We’re great fans of Icelandic noir. And great fans of Orenda Books, particularly those novels in translation, as we’ve waxed lyrical about on several occasions. We’re thus delighted that Ragnar Jónasson’s Winterfall, the final installment of the author’s hugely successful Dark Iceland series, doesn’t disappoint. It’s a chilling (in all senses), claustrophobic and highly evocative read in which the landscape is as much a character as the protagonist, Ari Thór Arason.

The sixth book set in Siglufjörður, a remote town in the north of the island, the place we encounter has changed since we were first introduced to it in Snowblind, also the author’s debut book in English. Now Siglufjörður is a little less cut off from the outside world, with greater road access bringing tourists and increased footfall to the area. Not everyone’s happy about the changes though, which, while bringing undoubted financial benefits to the town, have also caused problems.

Ari Thór has his own issues, both personal and professional, his latest case far from straightforward, a young girl having fallen to her death, her body found outside an apartment block where she didn’t live. Is it an accident, suicide or something more sinister? Throw in the chilling repetitive scrawls of an elderly man on the wall of his nursing home room, a series of things that don’t add up and a severe weather storm, which cuts off the town and causes a loss of power, and one has all the makings of a great crime-fiction novel. It’s a deliciously tense read.

As with the earlier books in the series, Jónasson brings the icy landscape of the island’s northern reaches to life, evoking the world of Siglufjörður, and the even more remote Siglunes, so authentically that we can actually feel the beyond bone-aching cold in our extremities.

Winterkill is a great end to a great series and David Warriner’s translation pays tribute to the author’s tightly written, well paced, extremely fine prose.


Winterkill | Ragnar Jónasson | Orenda Books

ebook 10 December 2020  £4.99 | paperback 21 January 2021  £8.99

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the publisher virtual book tour. Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater for arranging it and to the publisher for sending a review copy of the book. All views expressed are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other great reviews on the tour.

See also: Roxanne Bouchard’s excellent The Coral Bride’; ‘Michael Connelly’s epic hero, Mickey Haller‘;‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Lynda La Plante’s nod to the old and new’; ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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