Book Review: The Island by Ragnar Jónasson

May 20, 2020 Book review 2 ★★★★½

The Island by Ragnar Jónasson is another tense, atmospheric read that sucked me into reading it in a single day. This is book 2 in the Hidden Iceland series, and the books really should be read in order.

Book Review: The Island by Ragnar JónassonThe Island by Ragnar Jónasson
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on May 21, 2019
Genres: Mystery & Detective, International Mystery & Crime, Police Procedural, Thrillers, Crime
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

Autumn of 1987 takes a young couple on a romantic trip in the Westfjords holiday—a trip that gets an unexpected ending and has catastrophic consequences.

Ten years later a small group of friends go for a weekend in an old hunting lodge in Elliðaey. A place completely cut off from the outside world, to reconnect. But one of them isn't going to make it out alive. And Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is determined to find the truth in the darkness.

!@#$ addictive BOOKLOVE Murder Mystery

First Line of The Island

The babysitter was late

My thoughts on The Island by Ragnar Jónasson

Ragnar Jonasson started his career translating Agatha Christie books from English to Icelandic, and that early influence shines through in his own books. They are tightly and carefully plotted, and I think Dame Christie would be as much of a fan of Ragnar’s work as he is of hers.

The Island focuses on a murder in 1987, then another murder 10 years later as a group of people affected by first murder gather on the anniversary. There are multiple strands in this book, that seem like they will never all slot together to form a cohesive picture. But when they did, I fully appreciated how skilfully plotted this book is.

Again the remote setting plays an integral part of the plot. The Island off Iceland sounds beautiful, but isolated and covered in dangerous terrain. And Reykjavík features in this book too, which I loved.

We also get to spend more time with Hulda. We see her fighting the patriarchy to get promoted in work. Ten years later, we see her reeling from events in her personal life. Events we know all too well about from The Darkness. I love that this series rolls out in reverse order. We met 64 year-old Hulda in The Darkness, and then each book moves back through her life. She is a tragic heroine and I feel she is a character I’ll never forget.

And because I couldn’t just drop off the trilogy when I was so invested in Hulda’s life, I immediate went and bought The Mist. Which I’m currently devouring. I’ve so much love for this series.

Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: five-stars

Who should read The Island?

Strongly recommended to fans of Nordic Noir, well plotted mysteries, and books with a strong sense of setting. Fans of previous books by this author like The Darkness and Snowblind should also enjoy.

About Ragnar Jónasson

Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series and the Hulda Trilogy.  He has sold 1,1 million books worldwide, and his books are published in 30 countries, in 22 languages.

The Times selected The Darkness as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels and Thrillers since 1945.

Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.

From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.

Ragnar has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik. Ragnar has a law degree and works as an investment banker in Reykjavik, in addition to teaching law at Reykjavik University.


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