Monday, 12 March 2018

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

Book Review

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson - Reading, Writing, Booking

"...the visions of the past haunting her, the fear of the future looming over her."

The Darkness will be released in the UK on 15th March 2018. It is written by Ragnar Jónasson and published by Michael Joseph.

I really wanted to like The Darkness, I've never read any Ragnar Jónasson before but have heard good things about the Dark Iceland series. So, when this popped up on NetGalley, part of the new Hidden Iceland series, I thought I'd give it a go.

Before Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik Police is forced into early retirement she is told to investigate a cold case of her choice, and she knows just the one. A young woman found dead on remote seaweed-covered rocks. A woman who was looking for asylum and found only a watery grave. Her death ruled a suicide after a cursory investigation. But Hulda soon realizes that there was something far darker to this case.
This was not the only young woman to disappear around that time. And no one is telling the whole story. When her own force tries to put the brakes on the investigation Hulda has just days to discover the truth. Even if it means risking her own life . . . Spanning the icy streets of Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands and cold, isolated fjords, The Darkness is an atmospheric thriller from one of the most exciting names in Nordic Noir.

Don't get me wrong, The Darkness is very atmospheric, very dark, but I didn't feel engaged. The investigation felt dragged out and there were no particular high points, not that I need a shock a minute, but one or two little ones would have helped. The shocks that were there I guessed.

It also didn't feel particularly realistic, while the setting is very real and gritty, the actual case seemed a bit unbelievable, with leads conjured out of no where and perfectly timed  revelations.

I did like the premise of the investigator Hulda, it was interesting to get the perspective of a female officer nearing retirement. She did have depth to her but sometimes Jónasson's writing was a little too obvious, a lot of telling, not showing. I also found a few elements of her character unrealistic. And occasionally, she was just too whiny and depressing.

I felt as I was reading, that there seemed to be a past that I was missing, especially in the relationships between Hulda and her colleagues. And actually, I've only just realised that The Darkness is part of a trilogy which is being published backwards. This revelation has made the book make a bit more sense to me, but I still wasn't enthralled by it.

I'd still like to try the Dark Iceland series as I've heard they are quite different to this one.

My Rating: 3 Stars

I received a copy of The Darkness, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

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