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Tuesday 30 May 2017

‘Rupture’ by Ragnar Jónasson

Translated by Quentin Bates
Published by Orenda Books,
15 February 2017. 
ISBN: 978-1-910633-57-1

Bored in quarantine-locked Siglufjórdur, the young police officer Ari Thór is investigating a cold case from 1955, a woman’s death in an isolated farmhouse. When a mysterious photo turns up, he gets a local TV journalist, Isrun, interested, but she’s also following a case of her own – the hit-and-run death of the son of a former Prime Minister.

This complex who-dunnit combines two family tragedies and a political investigation, with the child-centred theme echoing across the plot strands. Jónasson weaves the stories together in short chapters, moving from former drug addict Róbert’s spooky experience to Isrun’s interviews and Ari Thór’s research. The characters are engaging and realistic, and the Icelandic landscape vividly described. The plot moves quickly, with a good number of unexpected twists, and each strand has a satisfying solution.

An intriguing, stylish mix of traditional PP and reporter investigation, in a bleakly beautiful Icelandic small town setting. This is an excellent series, and I’d recommend starting at the beginning, with Snowblind. The second book, as they were originally released in Iceland, was Blackout, and Rupture was the third, followed by Whiteout and Nightblind.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Ragnar Jonasson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1976 and works as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before becoming a writer, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had short stories published in international literary magazines. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers' Association (CWA) and recently set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA, in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir (, which was selected by the Guardian as one of the 'best crime-writing festivals around the world'. Ragnar has appeared on panels at festivals worldwide, and he lives in Reykjavik with his wife and daughter.

Quentin Bates  is an English novelist of mystery/crime fiction novels. Quentin found himself working in Iceland for a year, which turned into a decade, and has used some of that experience as well as a university writing course to develop his Gunnhildur series. Although he is British, Quentin is more in line with Scandinavian crime fiction authors. Quentin is also a full-time journalist and feature writer for an obscure nautical trade magazine.

A review of Quentin’s latest book Thin Ice can be read here.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

A review of her recent book Ghosts of the Vikings can be read here.

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