by Ragnar Jonasson
Publication Date : November 1, 2017
Pages : 224
Synopsis from Publisher:
Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik.
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 Thor 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.
I am not only a lover of crime fiction books but I also love true crime Podcasts. One of my favorite Podcasts is Criminal, hosted by Phoebe Judge. On a recent episode, Judge interviewed long time crime fiction reviewer Marilyn Stasio. Since 1988 Stasio has reviewed crime fiction books for the New York Times. During the interview, Stasio commented on the changes she has noticed in crime fiction books. The main change being they are much longer than they used to be. Although I enjoy a longer book, I also see the merits of a shorter story.
After listening to this Podcast episode I immediately thought of Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series. All the books in this series are under 250 pages. They focus primarily on the crime rather than character development. Depending on a reader’s preference, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me I love character development but sometimes I am in the mood for a good old fashioned “whodunit”, which I consistently find in the Dark Iceland series.
In Whiteout we catch up with Ari Thor in the middle of the Christmas season. His former boss, Tomas has requested his assistance with an incident in the small village of Kalfshamarvik. A young woman has been found dead under questionable circumstances. Upon their arrival they begin to uncover dark secrets and a family shadowed in tragedy. Ari Thor must sort through these secrets in order to discover the truth of the young woman’s death.
In almost every review written about the Dark Iceland series the word atmospheric is used. I completely agree and Whiteout is no exception. As usual the weather is a main component of the story, Ari Thor must battle the snow and ice in his search for truth. He must also deal with the delays that accompany the holiday season. Jonasson’s description of the weather creates a dark and eerie atmosphere that is a signature piece of Nordic Noir that I love.
The plot of this story was delightful and reminded me of a classic Agatha Christie novel. An isolated location where the number of suspects is limited, leaving the reader in the dark as to who committed the murder until the very end. The story was full of twists, turns, and false leads. I had fun including and ruling out suspects; having doubts about my choices throughout the entire story.
Whiteout is an intriguing, layered story of a family with secrets that will not stay buried. This story has a sense of urgency which made it energetic and compelling. I raced along with Ari Thor to solve the mystery. If you are in the mood for a dark, eerie, classic crime fiction read, you should add Whiteout to your must read list.
***Thanks to Orenda Books for my review copy***
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars