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The Darkness

(Hidden Iceland #1)

by
3.52  ·  Rating details ·  5,487 ratings  ·  978 reviews
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
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 15th 2018 by Michael Joseph (first published October 15th 2015)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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Maureen
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Iceland police, is 64 years old and soon to retire, but as far as her boss is concerned she may as well go now - he's got a much younger person lined up for her job, and he's male, which just about sums up Hulda's career - never 'one of the boys' quite literally, she's always been treated with derision by her colleagues. So she'll be overjoyed with the prospect of retirement won't she? No, not in the least, it's what gets her out of bed in the morn ...more
Paromjit
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Scand-Noir set in Iceland featuring widow and Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykajavik Police, 64 years old and approaching retirement with nothing in her life but her job. Her boss, Magnus, is insensitive when he informs her they have someone already lined up for her post, and she can retire at once. Feeling unappreciated and unwanted, Hulda insists on staying, and is told she can work a cold case for two weeks. A shell shocked Hulda knows which case she wants, a Russi ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in a new series, features Hulga, a police detective who at the age of sixty four, will within months be retiring. Yet, she is far from ready for retirement, the though of being alone with nothing to do fills her with dread. When her boss tells her he has already hired someone to take over her cases, that she should clean out her office and start her retirement early, she refuses. To pacify her he tells her to pick out a cold case and she can work on it for a few weeks. The case she cho ...more
Beata
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An OK read for me, quick and with a good mystery behind it but noting in the book I would rave about. I came to like Hulda, and may choose to read Book 2.
Paula
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scandi Nordic mystery / thriller fans
Recommended to Paula by: Paromjit
Hidden Iceland #1, The Darkness, is the 2nd series I have started reading by Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson. His other series, Dark Iceland, is also quite enjoyable. Both series take place in the stark, unforgiving environment of Iceland and are very entertaining for those that like dark thrillers.

The Darkness introduces Hulda Hermannsdottir, a Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik police. Hulda is 64 years old and due for retirement that she is not looking forward to this year. Her life is a
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Miriam Smith
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
"The Darkness" by Ragnar Jonasson is the first in the 'Hidden Iceland' series which sadly I found quite flat and with a rather bland and whingeing female protagonist, Hulda Hermannsdóttir.
Considering the author is an already an established best selling writer of the excellent "Dark Iceland" series featuring policeman Ari Thor, I thought that this was a very poor relation to them.
The story was generally uninspiring, although as the book went on I did get into it slightly more and I was curious e
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Sandy
I’m 3.5 stars

If you’ve read this author’s Dark Iceland series, take note. This has a decidedly darker, moodier tone with a completely different MC.

DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir has been dreading retirement but thought she had some time to get used to the idea. That changes when her boss announces he is replacing her with a shiny, young “high achiever”. In 2 weeks. She has a couple of choices. She can leave immediately or use her remaining time to take a fresh look at a cold case. The thought of endles
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Liz
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

What a fabulous start to a series. I had never read anything by Ragnar Jonasson before, so I loved the idea of reading the first book in a brand new series.

I was taken by Hulda from the first page. One of the first things we learn about her is she has her own sense of ethics. She’s a competent DI who has been continually passed over for promotion just because she’s an older woman. As one of the invisible masses of older women, I totally understood. She is literally given her walking papers mont
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Louise Wilson
At the age of sixty-four, Detective inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is about to take on her last case before she retires. A young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, found murdered on the seaweed rocks of the Vatnsleysustrand in Iceland. When Hulda starts to ask questions, it isn't long before she realises that no one can be trusted, and that no one is telling the whole truth.

