Ragnar Jonasson’s Blackout, the third book in his Dark Iceland series, is a decent murder mystery set in Iceland during the height of summer and in the midst of ash fallout from volcanic activity. A resident of the small northern town of Siglufjörður has been killed with a knock to the head with a nail-studded two by four. While the crime occurs outside of city jurisdiction, local policeman Ari Thor is put in charge of tracking down information on known contacts of the victim. Many other narrative threads run parallel to the policeman’s: a reporter who sees this case as her possible big break, Ari’s ex girlfriend who has moved on, a fellow policeman battling his past demons, and several others.
Jonasson’s set-up is good. The reader eager awaits to see how all the stories will somehow meet and possibly come to fruition. But the problem is that several peter out without any connection to the central plot. The writing is jilted at times, and while it may be an issue with the translation, it was distracting to a fault.
Overall, there are too many other good options in this genre to recommend Blackout, including several by Iceland’s own Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
2 out of 5 stars
Comes out on August 28th, 2018.
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press/ Minotaur Books, and the author for the advanced copy for review.