Friday 16 September 2016

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson #BlogTour @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks

On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. 
As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance. 
Ari Thor Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjordur struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. 
What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies... Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland s finest crime writers.

I'm really pleased to welcome you to my spot on the Blog Tour for Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson, published by Orenda Books on 15 July 2016.  Blackout is the third in the Dark Iceland series. The first, Snowblind was published in April 2015, followed by Nightblind in December 2015 - all published here in the UK by Orenda Books.

I was completely won over by Ragnar Jonasson's writing when I read Nightblind last year, and Blackout is another quite fantastic read, once again it's been very ably translated by Quentin Bates.

Ragnar Jonasson doesn't write long novels, at just under 250 pages, this is fairly short for a crime
story, but it is another absolute stunner. The author doesn't waste one single word, from page one, right through to the very end,

Whilst Blackout is the third in the Dark Iceland series, it is set between the happenings of Snowblind and Nightblind and once again, Ari Thor Arason takes centre stage in the twists and turns of this complex but so gracefully plotted story of murder and intrigue. The two strands of the story; the police investigation, and that of the young reporter Isrun who is determined to uncover the secrets that her grandmother took to her grave are tightly and elegantly woven together to create a seamless story that paves the way for the very satisfying ending.

The darkness of the various themes and issues that are tackled in Blackout are enhanced by the atmospheric portrayal of the small town of Siglufjordur. The story takes place during the summer of 2010 when the island was consumed by volcanic ash, thus making the usual long sunny days turn into dark, murky days, that add to the tension and general fabric of the story.

As always, Ragnar Jonasson excels in his characterisation, and even though Blackout is a short novel, his characters are fully formed, with entire back stories and insights into their lives and histories. For me, the characters and the setting are the stand-out brilliance in the writing. The plot is excellent, it's classic crime, with a twist, but the characters and Iceland itself are the stars of the show.

An excellent crime story. I'm so looking forward to number four in the series.

My thanks to the publisher Orenda Books who sent my copy of Blackout for review.

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
Visit his website at
Follow him on Twitter @ragnarjo

Quentin Bates was born in England and through a series of conincidences found himself working in Iceland for his gap year. One year turned into ten, plus a wife and children. After ten years writing on the sea and a move back to the UK, Quentin took to dry land and began work as a nautical journalist and editor of a commercial fishing magazine.
He divides his time between Iceland and England.
The Gunnhildur Gisladottir series was born through the author's own inside knowledge of Iceland, and its society, along with exploring the world of crime.

Find out more about the author and his writing at
Follow him on Twitter @graskeggur


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