By the end of this book I felt I had been and seen the Islandic landscape. I do prefer a book tha
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Tim
Apr 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Worst. Ending. Ever!
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 stars

I listened to this book as it was the Mystery Book Club choice at my library. I’m glad I read it, since I never would have picked it up on my own, but also I have some conflicted feelings on this book as a whole. I loved Hulda as a character, and she’s what drives the novel for sure. I was never super engaged by the mystery and kind of didn’t care about the whodunit, I liked Hulda’s process more instead. The ending was not to my tastes, and I can’t say anymore without spoilers, but it
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Tim
Mar 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst. Ending. Ever! 2 of 10 stars
Emma
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Simplistic and obvious, this is a disappointing offering from Jonasson. Soon to be retired police detective, Hulda, is being ousted early to make way for the young, male new blood in the department. This cold case is her last moment of investigative glory, except it doesn't quite work out for her, or for the reader. If this is the start of a new series, it's a really bad one: both the writing and the plot are flat, while the whiny main character is hardly the type you want to spend time with. I ...more
Ceecee
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable quick read and excellently translated too as the story flowed really well. The central character was DI Hulda Hermannsdottir who was 64 and being forced to retire before she wished to do so. She was reluctantly given two weeks on cold cases before packing up her belongings and leaving HQ and chose to investigate the supposed suicide of Elena, a Russian asylum seeker. The original case was mishandled in Hulda’s opinion (and if spellcheck changes that to Hilda one more time .... ...more
Margitte
Call it a revenge rating. I was never so magnificently angry with an ending than with this book. Excellent writing, gripping, Scandinavian noir. Alas, the first book in a series with a blunt cliffhanger ending. I will change my rating whenever I've read the second book - if ever.
Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley, all thoughts are my own!

T/W- Mentions of suicide, mentions of sexual abuse, corpses

The first book in a planned Nordic noir trilogy, The Darkness looked promising from the email I got sent promoting the novel. It follows a detective about to retire in Iceland and working on her final case: The unsolved murder of a young Russian girl, deemed first to be a suicide but now with suspicions of foul play. Hulda Hermannsdottir, the detective, f
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Liz Barnsley
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really really enjoyed this first book in a new series from Ragnar Jonasson, a tense mystery, the trademark chilly Iceland setting and a different way of doing things as the next two books will cover events from years earlier. So in a way The Darkness is an ending. A very good one!

Hulda was an intriguing character, I'm looking forward to reading about her younger years, I believe the cases we'll see in the future books may have been teased here - but The Darkness is complete in and of itself. Ye
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Kirsty ❤️
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this as it has a female lead detective but also because of her age. I've read a lot of crime but there are many crime authors I've still to read so I'm not aware of too many older female detectives (Vera Stanhope is one that springs to mind) and by older I mean 55+. The age and imminent retirement gave me a little something different to read than your standard thrillers. I was intrigued as this is Book 1 by how the series would continue after Hulda's retirement. Now having read th ...more
Janel
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surely, you’ve all read a book that gives you a taste of the end at the beginning, and experienced that need to know what happened – how did these events come to be? Well, image that happening with an entire series. Actually, you don’t even have to imagine because that’s exactly what Jónasson has done with his Hidden Iceland series – The Darkness is the first book in this Nordic noir series, featuring Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir, and the next books in this series will take place dec ...more
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Ragnar Jónasson’s writing, so when I heard we were finally going to meet Hulda Hermansdottir in The Darkness, I jumped at the chance to read it, and I was definitely not disappointed.

Hulda is a Detective in the Reykjavik Police, and at sixty-four, is almost ready to retire. When she takes on the last case of her career, Hulda finds out that all is not what it seems. The case, a cold case, involved a young woman seeking asylum from Russ
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Meags
4 Stars

The story follows 64 year old Icelandic detective inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir, as she works on one final case before being forced into an unwanted early retirement.

With restricted time left to work the case, and with limited assistance and cooperation from the “boys club” of detectives she’s surrounded by in her workplace, Hulda throws herself into solving a year old cold case involving a young dead Russian immigrant named Elena. Everyone believes Elena took her own life, but the more
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Sue
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This first book in a new series from Ragnar Jonasson features Huldu Hermansdottir, a police inspector nearing mandatory retirement, and resenting that fact. As the story opens, Huldu is presented with a new, unwelcome “gift” from her boss. She no longer has one more year of work. Her replacement is available now and will need her office very soon. She can begin her retirement early, with pay of course. For a woman whose refuge has been work, who dreads time alone, this amounts to a curse. So Hul ...more
Lisa
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
4.5 stars rounded up.

