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.
What I Thought:
For someone who counts themselves as a crime fan, I’ve – surprisingly – not read a scandinavian crime novel until now, and I’m delighted to say that after reading White Out I will definitely be choosing more.
I feel slightly at a disadvantage having started the Dark Iceland series with book five, but this is more my problem than the novel’s, as it does not rely too heavily on what has gone before – just a few quick references – and has its own tense and twisty storyline.
The setting of the book in a rural, barely-populated village at a time of year when people are trying to wind down for the Christmas holidays gives the book a claustrophobic feel and a limited pool of suspects, but Ragnar Jónasson is a master of misdirection, pointing the finger at all those who knew the dead girl and keeping us guessing until the final few pages.
In the age of CSI, it’s refreshing to read a novel where the skills of the personnel are valued more highly than DNA and fingerprints alone, and Ari Thór Arason’s instincts are definitely on show in this book – even if they are at odds with his superiors. Even without reading any other Dark Iceland books, I can sense that this is a theme!
I try and read a good selection of translated works, so I always try and credit the translator in my reviews as a great novel can be made or broken in translation. In this case, it is excellently and seemlessly translated by Quentin Bates.
Shortly after receiving this book for review, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Nightblind and I’m hoping to take a leaf out of Ari Thór Arason’s and make that book a part of my Christmas reading.
This post is part of an EPIC blog tour to support the release of Whiteout – do check out some of the other fantastic blogs involved by searching the #Whiteout hashtag.
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.