar Jónasson’s writing, while rooted in crime fiction, is distinctly descriptive in every thought and image visualized by the characters.
Ari Thor is the Nordic Poirot.
As the story comes to a close, Ari ties up all the ends in an orderly fashion with a logical reasoning and methodology in every statement (a twirling mustache comes to mind!!!!)
Quentin Bates’ translation of these works by Ragnar Jónasson exposes Nordic Noir to a new audience, exploring a cold, dark, bleak almost intangible part of the world for many readers.
This is more that just crime fiction.
The pace of the story is neither fast nor particularly gritty, yet as a reader you find yourself sucked in as you turn the pages and wrap yourself up warm in a furry blanket to prevent the chill off the fjords getting into your bones.
I suspect it would be wise to read all three previous novels in the series but as a standalone novel Rupture works.
If you haven’t yet…go on….lose yourself in the pages of Ragnar Jónasson…I very much doubt you will regret it!!
Purchase Link : Rupture
Meet the Author:
Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavik in 1976, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavik University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavik, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir, selected by the Guardian as one of the ‘best crime-writing festivals around the world’. Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, and he is currently working on his sixth. He lives in Reykjavik with his wife and two daughters.