This is a book that sits within the detective fiction genre but it is far from typical and surprised me by how much I liked it.
I have not read many books set in Iceland so this was really interesting and the main character is a woman facing retirement which is also unusual.

Out of a fairly standard premise came an exceptional story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I've upped my rating as several days later I'm thinking about the strengths of this book and I'm eager to read more fro
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Zoe Mann
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Darkness' by Ragnar Jonasson is a heart racing, brain teasing, action packed thriller. With only 263 pages it is full of excitement and suspense. The length of the novel left me wanting but it was perfect in creating and completing such a dangerous and electrifying story.

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir is due to retire. With her replacement joining the force soon and her remaining cases in new hands she is told she can fill her last week by re-examining a cold case of her choice.
...more
Joanne Robertson
This book has just shot onto my top books of the year list and I’m now desperate to read the next two books in the series! Why oh why did I not learn Icelandic at school instead of French!!?? Then I would have been able to move onto the second book straight away! But alas I will just have to await the English translation, which was seamless here can I just add?!

I was a huge fan of the Dark Iceland series by Ragnar Jónasson, featuring his detective Ari Thor, so was delighted but slightly apprehen
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Zoe Mann
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Darkness' by Ragnar Jonasson is a heart racing, brain teasing, action packed thriller. With only 263 pages it is full of excitement and suspense. The length of the novel left me wanting but it was perfect in creating and completing such a dangerous and electrifying story.

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir is due to retire. With her replacement joining the force soon and her remaining cases in new hands she is told she can fill her last week by re-examining a cold case of her choice.
...more
Julie
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I was so excited to listen to Amanda Redman reading this mystery! I enjoy listening to her mellow voice with her many inflections. Redman is an actress I have a lot of respect for and love her portrayal of Doctor Lydia Fonseca in, "The Good Karma Hospital." I zipped right through this book as she reads at quite a clip. I became attached to the flawed Hulda and enjoyed the story and surprising ending. It kept my interest throughout. Learning about the landscape of Iceland was a bonus also.
Vivian
Didn't see that end coming.

I wanted to like this more than I did. There were elements that impressed me: 65 year-old female police inspector protagonist, Icelandic setting with all the starkness implied, and unexpected twists. So why doesn't this get a higher rating? Simply, the amount uncertainty in Hulda's internal dialogue was off-putting. Hulda Hermannsdottir has decades of experience and it felt like every step she took had an element of self-doubt.

The mystery took backseat to the inner ch
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Richard
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
A powerful crime mystery beautifully translated by the talented Victoria Cribb.
Ragnar Jónasson has turned a police procedural on its head by introducing us to Hulda Hermannsdóttir a strong female detective held back by her gender but no longer as she is due to retire.
Rather than jump as soon as her leaving is brought forward and offered without any loss of benefits. Ever the professional Hulda takes they last two weeks to look at a cold case.
The suicide of a young Russian asylum seeker does not
...more
Michelle Curie
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
The Darkness is a textbook crime novel, for better or worse. During the dark and cold months of Iceland, we meet Hulda Hermannsdóttir, a detective inspector who is about to take on her last case before retirement. A young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, found murdered on the shores. It doesn't take long for Hulda to realise that there is more to the cold case than meets the eye and that not everyone is telling the whole truth.



A Place Full of Bleakness

I have a personal fascination with Icel
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1,336 followers
Ragnar Jonasson is author of the award winning and international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Snowblind has been a paperback bestseller in France.

Nightblind won the Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Most
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Other books in the series

Hidden Iceland (3 books)
  • The Island
  • The Mist (Hidden Iceland #3)

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