Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series has been a hit. Featuring policeman Ari Thor Arason, the series reflects the claustrophobic and dark landscape and weather of the region, no more so than in Blackout.

It’s the 24 hour cycle of a Nordic summer, but the darkness is there when a man is found beaten outside a home he’s renovating. Who is he and why did he have to die?

Adding darkness to the summer is the ash fallout from a recent volanic eruption. When reporter Isrun leaves her Reykajvik office, she drums up an excuse to investigate on her own, but her motives are rooted in her past.

It falls to Ari Thor, working in the tiny town of Siglufjordur, to take on the murder case, even as his one already-reclusive colleague is plagued with a change in his behavior, and his mentor and boss is depressed, contemplating his future, while Ari Thor rues the destruction of his own long-term relationship.

The landscape and weather add to the creepy factor of the personal issues each character faces as the investigation moves forward, and suddenly becomes far more tense as Ari Thor senses a race to prevent more deaths.

Past and present hurts and longings become magnfied in this mystery where despair is the overwhelming emotion.

Complex and skillfully plotted, Jonasson manages to captivate readers with a compelling puzzle that will see them through to the denouement. Picture Christie struggling in the northern hamlets of Iceland and you’ll be hooked.

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