I was very excited yesterday to receive an email from Women Writers to say that the article I’d written for them was now online. When they first approached me to write something, I was very flattered but I did explain that, although I’m writing crime books, I’m not published. I thought they wouldn’t want someone unpublished writing for them but I was wrong! They said they would love me to write an article for them and I had free rein on subject matter. The only thing I could think of was my first year in blogging so that’s what I wrote about and you can read it here.
I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to write another article but it’s a very different discipline to writing a novel or a blog.
But before I get all big-headed, let’s get back to the books! I read Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson a couple of weeks ago.
1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjorour. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it beomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…
In nearby Siglufjorour, young policeman Ari Thor tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Isrun, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjorour in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.
This is the second book that I’ve read by Ragnar Jonasson but it’s the fourth in the Dark Iceland series, featuring police officer Ari Thor (yes, I’ve missed out books again). However, it’s possible to read this as a standalone.
I love the way that Jonasson finds a use for Ari Thor when his town, Siglufjorour, is in quarantine. A traveller to Siglufjorour dies from a haemorrhagic fever and the doctors believe it to be highly contagious. So everyone has to stay home except those in the emergency services. As there is no crime to investigate, Ari Thor has time to look into an old cold case of a woman who died in a remote part of Iceland. Feeling that sense of isolation helps him as he tries to unlock the secrets of the past.
In Reykjavik though, there is no quarantine and crime appears to be in abundance. A stalker, a missing child and a young man killed in a hit and run accident. Seen from different points of view, including Isrun – a news reporter, Jonasson skilfully weaves the stories in and out of each other, much like dancers round a maypole. You’re not sure what pattern has been created until the end.
Jonasson is excellent at creating atmosphere in settings, whether it’s through snow or volcanic ash. In this case, the sense of Siglufjorour being a ghost town, isolated from the outside and people terrified to leave their houses, is superb. To say it’s eerie is an understatement.
Hopefully with the next book, we’ll see more of Ari Thor. Although I liked Isrun and found her backstory to be intriguing, it’s Ari Thor who’s the real pull here. Can’t think why…
I’d like to give a shout out to a couple of people who are involved in this book. Firstly the designer of the cover. Orenda Books always have fabulous covers and Rupture is no different. But do you want to know what’s really clever about this particular cover? You have to turn it on its side to see.
Isn’t it clever?
The other person I want to highlight is the translator, Quentin Bates. He faithfully translates Ragnar’s books, ensuring that he keeps the quality and feeling of the original Icelandic – no mean achievement!
You can find out more about Ragnar Jonasson and buy his books here