If you enjoy books, and you enjoy crime, and you’re on Twitter, and you follow people who also enjoy books/crime, you’ll have heard of Snowblind. In fact, if you’re part of that group, you’ll know that really, I was pretty bloody late to the Snowblind game! I met Ragnar earlier this year at CrimeFest, and slightly fell in love with him; the turning point was when he assured me that he had never hunted puffins (my spirit animal). The lovely Karen took pity on my girlish gigglings, and gave me a copy. It made it onto my South of France holiday reading list – so yes, this is a very late review!
Ari Thor Arason is a rookie cop, who’s sent to the quiet and idyllic fishing village of Siglufjorour, where the top crime he might come across is speeding. He leaves behind his girlfriend and a troubled past. Although nothing ever happens, Ari Thor is feeling claustrophobic in such a tiny village where everyone knows each other, yet no one seems to trust him.
And shortly afterwards, an elderly and well-known writer falls to his death. Was it an accident, or was did someone resent his over-interference in the local amateur dramatics production? Ari Thor would like to look into it further, but is quickly slapped down by his superiors. And then shortly after, when a local woman is found unconscious and bleeding in the snow, it becomes clear there’s more to this story.
What I loved so much about Snowblind is the way it so effortlessly merges Agatha Christie-style ‘Golden Age’ mysteries with a dazzlingly dark Scandinavia-noir feel. There’s the ‘closed room’ feel to it, as we’re introduced to a variety of characters, all of whom have something to hide. Each one of them is well-drawn, utterly convincing, and totally suspicious. Given that Ragnar Jonasson has translated a number of Agatha Christie novels, this exquisite attention to detail is not surprising.
Chilling, subtle, beautifully written, and convincingly claustrophobic, Snowblind is a crime thriller not to be missed, which delivers a couple of extraordinary twists.
Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson is out now, published by Orenda Books