Chris Douglas, a member of our talented new team, reviews Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson.
Chris Douglas is a storyteller, word weaver, and new book reviewer for The Bandwagon. He enjoys writing, from novels to scripts, as a way to understand why “they did that” – secretly he’s just nosy. He is often found with a notepad and the biggest mug, or wine glass, he can find – not just your stereotypical drunk. Always looking to solve a crime before the end of your story (Crime/Thriller), he sometimes likes to travel to distant worlds and become magical (Sci-Fi/Fantasy), even though he has a lot of growing up to do (Young Adult/Coming of Age). He, mostly, enjoys anything with a bit of drama. You can follow his journey on Twitter: @_ChrisDotMe
Snowblind, the first novel in Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series and published in June 2015, lives up to its name.
Leaving everything behind for the only job you can find, in the smallest, most remote fishing town you can find. You won’t even need a car; especially when the snow sets in, cutting you off from the rest of the world. It might seem ideal to some – I’ve considered it – until a mysterious death at the Dramatic Society is followed up by an attempted murder.
Ari Thór, our fresh-faced police officer, finds himself in just that situation. Jónasson doesn’t make his protagonist perfect, instead allowing Ari Thór to make dubious decisions, both personally and professionally. Ari Thór quickly becomes the most talked about out-of-towner, as he angers locals with his naive approach to investigation.
Jónasson creates characters that are not only flawed but believable. From the nearly-divorced police chief, a woman seeking refuge from her past, to a thankless old author living off the success of his only masterpiece. Jónasson succeeds in creating a small town mentality, where each character has found themselves either drawn back or to Siglufjördur, but in a way that avoids stereotypes, instead creating fully rounded characters with pasts, presents, and futures yet to be discovered.
The story jumps through time, creating a mystery that intertwines the lives of everyone Ari Thór meets. The pages are dotted with clues, which lie within the characters’ lives, past and present. Jónasson knows when and how to keep key information away from the reader, allowing you to make up your own mind and decide on something, only to have your focus suddenly twisted elsewhere. You ultimately discover that you couldn’t have guessed the perpetrator, let alone the motive.
Leaving us with one question: Can theories be proven?