Paromjit's Reviews > The Darkness

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
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really liked it
bookshelves: crime-fiction, mystery, netgalley

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 Russian asylum seeker, Elena, was found dead at a cove just over a year ago. An incompetent colleague, Alexander, barely investigated, ruling Elena's death a suicide. Hulda considers getting closer to Petar, a retired doctor, to ease her loneliness, she literally has no-one, not even a friend. She loved her husband, Jon, but knows she does not have it in her to love anyone else as she loved him. Jonasson gives us a multi-layered story of darkness everywhere, in the geography and financial crash of Iceland, the glimpse of her childhood and the future that Hulda faces, and the case of Elena and what turns out to be the disappearance of another Russian woman, Katja.

The story takes Hulda, a woman who has been overlooked and experienced difficulty working with and gelling with her police colleagues, and gives us her introspective view of her life and the world. She is hugely claustrophobic, affected by dark enclosed spaces after her grandmother used to lock her up as a child. The only bright spot is that she begins to finds some comfort in her developing relationship with Petar and the promise that it holds. However, the case is difficult and complex, and Hulda inadvertantly wrecks an covert police operation involving a people and sex trafficker which brings the wrath of Magnus on her head. This is compounded by Hulda's actions with a hit and run driver who targets a paedophile. Hulda's life begins to spiral out of control when a confident and skilled murderer awakens and begins to feel that Hulda is getting too close to the truth.

Jonasson writes a crime story with strong psychological elements and twists. He gives us several threads, the Elena investigation, a mother experiencing severe obstacles in bringing up an illegitimate child after a one night stand with an American, and a woman who feels pushed into going out with a man on an dangerous outdoor adventure in the barren and dangerous Icelandic landscape, feeling completely out of her comfort zone. There are instances where the reader is made to feel that Hulda is an unreliable narrator, and we learn that her marriage is not what we are led to believe, holding its own darkness. All in all, this is a great and entertaining read, it was not what I expected it to be and the ending comes out of the blue. A dark tale for those who enjoy reading Scandinavian Crime. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
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Reading Progress

March 4, 2018 – Started Reading
March 4, 2018 – Shelved
March 4, 2018 – Shelved as: crime-fiction
March 4, 2018 – Shelved as: mystery
March 4, 2018 – Shelved as: netgalley
March 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

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message 1: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great review!!


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Terrific review, Paromjit!


message 3: by Supratim (new)

Supratim Wonderful review, Paromjit!


Maureen Terrific review Paromjit😄


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Sounds good Paromjit!


Paula Kalin Wonderful review, Paromjit! I read the first in the author’s Dark Iceland series and loved it. Will have to start this series as well. Thanks!


Bruce Hatton Fantastic review Paromjit. I greatly enjoyed the Dark Iceland books so am looking forward to getting into this one.


message 8: by Licha (new) - added it

Licha Great review. You always make me want to add books to my TBR list.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

if this review was a flower it would be a sigur ros. nice, paromjit!


message 10: by Andy (new)

Andy Im starting his Snowblind book soon, heard good things about this author & good to see a positive review about this work :)


Paromjit Deanna wrote: "Great review!!"

Thank you my dearest Deanna! :)


Paromjit Diane wrote: "Terrific review, Paromjit!"

Thank you so much dear Diane. :)


Paromjit Supratim wrote: "Wonderful review, Paromjit!"

So appreciated Supratim, thank you. :)


Paromjit Maureen wrote: "Terrific review Paromjit😄"

Thank you, Maureen, so very appreciated. :)


Paromjit Melanie wrote: "Sounds good Paromjit!"

Thank you, Melanie, yes, a dark read. :)


Paromjit Paula wrote: "Wonderful review, Paromjit! I read the first in the author’s Dark Iceland series and loved it. Will have to start this series as well. Thanks!"

Thank you Paula, really hope you enjoy reading this. :)


Paromjit Bruce wrote: "Fantastic review Paromjit. I greatly enjoyed the Dark Iceland books so am looking forward to getting into this one."

Thank you, Bruce. I am sure you will be reading this soon, just hope you enjoy reading it! :)


Paromjit Licha wrote: "Great review. You always make me want to add books to my TBR list."

Licha, you are such a sweetheart! I really appreciate your comments and thank you masses. :)


Paromjit Maddie wrote: "Stunning review, Paromjit love ♡♡♡"

Nowhere near as stunning as you, sweetheart. Thanks so much dearest Maddie. :) xoxoxox


Paromjit paulie wrote: "if this review was a flower it would be a sigur ros. nice, paromjit!"

I love their music, paulie....you are such a darling! Thank you so much. ;)


Paromjit Andy wrote: "Im starting his Snowblind book soon, heard good things about this author & good to see a positive review about this work :)"

Really hope you are enjoying Andy! And so many thanks! ;)


message 22: by James (new)

James Thane Another great review. I'm adding this one to my TBR list.


Paromjit James wrote: "Another great review. I'm adding this one to my TBR list."

Thank you so much, James. Hope you enjoy this. :)


Maureen Great review, Paromjit!


Paromjit Maureen wrote: "Great review, Paromjit!"

Many thanks Maureen! :)


Louise Wilson Great review Paromjt.


Paromjit Louise wrote: "Great review Paromjt."

Thank you so much, Louise. :)


Kevin Currently reading Paromjit and definitely multi layered


Paromjit Kevin wrote: "Currently reading Paromjit and definitely multi layered"

Looking forward to your review, Kevin. :)


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