Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.
Snow Blind was amongst my top ten books from 2015 so I was pleased that Night Blind was published just as I finished it.
It is set roughly five years later, with three books covering the period between the two still to be published. This did feel slightly unusual but both books could easily be read as a standalone or out of sequence.
Ari Thór is back in a relationship with Kristen and they now have a young son. I struggled to like her, and at times I thought that Ari felt the same. What he did love was being part of a family which is something that he had missed out on.
The claustrophobic atmosphere was still there but not as much, the little town wasn’t as cut off from the rest of the country as it was when Ari first moved there. Even though he had now lived there for five years he was still considered to be an outsider. He found it difficult to accept that everybody knew him and his family but he didn’t know them. I found this quite amusing and could imagine it being very accurate. It also made me smile how offended Tomas was when he noticed that changes had been made to his old home.
It felt like a fairly ‘quiet’ read for most of it.Much of the novel focuses on the investigation into the policeman’s murder but there were also some sinister diary excerpts from the 1980s. You aren’t told who the diary belongs to and I couldn’t work it. I was then taken completely by surprise by a couple of very convincing violent scenes, one in particular left me feeling a little bit tense.
I now have my second signed Ragnar Jónasson novel, but thanks to Karen Sullivan for providing a proof copy for review.
See below for details regarding the blog tour.
A great debut novel by Holly Seddon, Try Not To Breathe is an excellent read that you will not want to put down.
Alex is a freelance journalist whose life is a wreck. Her marriage had collapsed due to her alcoholism and both have a major influence on her life. The alcohol controls her whole life, she only works certain hours then she can be back home with nothing to disturb the drinking. Amy is the same age and from the same area but her life could not be more different. She was attacked fifteen years earlier and has been in a comatose state since.
Alex is trying to write her come back article in which she is looking at comatose patients and how they might be more responsive than people think and Amy is the patient on who she focuses.She starts to visit her, plays music that she knows she likes and tries to get some answers on who attacked her.
I really liked Alex, she knew she had to get her life back on track and was trying her hardest to prove to herself and people around her that she would succeed. The addiction was fascinating, I’ve never read a book where it showed how controlling it could be. How she accepted the consequences that the addiction was having on her health.
The narrative switches between the characters and time since the attack. Amy’s narrative was quite eerie, it showed that she was aware that her life was different, she knew who attacked her but she didn’t know why she had no contact with most people she knew or how life had moved on.
It didn’t go the way I thought it would, there were a few surprises during the read and I think I suspected most people who were in the book.
This was a really addictive read, yet another that is likened to Girl on a Train (I really wish they wouldn’t do this). I found it nothing like, but it is a very strong novel and will probably be a huge success.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy received.
My top eleven books of the year are listed below. It should have been ten but the last book I read had to be added and I didn’t want to remove one. They are in no particular order.
Lost Girls by Angela Marsons
The Hummingbird by Kati Hiekkapelto
How To Be Brave by Louise Beech
The Lost by Claire Mcgowan
In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Normal by Graeme Cameron
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt
Shtum by Jem Lester
Snow Blind by Ragnar Jónasson
Ari Thór Arason is a new police recruit who has just got his first position within the police in a village called Siglufjördur in Northern Iceland. He moves there, leaving behind his girlfriend Kristín. He feels lonely, both parents are dead and he misses his girlfriend. He isn’t sure if their relationship will survive him being away from Reykjavik.
He accepts the nickname of the Reverend in good faith when he realises it is public knowledge that he studied theology before going into the police force. But despite the affectionate term he feels very much an outsider especially when the two cases that they have to investigate have taken place in a village where everybody knows each other and everybody insists that there are no secrets. But Ari refuses to accept what he is told and continues to dig into the past.
It’s very claustrophobic. I can’t really imagine how I would feel to be trapped in a town by bad weather. Where the only way in and out is through a tunnel and an avalanche has made inaccessible. A feeling that must be so much worse when you don’t know anybody and don’t know who to trust.
I loved the way Ari would think of something or ask a question and you didn’t find out straight away what he discovered. Just a little enticement to read a little bit more. And I loved to read about the Icelandic tradition regarding books at Christmas. It sounds wonderful. It is beautifully written (and translated by Quentin Bates) and I’m looking forward to reading the second book Night Blind very soon.
My copy is a limited edition signed hardback (no 134). It will be treasured.
Follow Me is a crime novel that focuses on social media and how influential it has become but also a reminder of how dangerous it can be if you interact with the wrong person.
At times I found it bizarre, I do use social media but not to the extent that Freddie did. I wasn’t that sure what some of it was, there is a lot more about than just Facebook and Twitter. But I did know a lot more about it than the police that had to find the murderer. I found it a bit unbelievable that the police were so inept, the only one who showed any capabilities was Nas and she was guided a lot by Freddie.
I have seen a few reviews where the reader had failed to connect with Freddie but I quite liked her. She had a tough childhood and something happened with her and Nas when they were teenagers that she still felt bad about years later. You do find out what this was towards the end of the book. She was trying to get a paid job in journalism with little success and was working in a coffee shop doing a job that she hated.
If you like your crime fiction to be the usual police procedural then this novel probably wouldn’t be for you. But if you fancy something a little different, amusing but still gritty then give it a try.