Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place.
Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers
This is by far my favourite of Ragnar’s Dark Iceland series to date. If you thought Siglufjordur was isolated and claustrophobic you haven’t read everything yet. In the previously populated small village of Kálfshamarvík, that is now just a tiny hamlet of two houses, on the eve of Christmas Eve, Ari, with his heavily pregnant partner Kristin, and his old boss Tomas (now a Reykjavik murder team officer) are trying to discover the mystery of Asta’s demise, over the cliffs of her childhood home, where both her mother and 7yr old sister met their deaths.
With such a small cast of characters, this is an intense read. You know it has to be someone, but Jonasson expertly manages to keep you guessing all the way to the end. I’m usually someone who can pin a guilty party out by halfway through a book, but with Whiteout I just couldn’t. I had ideas, but never saw the ending. The rarity of catching me out is fabulous, and just ensures this book is doubly amazing.
Siglufjordur © Sigurður Ægisson
If you’ve never been to Iceland but enjoy a fully immersive experience in a novel, then I recommend you google some images of Sigulfjordur and Kálfshamarvík before you start. There is no better way of getting a quick grasp of the dark, yet beautiful isolation of these places, and as we all know imagery will only enhance your reading.