Siglufjordur: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.
Ari Thor 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 Thor 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 dares 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.
Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson is published this month, in paperback by Orenda Books and is the second novel in the Dark Iceland series. The first instalment in the series about Ari Thor, Snowblind was published in paperback in June last year.
Both Snowblind and Nightblind are translated from Icelandic by Quentin Bates.
There is something very special about Ragnar Jonasson's writing, his words are beautifully put together, his plot is clever and tight and compels from the first page. Quentin Bates has masterfully translated this story from the Icelandic and between them they have delivered a mystery story that chills the spine, and baffles the reader in its complexity.
The opening chapter sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the story. A Police Inspector in a small, quiet village in northern Iceland is investigating an old derelict house when he is brutally shot. The village of Siglufjordur is rocked by this event, in fact the tremors are felt throughout the whole country. Things like this do not happen here.
Ari Thor, the other local policeman should have been on duty that night, but was home in bed with flu. He is put in charge of the investigation, and whilst he too is shocked by the events, he can't helping thinking that this could be his chance for promotion, and also that he could have been the victim.
Nightblind is a short novel at just over 200 pages, yet it is packed to the brim with engaging characters. This is a story that is driven by many many pasts. Each of the characters, from lead man Ari Thor, to the elderly lady living in the village has their own story, and those stories shape this novel. The dark secrets kept by the characters reach out and touch each other, and the reader, and create a depth to this crime novel that enhances the main plot line so very well.
Ragnar Jonasson describe the landscape, with the biting winds and bitter chills beautifully. The cold seems to seep through each line of the story, bringing this almost always dark village to life so very well.
Nightblind is a very impressive crime novel. The twists and the turns, the slowly revealed secrets, the interwoven mystery diary; all of these combine together seamlessly and will delight and thrill any fan of crime fiction.
My thanks to Karen from Orenda Books who sent my copy for review. I also have a beautiful limited edition signed copy from Goldsboro Books. Nightblind was Book of the Month at Goldsboro.
Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jonasson was born in Reykjavik, 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 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 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 Jonasson 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. Ragnar's debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015, and rights have since been sold worldwide. Blackout will be published by Orenda Books in 2016.
Visit him at www.ragnarjonasson.com or on Twitter @ragnarjo
Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England.
He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident.
He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude and Cold Comfort), which have been published world-wide.
He's currently working on translating the next title in Ragnar Jonasson's Dark Iceland series: Blackout.
Visit him at www.graskeggur.com or on Twitter @graskeggur