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Snowblind    by Ragnar Jonasson order for
by Ragnar Jonasson
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a new Icelandic thriller writer, Ragnar Jonasson, introducing an unusual young rookie police officer in Snowblind. A recent police college graduate who had previously studied theology, Ari Thor Arason is offered a job in the remote fishing village of Siglufjordur in northern Iceland. It's often cut off completely, when the tunnel road to it through the mountainside is blocked. Ari Thor's girlfriend Kristin, a medical student in Reykjavik, is very unhappy with his decision to take the job in late 2008.

Like most fictional detective heroes, Ari Thor wrestles with his own demons - when he was thirteen his mother died and his father disappeared, leaving him haunted and rootless. In Siglufjordur, he will soon meet Ugla, who moved there after the death of her childhood friend and lover Agust. She has rented a flat from famed writer Hrolfur Kristjansson, has coffee with him on a regular basis, and teaches piano to locals - and Ari Thor. Hrolfur encourages Ugla to join the town's Dramatic Society and she 'could hardly believe how easy it was to lose herself on stage.'

On Christmas Eve, Ari Thor receives a call from a woman, saying 'I think he's going to hurt me', but she hangs up before he can identify her location. His boss labels it a prank but it haunts Ari Thor. Then, in January, Hrolfur is found dead in the theatre lobby - did he fall down the stairs or was he pushed? Ari Thor suspects the latter, despite his boss's conclusion of accidental death. He investigates and gets himself into trouble. This death is followed by the discovery of a topless woman bleeding in the snow - she's rushed to hospital but her survival seems unlikely.

The rather convoluted investigation that follows uncovers many old village secrets that had simmered for a long time before they boiled over into murder. And, though he makes mistakes, Ari Thor has good investigative instincts and succeeds in proving himself.

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