Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors–accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.
Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik–with a past that he’s unable to leave behind.
When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.
Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness–blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose.
Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent.
Ari Thor accepts his first job with a police force in a remote Iceland town leaving behind the big city and his girlfriend, Kristin. Almost immediately he second guesses his decision to relocate as Siglufjörður is a small town and he is made to feel like an outsider. As a rookie officer and the new face in town, he has many obstacles to overcome and when one resident dies and another is found badly injured he begins to realize that though the residents seem to know everything about each other, there are still many secrets being kept.
I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more poetically written crime novel before. The descriptive prose Jonasson uses is gorgeous and even the actual crime scenes themselves are oddly beautiful sounding. There is a mature elegance to his writing style that really captivates the reader and makes you appreciate the rather slow pacing of the book. Even though things start off slow, by the latter half of the book it amps up and provides some fulfilling plot turns.
I can’t review Snowblind without discussing the stunning atmosphere of Iceland. Jonasson’s imagery is just beautiful and the atmosphere plays such a large role here. Set in the winter months during very heavy snowfall, there is a constant sense of claustrophobia that affects not only the reader, but protagonist Ari Thor as well. You can absolutely feel the bone numbing chill in the air and the oppressive sense of dread it conjures. As the snow continues to pile up and the case unfolds I found myself feeling slightly suffocated and anxious for the season to change.
This is not a fast paced, edge of your seat thriller but rather a classic murder mystery. It’s perfect for people that want a true, old school mystery with very little gory details and more focus on the characters and setting. But make no mistake, even if it doesn’t follow the newer trend of frantic pacing and twist after turn it still very much delivers on all levels and packs a powerful punch in the end.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Minotaur Books for my review copy.