#Blogtour White Out – Ragnar Jonasson

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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.

Enjoy…

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Thin Ice Blog Tour – Exclusive Extract

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imageSnowed in with a couple of psychopaths for the winter…

When two small time crooks rob Reykjavík’s premier drug dealer hoping for a quick escape to the sun, their plans start to unravel after their getaway driver fails to show.  Tensions mount between the pair and the two women they have grabbed as hostages when they find themselves holed upcountry in an isolated hotel that has been mothballed for the season.

Back in the capital, Gunnhildur, Eirikur and Helgi, find themselves at a dead end, investigating what appear to be the unrelated disappearance of a mother, her daughter and their car during a day’s shopping, and the death of a thief in a house fire.

Gunna and her team are faced with a set of riddles but as more people are quizzed it begins to emerge that all these unrelated incidents are in fact linked. And at the same time, two increasingly desperate lowlifes have no choice but to make some big decisions on how to get rid of their accidental hostages….

As part of the Thin Ice blog tour, here’s an exclusive extract to whet your appetite for more.

 

‘I will not get over it!’ Erna yelled at the top of her voice. ‘What’s going on? Why are we here? I don’t even believe that’s a real gun and I’ve a good mind to just walk out the door this minute.’ 

‘Go on,’ Össur hissed, ‘try it. See what happens.’ 

Erna stood up and stalked towards him, her hands on her hips, glaring down at him from the extra height two inches of heels gave her while Össur sat still, looking up at her from under heavy lids. 

‘I don’t believe you. I think you’re a petty, thieving conman, and I don’t believe for a second that you’d dare carry a gun if it was real. I’ve half a mind to give you a slap and go to that phone in the lobby and call the police.’ 

The report was deafening, and as the smoke cleared there was a rattling of metal from one of the cupboards. Össur had fired without taking his eyes from Erna’s face and he watched her expression dissolve from fury into disbelief as her hands went to her mouth. 

‘God . . .’ she whispered. 

They looked to see a hole punched neatly in the cupboard door while Erna gradually sank to the floor on her knees. 

‘I think the lady . . .’ Össur said with a sneer. ‘The lady has had a shock. So maybe she’d feel better if she went to lie down for a while?’ 

By Ambassadorial request

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I don’t know about you but when the Ambassador for Iceland invites you to the embassy itself to celebrate the launch of the latest book from an author you love, and regularly chat to at festivals, it’s not the sort of thing you turn down.

Thin Ice by Quentin Bates is the fifth and latest installment in his series featuring Officer Gunnhildur of the Reykjavik Police force, and I was very grateful for the invite to the event.  I had a  great opportunity to meet with bloggers I’d not met before, and experience something completely new to me, as it was the first London book launch I had attended.

Not only were we treated to some fantastic Thin Ice Cupcakes, but we were also lucky enough to hear an extract of Thin Ice read out, by Mel Hudson, who has been the narrator of all of Quentin’s Gunnhildur audio books since Frozen Out (released as Frozen Assets in the US) and has an amazing knack for getting all those tongue twisting Icelandic names right!

For me some of the high points of the evening including the opportunity to meet the Ambassador for Iceland

and of course spending some time with the much in demand (well it was *his* book launch) Quentin Bates, who is a fantastic writer and a fabulous guy.

Thin Ice by Quentin Bates

Snowed in with a couple of psychopaths for the winter…

When two small-time crooks rob Reykjavik’s premier drugs dealer, hoping for a quick escape to the sun, their plans start to unravel after their getaway driver fails to show. Tensions mount between the pair and the two women they have grabbed as hostages when they find themselves holed upcountry in an isolated hotel that has been mothballed for the season.
Back in the capital, Gunnhildur, Eiríkur and Helgi find themselves at a dead end investigating what appear to be the unrelated disappearance of a mother, her daughter and their car during a day’s shopping, and the death of a thief in a house fire.
Gunna and her team are faced with a set of riddles but as more people are quizzed it begins to emerge that all these unrelated incidents are in fact linked. And at the same time, two increasingly desperate lowlifes have no choice but to make some big decisions on how to get rid of their accidental hostages…

My best books of 2013

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You see what I did there? Top Five & Top Ten book lists are great don’t get me wrong, but what happens if I can think of six standout books of the year or can only get up to say four, or nine? and how do I say one is so much better than the other that it deserves to be No 1 and the other No 5?

So here in no particular order and of no significant number are the books I read this year that have left enough of an impression on me that I consistently recommend them to anyone who asks what they should read.

The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

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To paraphrase an old catchphrase when it comes to The Cry, “Ignore what it says on the tin.”  I’ve recommended this book to a lot of people, even lending my own copy out several times.  Most have read the synopsis on the back and said “it’s not for me.”  To them all I have said one thing, “trust me, just read the first few chapters…”  It’s all I’ve ever needed to say.  The book has been devoured and enjoyed by everyone.  It’s one of those times when the old adage rings perfectly true.

“never judge a book by its cover.”

Dead Gone by Luca Veste

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I was privileged enough to be given a copy of Dead Gone by Luca back in July and whilst the paperback isn’t out until next year, the e-book is already available so I’m personally classing it as a book of 2013.  Don’t be surprised however to see this touted around everywhere next year as a ‘book of 2014.’ Expect to hear it talked about a lot, it is simply that good.







Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason

20131219-081658.jpgIf this is the only Indridason book you ever read you’ll be disappointed, not at the book per se as it’s a decent standalone but at the fact I recommended it.  The reason for that is simple, this is a book for hardened Indridason fans, only if you’ve followed this series from the beginning can you appreciate it in its fullness for its completion of a story.  Compare it to being a devoted fan of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot then finally reading ‘Curtain‘ and you’ll have an inkling at just how great this book really is.



The Stranglers Honeymoon by Håkan Nesser

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Apparently The Stranglers Honeymoon is book nine of ten Inspector Van Veeteran books and the latest translated into English.  I say apparently, because I’d never read one before.  The good point is I really didn’t need to have read them to enjoy this.  The better point?  I’m now in the middle of sourcing the other eight.