Tuesday 15 December 2020

Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson BLOG TOUR @ragnarjo Translated by David Warriner @givemeawave @OrendaBooks #DarkIceland #Winterkill


A blizzard is approaching Siglufjörður, and that can only mean one thing…

When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.

Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill is a startling addition to the multi-million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jónasson as one of the most exciting and acclaimed authors in crime fiction.

Winterkill by Ragnar Jónasson was published by Orenda Books on 10 December 2020 and is the sixth and final instalment in the amazing Dark Iceland series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour.

Winterkill is a welcome return for readers who have followed Ari Thór and his career as a police officer in the small Icelandic town of Siglufjörður. It's also tinged with a little sadness as this is the final instalment in the Dark Iceland series. No more Ari Thór for us! Whilst this is the end of a series, it's perfectly easy to read it as a stand alone story, although I would urge anyone who has yet to discover these books to go back and read the entire series. You will not be disappointed.

Things have moved on for both Ari Thór and the little town of Siglufjörður. He is now an inspector and whilst his career may be moving forward, his personal life is decidedly stagnating. His wife and small son have moved away to Sweden, and this hurts him. However, he's looking forward to spending time with the little boy over the Easter holiday. Siglufjörður used to be a quiet, sleepy town, but is gradually waking up, becoming busier and easier to access, and often filled with tourists who flock to the town to ski.

When the body of a teenage girl is found lying on a pavement, in an area that she has no connection to, it is immediately assumed that it is a case of suicide. However, the girl's mother is adamant that her daughter was a happy, content teenager who had showed no signs of being upset, or afraid. As Ari Thór digs a little deeper into her background, he too begins to suspect that this tragic death may not be quite a straightforward as he first thought.

Jónasson weaves a fine tale of mystery and suspense alongside stunning description of the area, including the small community feelings, and the desolate and bitterly cold landscape. The sense of place is outstanding, and whilst the mystery is well structured and moves along at a steady pace, it really is the bleak Icelandic weather that steals the show. 

Ari Thór is a complex man; a character who has grown throughout this series and who often comes across just as cold as his surroundings. However, this clever author gives his readers a glimpse into Ari Thór's innermost feelings, allowing us to learn more about the man, rather than the police officer. His turbulent childhood, along with his failed relationships give him a humanity that readers can empathise with and make us want to cheer him on as he deals with both his professional and personal problems. 

Winterkill is a high quality crime novel from one of the best Scandi Noir authors writing today. It is beautifully and elegantly written. A fine end to a wonderful series, and wonderfully translated from the French by David Warriner.

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as 
a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavík 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 fourteen 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 Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the International crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. 
Ragnar’s debut thriller, Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015n with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout, Rupture and Whiteout following soon after. 
To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner. 
He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.

David Warner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British
crime fiction. 
Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. 
Emerging from Oxford with a Modern Languages degree he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. 
More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand to the delicate art of literary translation. 
David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.
Follow David on Twitter @givemeawave and on his website wtranslation.ca

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