By the time Ragnar Jónasson published his third novel in Iceland, it was evident that his approach of mixing the bleakness of Nordic Noir with the intrigue of the British murder mystery was making publishers overseas sit up and pay attention. In fact, Blackout and Ragnar’s two previous books about beleaguered Siglufjörður policeman Ari Þór, Snowblind and Nightblind, were all published in a little over a year’s time in the UK.
This third book in the Dark Iceland series takes a gruesome turn, with policeman Ari Þór of the (supposedly) quiet northern fishing village of Siglufjörður investigating a brutal murder. A contractor working on the recently opened Héðinsfjörður tunnel, which connects Siglufjörður to its nearest town, is found beaten to death. With his partner Tómas, Ari must find out what sparked the uncontrollable rage that is on display at the murder scene. He is joined, however unknowingly, by a second protagonist: news reporter Ísrún, who travels north from Reykjavík to look into the murder for the nightly news but seems to be also driven by some undisclosed personal interest in the victim. Working the case from separate angles, unaware of each other’s investigations, Ísrún and Ari Þór gradually uncover a dark secret in the victim’s life.
Set in the midst of the infamous eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, with volcanic ash clouds blotting out the sun and casting the town’s residents in permanent dusk, Blackout ramps up the sense of isolation that has become the hallmark of a Ragnar Jónasson thriller.