As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Wednesday, 23 November 2016
‘Blackout’ by Ragnar Jonasson
Translated by Quentin
Published by Orenda Books, 30 August 2016. ISBN:
It is present day Iceland and an American tourist by
the name of Even Fein finds a dead body near a summer house being constructed
not far from Skagafjorour Northern Iceland.
When policeman Ari Thor gets to
work that day his colleague Tomas tells him of the murder. It is a man called
Elias Freyson a building contractor working on a new tunnel in the area and
also building the summer house for a Rikhardur Lindgren, who has a murky past
as a drunken doctor.
The more enquiries they make the
more they find that Elias was up to no good. Can he have upset someone in his
dodgy dealings or was it a case of mistaken identity and Rikhardur had actually
been the intended target?
At the same police station Hlymer
is not himself, he has been receiving threatening emails seemingly from someone
he used to bully at school and whom he knows to have died. This affects his
work as he tries to identify whoever is sending them.
Meanwhile Isrun a young
television reporter suspects a good story when she hears of the murder and
travels up from Reykjavik, partly to get away from the awful effects of the
recent eruption of a volcano which has left a thick cloud of ash over the city
transforming it into permanent darkness. She makes her own enquiries and
uncovers some surprising facts unknown to the police, leading to what she hopes
is the scoop of the year.
Running through the book is also
the story of the personal problems of each of the police officers and Isrun and
makes for extra tension throughout, leading to sometimes tragic developments. The
police eventually get a confession and it is from a completely unexpected
This was a good book and well
written. I had a struggle with the many unfamiliar Icelandic names of people
and places but once I got around that I enjoyed it very much. It is full of
twists and turns and many surprising developments. Also running throughout the
story is the threat of the ash cloud drifting further north to Skagafjorour and
Siglufjorour where all the action takes place, and it could even trigger the
eruption of another volcano closer to the towns. It all adds to the tension,
very atmospheric. Most enjoyable and recommended.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell
was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1976 and works as a lawyer. He also teaches
copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and
television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National
Broadcasting Service. Before becoming a writer, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha
Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had short stories published in
international literary magazines. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers'
Association (CWA) and recently set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA, in
Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime
writing festival Iceland Noir (www.icelandnoir.com), which was selected by the
Guardian as one of the 'best crime-writing festivals around the world'. Ragnar
has appeared on panels at festivals worldwide, and he lives in Reykjavik with
his wife and daughter.
Quentin Batesis an English novelist of
mystery/crime fiction novels. Quentin found himself working in Iceland
for a year, which turned into a decade, and has used some of that experience as
well as a university writing course to develop his Gunnhildur series. Although
he is British, Quentin is more in line with Scandinavian crime fiction authors.
Quentin is also a full-time journalist and feature writer for an obscure
nautical trade magazine.
I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I
play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love
is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for
plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots
of great new authors.